Why I Love Soulja Boy – And You Should Too!
by Carter Merenstein on November 8, 2013
Posted in: Hip Hop, Music
RealTalk: You probably see Soulja Boy and think of Crank That. I admit, for years I even thought the song was called Soulja Boy, and I had no idea who it was by.
Now, maybe you still cared in 2010, and you think of Pretty Boy Swag, a song so delicate and subtle that it took me at least ten listens to realize that there were in fact words other than “Pretty. Boy. Swag.” When I found those other words though, boy, oh boy. It’s a mean 8 bars, and I have since been thoroughly convinced that he is, indeed, swaggin.
But odds are you haven’t listened to anything he’s done for at least a year or two. So, you say, “why should I still care about a kinda famous 20 year old who was rapping about swag three years ago?”
My answer: because now he’s 23: and he’s still rapping about swag.
I got hooked back on the Soulja when I saw the video to his new song Trappin. Take a moment, watch the video. Now recall/rewatch Pretty Boy Swag. Notice some differences? Gone is the mansion, the luxury car, the pool, the models, and the Beats (by Dre) product placement deal. In Trappin, Soulja is dancing, alone, in his driveway. He could be any american teen with a tripod and fake gold chains. The video even goes completely black for a few seconds, fades into black and white for a bit, and doesn’t line up with the audio for most of it, making me wonder if he didn’t actually put it together himself. His fall from the top is profound.
But… he handles it like a CHAMP! He either is entirely unaware that he has lost almost all relevancy (and money?), or he doesn’t care at all. He still talks the same game that he always has, and looks pretty content dancing in his driveway. As much as he talks about the trappings of wealth (you know, gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom), he doesn’t really sweat the details. He still has at least 2 or 3 gold chains, unless he borrowed them for the video, and he is pretty much swaggin with that.
And rest assured, his most recent mixtapte, Life After Fame, doesn’t disappoint. When I saw the name I was worried – someone didn’t tell him he wasn’t famous anymore, did they? But if they did, he doesn’t care. He’s still putting out the exact same thing. His flow still makes you just want to bounce (it sounds like he can’t help but dance in the booth), his lyrics … swag? swag. and the instrumentals still are hype as ever. Highlights include Allota Bandz and Bandz On Me, which he has the audacity to put back to back (though, this might be a coincidence – tracks 2-14 are in alphabetical order anyway), and Get Down, which has the catchiest (and most distracting, disorienting, and mind numbing) instrumental I’ve heard in a while
Ultimately, I think Soulja Boy is an inspiration. He wasn’t much more than a kid playing around who got huge, and despite his success, never changed what he was about…. because he was always about money, swag and fame. Even at his height, he was still a kid playing at being a rich rapper; the toys just got a bit bigger for a while. So where’s the sappy inspirational takeaway? Soulja teaches us that it’s only the dream that’s important, and if you’ve fallen off you don’t need to let it get you down. Just turn up the music and swag your problems away.