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How Soulja Boy really conquered New York

“55,000 people all jammin’ to “Swag On” in the middle of New Jersey – it’s crazy. I guess New York finally showin’ me some love.” – Soulja Boy, on his appearance at Summer Jam this past weekend

Could it be that people who know from good music are finally starting to warm up to Soulja Boy, or is it that we’re getting too tired to hate anymore, in our old age? Of course I’m gonna suggest it’s the latter.

I’ve been hearing for the past several weeks now that Soulja Boy’s “Turn My Swag On,” or whatever it’s called, has been blowing up on New York radio. This despite the fact that the album didn’t seem to do anything back when it was released, and I know the label had gone so far as to give it away for free. And that was after the album had already been pushed back a few times, when the other singles from it failed to ignite. I thought we might finally be done with Soulja Boy. I suppose I should have known we weren’t.

The fact that a Soulja Boy song would blow up in New York, and that his performance at Summer Jam would go over well is hardly surprising to me, in that of course a bad song is gonna have a lot of success on the radio, let alone in New York, which has the worse radio evar. More so than anywhere else I’ve ever been, New York plays the same three songs over and over again. And in many cases, it’s either reggae, or some sort of bullshit rap no one likes anywhere other than New York. For example, I don’t think that people get that you basically never hear Jay-Z on the radio here in the Midwest. People just plain don’t give a shit about him. And that’s Jay-Z – not, like Dipset or some shit.

Then there’s the fact that a lot of people are just getting tired of hating on Soulja Boy and his ilk – if that’s what they’re gonna play on the radio, they’ll just get Sirius, or listen to an iPod or some shit. And if that’s who’s gonna be at Summer Jam, they’ll just stay home and stroke it to Internets pr0n. It’s easier to just try to avoid it than constantly rage against it. Case in point, I couldn’t even bring myself to say anything about the cover of this month’s issue of XXL – with Soulja Boy and a buncha other bum-ass southern rappers – when I saw it a few weeks ago. And I notice hardly anyone else had anything to say about it.

My tall Israeli benefactors must be pissed. You’d have to think they put those clowns on there just to get a rise out of people. It’s not like any of them are worthy of being on the cover on the basis of popularity. I’m assuming that’s why it’s all four of them and not just Soulja Boy himself. A solo Soulja Boy cover, with him doing something especially ignorant, like taking a piss on some money, might have been really controversial. But who knows? People stay watching his videos on YouTube, but you can’t pay them to buy his album. The TIs couldn’t afford to have that happen to this month’s issue, what with the state of the economy. This way, they could give some shine to some bums the major labels are trying to push, and perhaps ensure themselves some advertising money, like they did with that Freshman 10 issue.

Whereas the Internets are still going nuts over that Freshman 10 (I wouldn’t be surprised if ends up on Charles Hamilton’s epitaph), the only discussion I saw was on the blog of the late, great (well, the late anyway) Maurice Garland. You could tell he was kinda upset that this issue was supposed to spotlight his native ATL, and the were the four bums they chose to represent. It’s not like these regional issues, like the one last year with Rawse, Trina et al., are definitely supposed to focus on up and coming artists. Presumably, this is who XXL felt were the four hottest rappers out of the A right now. But you know how southern rap lacks any kind of self-correction mechanism. It’s why southern rappers all get along so well. So, he wasn’t gonna hate or anything. He was just saying.

I saw a copy of the ATL issue the other day at the grocery store, when I finally got a chance to look at the Vibe with the bullshit blog list. I started to pick it up and flip through it, but I was just like, fuck it. It’s not like I felt salty about it or anything. It just didn’t interest me in the least bit. And keep in mind, I’m not suggesting you do the same. Someone’s gotta make sure we don’t go out of business.

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