Even though Soulja Boy had the world doing his eponymous dance two years ago thanks to the No. 1 sensation “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” the teenage rap star was still dismissed as a lightweight and even a joke in some rap circles, and some wondered if he would be able to match the success of his smash hit.
At one point, Soulja Boy did too.
“I went through that phase,” said Soulja Boy, whose debut album “souljaboytellem.com” went platinum. “I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder. But I put into my head that I wasn’t going to top ‘Crank Dat.’ That’s what made me hot, but I’m going to keep making hits.”
That’s all he has been doing lately with the release of his second CD, “iSouljaBoyTellem.” Though his first single “Bird Walk” fell flat, the 18-year-old rapper rebounded strong with his top ten Billboard pop hit “Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” featuring Sammie, and the catchy “Turn My Swag On,” which is also rising on the Billboard pop charts.
Several remixes of Soulja Boy’s “swag” track also includes some of rap’s elite, from Jay-Z to Lil Wayne to Young Jeezy.
“I’m just creating real-life situations,” he says. “I’m really trying to talk to my girl on the phone and hopping out the bed and turning my swag on, putting my jewelry on and brushing my teeth. It’s all real for me.”
Soulja Boy feels he is starting to gradually gain the respect he wasn’t receiving before. He exchanged verbal shots with rapper-actor Ice-T, who said his brand of music was “killing hip-hop.” He even beefed with Bow Wow shortly after the two released the video “Marco Polo.”
“People really did think I was going to be a one-hit wonder — not a legit artist,” he said with a slight smirk. “They’re opening up more now. But before, I had a lot of haters, a lot of beefs with rappers, a lot people’s opinions about my lifestyle. I read the blogs.”
But through the disputes, Soulja Boy says he’s been able to silence the critics, at least for now. He claims to have already taken and expanded Bow Wow’s predominantly teen fan base, and is tapping into more older crowds.
Veteran rapper Bun B says the doubters should give him a break.
“He’s made tremendous strides,” Bun B said. “There have been so many people in the rap game hating on him, but (they) need to just leave him the hell alone. He continues to make hot tracks and is becoming more of a proven artist.”
Soulja Boy says he has learned how to endure the criticisms of the music industry through his mentor 50 Cent — a multi-platinum selling rapper who has also seen success outside of music.
“I’m going to do my thing regardless of the haters, whether it be hip-hop or pop or R&B or rock. Whatever genre I’m classified in, I’m still going to do numbers,” he declared.