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Soulja Boy is one of those artists who found fame from putting music on MySpace, building up a fan base and getting to the height of success by reaching the top spot of the Billboard Charts this year. I became aware of him when he actually added me on the social networking site in 2005, I put one of his songs on my page, and from there I listened to every new song he put on there. It wasn't until early in the year when I saw that his videos on YouTube managed to get in the top most viewed each week, that I realized he was getting very popular. Around August of this year the video for "Crank That" was released, complete with dance moves. I had been doing the dance for 3 months before this song began to get air-play in the UK, but now it is taking over here and everyone's doing it. This is the debut album by the Snap Rap act from Atlanta, Soulja Boy.
Another thing which has given him so much criticism is because he fits into the category of what East Coast MC such as Nas and KRS-One have been fighting against as they argue that "Hip Hop Is Dead" with so many Snap, Crunk and Hyphy acts (Dem Franchize Boyz, Keak Da Sneak and D4L are examples) who rap about nothing at all, just make up rhymes and even rhyme with noises if they cannot think of anything else. To defend them, I feel that these sub-genres are for the younger generation, so rappers coming up to 40 years old shouldn't comment on it, because it's a completely different generation which they aren't involved in. Also we don't want conscious lyrics shoved in our faces constantly, we need some time to have fun, so these club and dance variations of the genre just lighten the mood. Leave this music to the teenagers.
The problem that most have over here with Soulja Boy has nothing to do with the "Hip Hop Is Dead" movement, it's the fact that the just cannot understand his strong southern-American accent from living in Mississippi and Atlanta, which I think I have grown to understand from listening to a lot of Crunk and other Dirty South over the years (early OutKast might have been a part of this too).
2. "Crank That"
Whenever I hear "Yooooouuu" I get excited now because it means that it's time to do my favourite dance, the "Crank That", the dance it fairly simple, but it takes a while to learn and most people think that the lyrics are just stating what move to do next. This is why many dislike him in America, depth to his lyrics, but they do have actual meanings, not mature ones (well he is only 17), but more than most people think.
This is one of the most catchy rap tracks that I have heard in a long time and people should take advantage of this by listening to it, I don't know how you wouldn't like it, and the dance which goes with it is a must if you want to feel a part of it as I do.
This is the first of three tracks which Soulja Boy did not take a part in producing for, instead the Atlanta producer famed for work with The Pack, Mike Jones and The Ying Yang Twins, he is Mr. Collipark. The experience of him is shown by the increased quality of the beat for this tune (compared to the last), but it does sound quite strange, like a dreamy circus atmosphere when you listen to it.
In this track he talks about his Sidekick phone. It's basically a chance to talk about the money that he has already made, making him able to buy this expensive mobile as well as all of his jewellery. At one point he says that he can't believe that he's rapping about this, some he understands that it seems strange, but he says that he wrote it himself - well done. It's not the best of raps, in fact and it's probably one of the worst examples of rap.
4. "Snap 'N Roll"
This is a big dance track with a dance quite similar to the 'Crank That (Soulja Boy)', but also includes elements of Ca$h Camp's "Crank Dat Yank" amongst a few others. The tune for this reflects that it is just designed for dancing as it is very repetitive as he shouts out a few moves and other exclamations to perform.
As I have listened to this a lot (to get to learn the dance moves) I'd say that I have seen that I grew to like this one more and more, so do not shun it straight away if you don't initially enjoy listening to it, give it a chance and you may get into it as I did.
5. "Bapes" (feat. Arab)
This track was my 2006 anthem as it was the first track of his that I had on MySpace and I listened to it constantly under the name of "I Got Me Some Bapes", initially I didn't have a clue what Bapes were until I looked for a video on YouTube, they tuned out to be Bape Sta shoes, casual sneakers based on the Nike Air Force 1 designs; my new personal favourites, but you can only get them (real ones) from A Bathing Ape (Bape) stores of which there is only one in the UK, 5 hours away in London.
Basically this one is all about the trainers, how they come in every colour combination imaginable and he doesn't want people to copy of style by wearing them, just like me, I don't want everyone to wear exclusives like me, it just ruins the brand for me.
6. "Let Me Get 'Em"
This is the second single release from the album after "Crank That", it's another one to dance to and the artist tells you the moves before the music comes on to make sure you know what you're doing. It's pretty funny how you can take moves from other dances and just stich it in here and it will work, because all of Snap Rap works together and can be easily mixed together.
This one is quite violent for Soulja Boy because pror to this I hadn't really heard anything that didn't seem regular and natural, but ing up the place with his dance moves; what's that about. It's a big dance record though. If you take all of these ones and put them aside, they would be very good as a separate dance EP or something.
This track from the album has one of the best beats which I can pick out once it has gotten over the initially stage of having Soulja Boy say "She Got That Donk", then a loud "Yup". These proceedings then followed by "Shakin' Dat Saltshaker" before we finally get into the raps, from this description, you can tell that this is a dance tune with actual set moves to perform, which always help.
To be honest, I can't quite work out what this "Donk" is, but I'm not too concerned by this because it's a big tune. Some of his raps are lacking though as he manages to get 'tamales' to rhyme with 'compradres', just one of the many times in the LP where he makes questionable decisions in what he says, but as it is just one to dance to, it's not too big of a deal.
8. "Yahh" (feat. Arab)
This track is quite funny as Soulja Boy tells us what he does when he's just not in the mood to talk to anybody; shout "Yahh Trick Yahh!" in their face until they leave. I believe him too. He goes on about what it's like to be a celebrity and he really seems like an amateur to this, but he's used to it now by doing this whenever he wants people out his face.
This isn't really the type of joint that you would share with your any of yuor friends because it's not funny in that sort of way, but the situations you hear make it sound good when you are just listening to it by yourself. The end in particular is hilarious when he just exclaims and mumbles his words, if you were to walk up to him and this happened to you, you would be scared.
9. "Pass It To Arab" (feat. Arab)
For ages when I saw this written down I thought he meant Arab (as in an Arabian), but he actually means one of his friends who pronounces it A-Rabe. Although it's never said, I believe that he is just Soulja Boy's friend as he is in most of his videos both music videos and YouTube ones and he is the person heard speaking to his at the beginning of "Bapes", one of his earliest tracks.
Basically this one is just about him passing the mic(rophone) to Arab, you raps a little, just to get some exposure for himself, I'm not quite sure why i like it so much, but the beat, just as most of the other tracks on the album is one that you can really get into with all the snaps and big bass hits.
10. "Soulja Girl" (feat. I-15)
This track is a slow R&B one with rap incorporated into the verses, the soulful trio from Nevada, I-15 back up the Batesville(,Mississippi)-native, it completely changes the direction of the album, going from something for the clubs, to a chill-out tune without harsh sounds; everything is very delicate and calm. Soulja Boy sits back on production and allows the more established Mr. Collipark and Laz Vegas to take over and the end product is nice.
This one has the young rapper talk about how his love life has improved since becoming as famous as he is, well he's still only 17 now, so it can't have been that bad before, he also describes the ideal 'Soulja Girl' for him, what she should be like, including being able to dance like he does (obviously). Although I did enjoy it, Soulja Boy is best suited to more up-tempo tunes, not anything like this, so I would prefer if he stayed away from this in the future.
11. "Booty Meat"
This one is rather immature, you can tell that he's smiling throughout the whole song by the way he's pronouncing everythin, as I've said before it will because he is quite young and he's just experimenting with what he can put out to he audience and what they will tolerate.
Obviously he's telling her it shake what she's got, but he says it so much, on a beat which isn't quitestrong enough to dance to that it seems as though he's just watching her and not dancing along too. I must say that although the content is rather iffy, I liked his delivery for this, it reminds me of T.I. and his ATL style.
12. "Report Card" (feat. Arab)
This track heavily samples Rich Boys "Throw Some D's" in a very humorous way as tis young rapper uses his age to rap about something most aren't able to do; school. As he says that he fails all of his test, by getting 'Fs' and he wants his teacher to "Throw Some Ds On It".
I really like how he used the situation and the sample to make something which is both funny and makes sense, but it is important to note that although he says that he isn't doing good in any lessons, he hasn't just quit school due to his fame, he is actually a straight 'A' student, which I find hard to believe, considering his YouTube videos which show him all over America and even in Tokyo getting some new Bape Stas, as he does.
13. "She Thirsty"
You can probably guess what he's on about on this one as he describes himself as fresh with his hair cut and a nice smile just as she(?) likes him to be. Due to all these factors, he says that she wants him and then he just continues like that.
To be honest, this one is extremely repetitive with the choruses spaced very close to each other, so you just get "She Thirsty" in you're head all the way through this track which this artist produced. At the end he makes it clear that he wants to do as he says that he's going to "Superman Dat Ho" just as many times before on the album. I like the hook for this track, but the lyrics get annoying.
14. "Don't Get Mad"
This brings us to the end of the debut album by Soulja Boy, and you can tell that he's winding down by the beat which is rather calm and he telling people to act in this way. For some reason I think that this works as the backing music for a retrospective look at his work so it's good that it's placed at the end of the LP.
He raps in a way that we didn't really se anywhere else in the album for this track. As a young artist who came from the internet he tells the world why records are selling anymore, because he knows that he's a part of this by downloading off the internet and such. he also says that he started so many fads and he has worked past all the haters and everything to get to the top.
Generally what I got from this album is that if it isn't a dance track, it's not very good, so he should just stick to them ones because this is what Snap Rap is all about and I can't really expect to be in a situation when I feel like listening to a track about a mobile phone if the beat isn't funky enough to dance along to.
I can understand why some more established rappers can get annoyed by the lyrics he uses because I can't possibly count how many times he uses the following phrases: "Yup", "Superman Dat Ho", "Yoooooooouuu", "Stacks On Deck", "I Got Me Some Bathing Apes" and when rap is supposed to have depth to it I can understand their point, but this is just a pop version of rap, party music, not meant to have subliminals or hidden messages, just straight-forward rhymes.
I must say that Soulja Boy has had a huge influence on my taste in music, dance and fashion. He has helped me discover a larger amount to what I thought was a small minority of Snap rappers and there are many dances which go along with them. Every party I'm at has me do the "Crank That" and a new one which I would have found on YouTube during the week leading up to it. Now you will rarely see me without at least one item with "Bathing Ape" upon it, because he was the first person I saw wearing (and rapping) about it, then many other faces, such as Pharrell Williams and Lil' Wayne got involved, this influence made he go get some just so that I could say "I Got Me Some Bathing Apes" as Soulja Boy does so often.
Soulja Boy Tell Em
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Crank That (Soulja Boy)
4 Snap And Roll
6 Let Me Get Em
9 Pass It To Arab
10 Soulja Girl - Soulja Boy Tell`em, I-15
11 Booty Meat
12 Report Card
13 She Thirsty
14 Don't Get Mad