In September 2007, his single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was initially self-published on the Internet, and it became a number-one hit in the United States for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in September 2007.
Despite his commercial success, his music has been the subject of ridicule from his peers and critics.
To check out Soulja Boy "Music Videos" click her
Early lifeDeAndre Way was born July 28, 1990 in Chicago and moved to Atlanta at age six, where he became interested in rap music. At age 14, he moved to Batesville, Mississippi, with his father, who provided a recording studio for Way to explore his musical ambitions.
Career beginnings and souljaboytellem.com (2005–2008)
Way founded the record label "Stacks on Deck Entertainment" in 2004. While Way was signed under Interscope and Collipark Music, he claimed that his label had distribution deals with Interscope, Universal Records, and Koch.
In November 2005, Way posted his songs on the website SoundClick. Following positive reviews on the site, he then established his own web pages on YouTube and MySpace. In March 2007, he recorded "Crank That" and released his first independent album Unsigned & Still Major: Da Album Before da Album, followed by a low-budget video filmed demonstrating the "Crank That" dance. By the end of May 2007, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" received its first airplay and Way met with Mr. Collipark to sign a deal with Interscope Records.
On August 12, 2007, the song appeared on the Emmy-award winning HBO series Entourage, and by September 1, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot RingMasters charts. Way's major label debut album Souljaboytellem.com, which was reportedly recorded using just the demo version of FL Studio, was released in the United States on October 2, peaking at #4 on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. On December 9, 2007, Way was sued by William Lyons (a.k.a. Souljah Boy of Mo Thugs Family) who claims he first created the stage name "Souljah Boy".
For the 50th Grammy Awards, Way was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song with "Crank That (Soulja Boy)". He lost to Kanye West's and T-Pain's "Good Life".
Souljaboytellem.com received a favorable review from Allmusic, but received mainly negative reviews from other sources such as Entertainment Weekly. Several reviewers credited Soulja Boy with spearheading a new trend in hip-hop, while speculating he will likely be a one-hit wonder.
iSouljaBoyTellem (2008–2009)In June 2008, on DJ Cisco's Urban Legend mixtape, Ice-T criticized Way for "killing hip-hop"
and his song "Crank That"
for being "garbage" compared to the works of other hip-hop artists such as Rakim, Das EFX, Big Daddy Kane and Ice Cube. One of the comments in the exchange was when Ice-T told Way to "eat a dick". The two then traded numerous videos back and forth over the Internet. These videos included a cartoon and video of Ice-T dancing on Way's behalf and an apology, but reiteration of his feelings that Way's music "sucks", on Ice-T's behalf. Rapper Kanye West defended Way by arguing that the younger artist created a new, original work for hip-hop, thus keeping the authentic meaning of the music.
The follow-up to souljaboytellem.com, iSouljaBoyTellem, was released on December 16, 2008, to negative critical reception. The first single from the album, "Bird Walk", peaked at number 40 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the top 20 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. "Kiss Me Thru the Phone", with Sammie, followed, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks charts.
The DeAndre Way (2009–present)The DeAndre Way is Way's third studio album, released on November 30, 2010. Way has stated that the album is intended to be his most personal and successful album thus far. When speaking on possible collaborations, he stated he wished to work with artists such as Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West, Eminem, among others. The album was originally called "The DeAndre Way" but was changed in early 2010 to Dre, however it was changed back to The DeAndre Way in July 2010.
The lead single from the album, "POW", was released in January 2009 but failed to garner success and was dubbed a promo single. The official lead single from the album, "Pretty Boy Swag", was released in June 2010. The single has reached number thirty-four on the Billboard Hot 100, number six on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number five on the Billboard Rap Songs chart. The album's second single was due to be "Digital", then "Speakers Going Hammer", but "Blowing Me Kisses" was released on August 31, 2010 as the second single instead. Soulja Boy was to be part of the Summerbeatz tour held in Australia alongside Flo Rida, Jay Sean and Travie McCoy in November 2010, but in lieu of his current album release date and a new tour, Soulja Society, Soulja Boy had declined the offer.
Musical styleCritics and hip hop figures such as Method Man have cited Soulja Boy as artistically typical of contemporary rap trends such as writing for the lucrative ringtone market, and the ascendence of "Southern hip hop", emphasizing catchy music that discards rap's traditional emphasis on message. Soulja Boy identifies his goal as making upbeat, party-themed music that avoids the negative, violent image that he sees in most hip-hop.
Despite this, his music has been banned from some school dances for sexual, violent content or innuendo. However, he has denied these claims. In the original YouTube video for "Shootout", Soulja Boy demonstrates his dance while holding a handgun in each hand and pretending to shoot into the audience.
Personal lifeOn December 30, 2008, Way was robbed and assaulted in his home. Initial reports indicated that the robbers were six masked men with AK-47s and pistols but on December 31, 2008, video clips surfaced on the Internet of two masked men claiming sole credit for the crime. Soulja Boy described the incident to MTV News a month later: He had come home very late at night after attending an album release party and was recording songs with friends when the robbers came in pointing their guns.
On October 7, 2009, Way was arrested on one count of obstruction, a misdemeanor, for running from police when he'd been ordered to stop. The rapper was released on $550 bond.
DiscographyAwards and nominations
- BET Awards
- BET Hip-Hop Awards
- 2007: Best Hip-Hop Dance (Won)
- Grammy Awards
- 2008: Best Rap Song: "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (Nominated)
- Ozone Awards
- 2007: Patiently Waiting: Mississippi (Won)
- 2008: Best Breakthrough Artist (Nominated)
- 2008: TJ's DJ's Tastemaker Award (Nominated)
- Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
- 2007: Favorite Male Singer (Nominated)
- Teen Choice Awards