Classic Albums: Soulja Boy Tell Em’ – “”

I’ve been wanting to do one of these for a long time now. Here’s an album that I (and hopefully to you) consider to be a classic. These are albums that have tremendously impacted the way I look at music, and need to be shared with everyone. I do not take this stuff lightly. Enjoy.

We won’t stop until we crank the world.

DeAndre Cortez Way, known better by his moniker Soulja Boy Tell Em’, is a rap artist that burst onto the scene in 2007 with his debut-single, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”. After appearing on the award-winning HBO series Entourage, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” encapsulated the ears of every listener, eager to learn the 17-year-old’s signature steps. Less than seven months later, Way released his career defining debut-album

“What are we going to do today Mr. Collipark?” “Same thing we do everyday Soulja Boy. Try to crank the world.” With this goal in mind, we are thrust into the world of Soulja Boy Tell Em’. But, Soulja Boy’s world isn’t solely about himself. He exists because of the people who love him, and throughout, Soulja Boy exclaims this with an empowering, “YOU!” Whether he’s motivating you to move in “Crank that” or condemning violence in “Let Me Get Em,” he fights to stir a change in society. In “Snap And Roll,” he YOU’s until he “Can’t no mo’.” This backbreaking determination is what pushed into the spotlight.

“Crank That (Soulja Boy)” was released during my freshman year in high school. At this time, my naive tween self was overwhelmed by the wave of change that was new realm of George Jenkins High School. But among this confusion, something big hit. Something that unified me with the rest of the student body. A dance. And not only did one dance help me gain acceptance to an unfamiliar territory, it pushed me forward as a human being altogether. When a upperclassmen would approach me calling me “freshie” or “fresh meat,” I would take the knowledge I learned from Soulja Boy Tell Em’ and use it to my advantage. “Yahh trick yahh!”

Soulja Boy’s captivating influence continues on the track “Report Card.” The song is a narrative depicting the all-to-real struggle of a young, African American man working to gain the education he so rightfully deserves. He explicitly demands his educator to “throw some D’s on the that bitch.” Here lies the power of, it not only motivates it’s listeners, it berates it’s critics.

The music throughout is most closely associated with trap music, but does incorporate distorted guitars, steel drums, and horns. Soulja Boy himself produced a majority of the album’s tracks, and his upbeat, quick personality shows through. Trap music has gained much more momentum in the recent years, and through his producing, Soulja Boy predicted and helped shape popular rap music today.

Although does look forward in many ways, it perfectly captured the time it was made in. The song “Sidekick” plays with the idea of yesterday’s emerging “tek-nology” and it’s grasp on an unsuspecting culture. Myspace, the leading social network website at the time, is mentioned numerous times as a sign of gratification to the website that helped him become successful. Later in “Bapes,”  Soulja Boy raps about the fashion trends of 2007.

Whether through it’s empowering anthems, trend setting dance records, or catchy cultural choruses, stands as a landmark album of the 2000’s.