Originally posted on Pages Digital.
Every few months Halfway Crooks write a playlist for the artist they feature on their poster. This month is Soulja Boy…
Soulja Boy. He was inescapable in 2007 but he released his fourth album in February this year and I only just found that out two minutes ago after googling ‘Soulja Boy new album’. He’s still worth $25 million and Ice T probably still blames him for killing hip hop. He’s still my go to rapper when I want to piss off a real hip hop head, playing a badly mastered Soulja Boy mp3 is even more infuriating to a 2015 Zulu Nation hanger-on than playing an entire Miley Cyrus album. There’s still something appealing about his weird bratty attitude, every song he’s ever made sounds like it was made by a 16 year old – not just due to Soulja’s hilariously simple lyrics, but there’s always a youthful energy to his tracks, an energy that sounds especially great when blaring through a mobile phone on public transport. Here are few of his best tracks from his albums and tapes. Come back to me in a few weeks to see if there’s any good ones on his latest album.
Crank That (Soulja Boy)
The song that started it all. I used to get in trouble at clubs for playing the original version that I ripped from Soulja Boy’s Myspace. I never actually learnt the Crank Dat dance, but I still have a playlist filled with Crank Dat variations. My fav of the bunch was Crank Dat Urkel Dance by PLP. When they released this single properly I was given a Crank That Soulja Boy tshirt which I wore for most of 2007/8 until it mysteriously disappeared shortly after people started booing when you played Crank Dat in the club. Life is unfair sometimes.
Just to show how much money Soulja Boy’s record label was throwing at him, they got Dog the Bounty Hunter to star in this film clip. This song did better in the Australian charts than it did in the States and is probably the most fondly remembered song from his first album, the eloquent lyrics and delivery still tug on the heart strings of everyone who’s ever gotten fed up with the constant adoration of their fans and yelled in their faces. That synth line is our generation’s ‘Jump’ by Van Halen, it’s impossible not to punch the air as soon as you hear them.
Snap and Roll
Most of Souljaboytellem.com was self produced, and this is probably the hottest beat on there, and had one of the best dances to go along with it. Even though it sold by far the best, Soulja Boy’s debut is my least favourite of his first three albums, with most of the album sounding dated and flat when listened to today. This one still bangs though.
Kiss Me Thru The Phone (featuring Sammie)
Soulja Boy’s second biggest song after Crank Dat is about a very low stake romantic dilemma – he’s a relatively short distance away from his girl (short enough that he’ll be able to see her “later on”) but he misses her so goddamn much that he requests she kiss him through her phone somehow. That’s the very underrated singer Sammie on the hook. To hear more from him listen to this or this. Soulja made a few more sweet R&B numbers like this on his next album, Hey Cutie with Trey Songz is almost as good as this one and Soulja sings the hook himself on Blowing Me Kisses. Even his more stupid lines work best on his R&B tracks where he’s not trying to be tough at all.
Gucci Bandana (featuring Gucci Mane and Shawty Lo)
Weird fact: Gucci Mane has two verses on iSouljaBoyTellEm. This is the better of the two, those dark piano notes setting a perfect tone for Gucci alongside Soulja and another sadly forgotten relic from the tail end of the 00s’ first decade: Shawty Lo.
Soulja Boy Tell’ em
The rest of Souja’s second album is a mess of ideas and different song structures, some which work, some which don’t and then there’s a couple of absolute curveballs like the written-and-recorded-in-five-minutes banger Hey You There. I always liked the weird High School Musical vibe of this song, and that bassline is almost as good as the one on Lemonade.
First Day of School
The first song of Soulja Boy’s third album has more plays on my iTunes than it does on YouTube. When my son starts school I’m going to blast this from the second he wakes up right up until I drop him at the school gate, just so he can blame me for all his problems in life from that point onward.
Pretty Boy Swag (Remix featuring Gucci Mane)
Another Gucci x Soulja classic, one of two great remixes from The DeAndre Way singles, the other being the T-Mix of Speakers Going Hammer. Hopefully one of the 50 albums Gucci Mane releases from jail in the next year is a collab with Soulja.
30 Thousand 100 Million (featuring Lil’ B and Arab)
The best of the collaborations on The DeAndre Way (sorry 50) features Soulja Boy one-upping the inevitable Lil’ B “hoes on my dick…” line with the unbeatable “word around town bitch my dick taste like ribs”. Nobody has written a better line about their dick since, but Lil’ B and Soulja made a few more tracks together before Lil’ B accused Soulja of biting his swag (he kinda did). Soulja Boy’s remix of Swag On My Dick is a modern classic though.
Zan With That Lean (featuring Kwony Cash and J Money)
There was a good year or two where every one of Soulja’s monthly mixtapes was worth getting for at least one banger. This song was very integral to the High IQ music movement.
A real treasure for true SOD fans (like the ones I forced to watch Soulja Boy: The Movie with me) is this strange lullaby to LV, featuring Soulja Boy crooning over a head nodding bassline. The only bad thing about this song is that it isn’t an hour long.
Who said Soulja Boy wasn’t a real lyricist?
I’ll be playing all these songs and more (including Soulja’s song with Snoop Dogg minus the Snoop Dogg parts) at Halfway Crooks this Saturday night. Jayteehazard’s playing too, and of course the good Captain Franco.