If you live under a (non-cocaine) rock, there’s a better than 100 percent chance that you were confused as to why Soulja Boy (is it still Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em?) was all over your social media timelines on Wednesday. It is the year of our lord 2019—why in West Hell would that lil “Superman dat ho” nigga be taking up valuable bandwidth, interrupting what might as well be called the “Black Don’t Crack” challenge? If that confused you, then you were probably even more confused as to why there was video floatin’ around of him saying Drake’s name over and over again. And just why was this nigga standing up?
Well, let me tell you: DeAndre Cortez Way, aka Young Draco, aka Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, aka Soulja, just provided so much unintentional comedy and spit some truisms for that ass during his recent appearance on The Breakfast Club. You should watch it. Because we all should watch it.
While I know it may be curious as to why an interview involving somebody who often gets considered an industry punching bag might be interesting, let me tell you, it was. So here are 10 reasons why it’s both must-watch video and why we may should look at Young Draco a little bit differently.
1. Let’s start at the ending because I’ll be damned if he didn’t close out in fabulous fashion. Nigga, the way he said “Draaaaake! DRAAAAAAKE?” with so much, like, disgust LITERALLY had me doubled over in laughter. Like, all that shit that Pusha T put in “The Story of Adidon” was accomplished by Soulja’s repetition of his name twice. It is truly a beauty to behold. Soulja said his name with such disdainful aplomb, as if he knows something we don’t, that I’m pretty sure that KiKi does not, in fact, love Drake. I could literally watch that clip on repeat all day and am working on making it my morning alarm. Mispronouncing “Degrassi” as “Degeneres” was just the icing on the cake for me.
I’m not saying Soulja is a good rapper, but he is a master troll. And I enjoyed that very much. And he was right about Drake borrowing his lyrics bar for bar on his third single from Thank Me Later, “Miss Me,” from Soulja’s song “Whats Hannenin.” Doesn’t quite mean Soulja made Drake since everybody does that, but it’s fun to throw into convos.
2. I said this on Facebook, but I think it needs a bit more immortalizing: Ray J and Soulja Boy are like alternate universe versions of one another, down to their demeanors. They are remarkably affable despite decades (in Ray’s case, multiple decades) of clowning, but both are remarkably more successful than most folks want to admit. They show up at places selling things (Ray is always hawking something, and Soulja showed up pushing a video game console system). And most importantly, neither gets much credit for, well anything (more on this later). I truly feel like if Ray were a rapper he’d be Soulja and if Soulja were a singer he’d be Ray. It is truly uncanny. They’re even both have significant ties to Mississippi.
3. Which is why Soulja Boy claiming to be from Bompton was so ridiculous. Quite obviously he’s talking about his gang affiliations. At one point, I distinctly remember him claiming some Gangster Disciple set (he was born in Chicago so I presume he has family there, and GD is also popular down South, and definitely in Atlanta), but now apparently he’s down with some Compton Blood set. But I guess once you get down, you, ya know, get down. Either way, I think that non-L.A. Blood/Crip gang affiliations are dumb, especially for R&B niggas like Chris Brown, but you know, sometimes you got the flu and sometimes you got the flewed. And no, that wasn’t suppose to make sense; if it does, I suggest you seek help immediately.
4. So, one significant portion of the interview was where Soulja Boy talked about the Ls he took early in his career and how everybody (unfairly) said he was responsible for killing hip-hop. At 16. At 16 years old he was responsible for the demise of the whole-ass genre. And yet...he literally, probably unintentionally, quarterbacked the entire modern version of the genre. Obviously, the sound Kanye crafted with 808s and Heartbreaks has set the tone, but Soulja turned the whole genre into a YouTube-views, moneymaking venture and social media frenzy. That...he did that. And that’s literally how every rapper, even the big name respected ones, approach their marketing now.
Everybody is literally looking to make a self-crafted splash. Shit, and I mean this with all due respect, what Master P did with No Limit after seeing what cats in Oakland (and the Bay Area in general) were doing in the ’80s with the fully independent hustles is what Soulja Boy did with the internet age of hip-hop. Hate him or love him, a 16-year-old can’t kill hip-hop, but he sure as hell did change the game. He doesn’t get credit for it now; that it’s just how the game goes, but he isn’t wrong about his cultural impact.
5. Can somebody please tell Envy to stop focusing on beef so much. Envy loooooves to talk about niggas beefs. Like, in general.
6. The fact that Soulja kept calling Charlamagne tha God, Charla, even when it clearly wasn’t working and sounded dumb made me laugh several times. It’s like he just REALLY wanted Charla to work as a nickname for his nickname. It doesn’t.
7. One interesting thing he mentioned that I think is representative of a larger cultural issue is that he showed up with a video game console as the only rapper to have and sell one and how many folks are critical of entrepreneurs, especially young black ones trying to get into spaces where we already have shit the way we like it. For instance, his SoulJaGame Console or SouljaWatch—he has a tech company that he’s working to brand and market in tech spaces where PS4 and XBox and Android and Apple exist, etc.
While I doubt I’ll be trying to cop the SouljaWatch, the tepid response is very, very reminiscent of the backlash of Lonzo Ball and his Big Baller Brand shoes. So many of us, myself included, were critical of why they were trying to sell shoes (that price made it untenable for me). And even now, I have no idea why I was so critical outside of the price. As opposed to applauding black entrepreneurs for trying to make a way in those spaces, many of us (not all, I know) do tend to favor something provided by non-black folks. I think, instinctively, we assume that it’s lower quality. Honestly, I think if folks weren’t always so quick to want to brand stuff with their names, we might look at it differently, but yo no se. Either way, I’m happy to see him (and others like him) trying out their tech legs. Maybe those endeavors are successful, maybe not, but somebody black has to get in on that money.
8. Somebody does need to explain to him what “comeback” means, but I mean, who hasn’t struggled with that concept at times, ya know? Also, Meek Mill is definitely the 2018 Comeback King.
9. Soulja really has been more presence than any of us want to acknowledge. Especially for this new wave of artists. What was extremely illuminating from the convo is that he’s not stupid at all, in fact, he is a pretty smart kid who also happens to be high energy and introspective enough to still be present in a game, on paper, he should have been spit out of a decade ago.
10. It is amazing how an interview can entirely change your perspective on an individual. I’d wager so many folks who watched it walked away, maybe not looking to check out his music, but feeling like they like Soulja as a person, even amidst some of his nonsensical boasts. He is a rapper after all; nonsensical boasts is par the course for the money-ass rappers. That’s what happened with me and 21 Savage, also during his The Breakfast Club interview. I may not care for their musical output, but as people, they’re alright with me. Agree or disagree with much of what he said, that man provided a fun and entertaining interview, plus a meme we can all use forever.