FEATURE: Soulja Boy, Kinda Like a Big Deal
Say what you want about Soulja Boy Tell ’Em but the kid puts in work. Ever since the teen phenom Supermanned the game with heavy online self-promotion and his ultra-catchy single “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” complete with its own dance, he’s been a constant presence in the game. While some peg him as nothing more than a ringtone rapper, Soulja is a respectable producer and businessman as well. In fact, Kanye West and R&B starlet Rihanna personally called him in to add his Midas touch to their next albums. With three mixtapes—Cortez, DatPiff and Paranormal Activity—dropping tomorrow (October 31), XXLMag.com caught up with the Atlanta rapper to chop it up about jockin’ Gucci Mane, why it’s not easy working with Kanye, and writing R&B records for Rihanna.
XXLMag.com: Gucci Mane just dropped three mixtapes in one day and now you’re doing the same tomorrow for Halloween. What’s the idea behind that?
Soulja Boy: The whole idea is just flooding the game. Flooding that deck period. Just tryna keep the streets updated. I got so many styles, so many beats and lyrics. I just gotta let the people know how it’s going down. I see my dawg Gucci going real hard so we just dropping back-to-back, just trying to stay consistent.
XXLMag.com: Isn’t it a waste to throw out that much music in one day?
Soulja Boy: This is what I do. I make music. I make money. I travel the world. I make business decisions and take things to the next level. But why three mixtapes? Because I don’t wanna just put one mixtape out. I done did that before with like one every week or something like that but I don’t want people to just judge one mixtape like, “Oh, I give that four stars. I just want to put so much out that you just gonna have to fuck with one of those tapes. If you don’t like Cortez or DatPiff, you gonna have to fuck with Paranormal Activity because I'm coming so hard on there. If you don’t like party music or you listening for lyrics or whatever you listening for I gotta hit that shit on one of them tapes.
XXLMag.com: So you’re trying to show folks you’re more than a ringtone rapper?
Soulja Boy: I mean, I think [people] look at me like the nigga that’s getting money right now and if you ain’t getting money then you ain’t doing nothing ’cause money make the world go round. I ain’t saying that it’s all about money... but it is.
XXLMag.com: Yesterday we reported that DJ Whoo Kid leaked your Cortez tape early but it was still all love. That had to mess up your three tapes in one day plans, though.
Soulja Boy: I was gonna go in and just do a whole ’nother mixtape and do four of them, but I said I'm just gonna hit ’em with what I said I was… I got MySpace and Ustream doing the promotion for the three mixtapes they releasing all three of them on datpiff.com [tomorrow]. I’m still gonna be in the studio working on these other projects. Right now I need to be finishing up this Rihanna song for her album. Her album dropping on [November] 23rd so I got like less than a couple hours to get this joint turned in.
XXLMag.com: You’re producing the track or just dropping a verse?
Soulja Boy: Nah, I’m writing—the track already done, but I ain't do the track.
XXLMag.com: Okay, so all you gotta do is spit your verse and it’s a wrap?
Soulja Boy: No, I’m writing the actual song.
XXLMag.com: Say word? How long you been writing R&B records?
Soulja Boy: I wrote “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” and Sammie sung that. I been writing, I been producing but I don’t really be up on it and go to an artist like, “You want me to write something for you?” I just always let them reach out to me like, “Soulja, I need a beat from you or I need you to do a hook for me.” I let the artist reach out to me instead of pressuring them.
XXLMag.com: Is that how you hooked up with Kanye West?
Soulja Boy: Yeah, Kanye reached out to me. He been fuckin’ with me like when I had that little situation with Ice-T; he reached out and was like, “What the fuck! Leave Soulja Boy alone.” Ever since then… I ain’t never really get a chance to thank him for that. We preformed together at the MTV Awards in like ’07, ’08 but it was like brief. We ain’t get to sit down and chop it up or whatever so he just reached out to me. We got in the studio, chopped it up and it was like history. Kanye, that nigga great. He one of the greatest to do it.
XXLMag.com: What exactly did y’all knock out together?
Soulja Boy: I produced some tracks [for him]. We got in the studio like two weeks ago and just really just I think Kanye… I work with a lot of artists but out of all of the artists I worked with I think that’s the only artist that try to push my talent to the next level, like it wasn’t easy working with him.
XXLMag.com: How so?
Soulja Boy: Like all the other artists they might want a beat or want me to write a song or hook for them, or just do a verse for them, Kanye came in like, “This the sample, I want you to use this sample and I want you to blah blah blah.” You just gotta keep redoing it until it’s perfect but I know that 100 percent, whoever spit on them, even if Kanye decide to give ’em to somebody else, whoever spit on them they guaranteed smash chart toppers.
XXLMag.com: Think he’ll return the favor for your album?
Soulja Boy: Of course the work relationship is gonna be mutual. My work ethic is crazy and of course his work ethic is crazy. Kanye ain't even in the country right now and he still trying to work. Like I got some shit coming with him, me and Drake that’s gonna be stuuupid. Some shit with me and Drake leaked earlier this week but we just planning on taking the music shit to the next level.
XXLMag.com: What’s next for Soulja Boy?
Soulja Boy: My artist Jbar; we about to do his record deal Monday. We got this meeting with Sylvia Rhone at Universal and Steve Rifkin at SRC… These labels bidding over Jbar and we about to do this SOD label shit, too… I thought Arab was gonna be the first artist to pop off SOD but Jbar doing it with his single “Daze,” with me featured on it. That ’bout to go No. 1 on radio, his second single about to be bananas, the SOD Money Gang label is gonna be crazy. I'm looking for new talent to sign so whoever reading this on XXLMag.com y’all niggas see me in the streets or in concert or whatever hit me on the Twitter if you got talent and you think you’re gonna be the next to blow ’cause I'm signing muthafuckas. No bullshit. We just grindin’ and trying to expand. SOD until I'm dead. —Anslem Samuel