Ten years ago, a few things happened. I started high school and dance came back to hip hop. On October 2, 2007 we were graced with the catchy phrase, “YOUUUUUU” and Soulja Boy not only became a household name, but began a new period of hip hop in which lyrical strategy and quality heavily downgraded to fill the gap (see Why Ayy-Flow Represents Laziness) between the genre and mainstream pop music.
Story | Sara Loretta
Image | Verge Campus
The Chicago-born, Mississippi-raised artist rose to fame after his song “iSouljaBoyTellEm” was used on the television show Entourage in early 2007, and the album which featured the track (iSouljaBoyTellEm.com) hit Top 20 on the Billboard Charts upon release in October. From there, “Crank That Soulja Boy” played non-stop on MTV and car speakers by teens. It wasn’t only the song that went viral, but the dance associated with the infamous lyrics was canonized by a simple Superman pose.
The dance moves of “Crank That” was one of the first hip hop fads that everyone could partake in, and where white kids no longer looked like Steve Martin from The Jerk. The dance was so popular, that my freshman marching band halftime show incorporated the moves into our routine. Yes, you read that correctly, now if I could just find it on video….
While the young rapper has been criticized in recent years for his faulty relationship with Chris Brown, we should celebrate Soulja Boy for his involvement in helping to transform the hip hop industry from early 2000s R&B to Dance Rap and influencing Mumble Rap today. His ability to turn fake gangsta-ism of chain wearing and spray painted clothing into a popularized fad is commendable as it will be referenced by Millennials for years as the time they wish they could forget, just like when they wore boots with the fur.