DeAndre “Soulja Boy” Way typically takes credit for being the first rapper to do almost everything. The “Soulja Boy Did It First” meme was mostly taken as light-hearted fun, but the rapper recently took to social media to proclaim his actual importance to Hip Hop culture.
“When I came in the game they said I killed Hip Hop. But really, I birthed the new wave of Hip Hop with internet/streaming. Ahead of my time. #HipHop50,” wrote Soulja Boy on X (formerly Twitter).
He also added, “Now everyone vlogs their career like me. Now everyone uploads their music to the internet. Now everyone goes live for their fans. I started it. Thank me or not. Flowers/Credit or not. #HipHop50.”
Soulja Boy Tell’em broke onto the national Hip Hop scene with 2007’s crossover smash “Crank That.” His self-produced track spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Crank That” also earned 3x-Platinum certification from the RIAA.
In addition, Soulja Boy scored Top 20 hits with “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” and “Turn My Swag On” in 2009. His initial rise in the industry during the Ringtone Rap Era was met with accusations of him being the genre’s grim reaper.
Soulja Boy got into an infamous 2008 feud with West Coast legend Ice-T after the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit actor insisted the then-teenager “single-handedly killed Hip Hop.” SB later caught heat from some rap purists for suggesting East Coast legend Nas is actually responsible for the fall of the culture.
Fifteen years later, despite many of his Ringtone Era peers no longer commanding attention from fans or the media, Soulja Boy continues to remain relevant. The Mississippi-raised rhymer has released numerous music projects throughout his career. He also appeared on reality TV franchises and starred in his own The Life of Draco docuseries on Revolt.
In addition, Soulja Boy played a huge role in Hip Hop’s digital revolution over the last two decades. Back in 2006, he was one of the earliest rappers to use a burgeoning video-sharing platform called YouTube to present his music and videos. After building an online following, Soulja eventually signed a deal with Interscope Records.