Soulja Boy Biography

Review The Artist (20)

Soulja Boy-photo

Real Name:DeAndre Cortez Way
Birthdate:July 28,1990

“He's a genius, man. It's like catching Michael Jackson before he actually hit wax. It's that kind of talent.” Strong words, words more likely attributable to an overzealous blogger than one of the game's rising impresarios. But Mr. Collipark, known best for his irrepressible production behind the Ying Yang Twins, uses those very superlatives in describing Atlanta-based phenom Soulja Boy. Skeptical? Consider this: at an age normally reserved for acne remedies and orthodonture, Soulja Boy signed to the inimitable roster at Interscope Records. So how did this 16-year-old rapper/producer go from irritating teachers at South Panola High School in Batesville, Mississippi to inking deals in Jimmy Iovine's plush office? Let's fill in some gaps.

Soulja Boy, born DeAndre Way in Chicago, moved to Atlanta at age 6. A-town, today the boiling cauldron of musical creativity, had begun to seriously bubble by the mid-90s. Artists like OutKast, Usher, Jermaine Dupri, and Goodie Mob were rising from local heavyweights into national sensations, shoving the South inexorably into prominence.

A young Soulja, taking cues from his surroundings, mustered his fledgling foray into music alongside then-partner, Young Kwon: “ He was the one who taught me how to make beats and record; he recorded the first songs I ever did,” Soulja reveals. “He taught me what he knew about snap beats in the studio in his house.” His appetite whetted, Soulja began to hone his production chops. But while his time was abundant, resources were not. “I didn't like growing up, we grew up poor,” Soulja admits. “When I was staying with my Momma, it was me and my little brother. We didn't have much money. I ain't have nothing to do, just go to school. I used to be real smart, a straight A student. But music affected my grades, I ain't gonna lie.”

Ironically, it was Soulja's subsequent departure from Atlanta that prompted the next step in his musical march. While in 8th grade, he moved to nearby Mississippi with his father. “I moved with my daddy because he had a little money, he could provide more for me,” Soulja notes. “That's where I got access to a computer. When I went to Mississippi, I had to adjust to what was going on. But it was really a blessing in disguise, because if I would've never moved to Mississippi I wouldn't be where I'm at today. I wouldn't have had access to no computer, no internet, no camera to film my dancing. I took the hood to where the money was at. If I didn't have no money behind it, nobody would've ever known about it.”

By “it,” he means the grass-roots groundswell he created via the internet. Soulja collaborated with classmate and co-conspirator Arab to form the duo The 30/30 Boys. The pair cooked up jocular songs and beamed them out over the web. “First we uploaded songs to SoundClick, where people can comment on your songs, rate them, and download them,” Soulja explains. “We were getting good responses, so I set up my website, to help push my name.” Having opened this new portal --and alongside manager Michael Sykes, a.k.a Miami Mike-- Soulja was able to display his full palate of attributes. “I don't think it's just the music, I think it's me that people like,” he asserts. “My personality come through, and my style. I think somebody who just hears my music and doesn't know me won't like me as much as somebody who's seen me perform. That's Soulja boy, that's that dude. You gonna be like that, ‘Dang, I wanna be like that dude right there.'”

At first glance, such a statement seems more a measure of Soulja Boy's age than his credibility. But upon further inspection, this claim shows Soulja's head to be level, rather than big. In fact, old ally Arab remains a close friend, and his current tour hypeman. And Mr. Collipark, who via his Collipark Music imprint brought Soulja Boy to Interscope's attention, echoes the sentiment. “To an adult who doesn't know what's going on with him, it appears to be a fad. But if you do the research and look at the real fans, his presence is like a cult. Matter of fact, he didn't even have a single per se when I signed him. It was beyond a record; it was his whole lifestyle: how he dressed, his shades with his name on them, the shoes he chose to wear. It was all of that and the music was another part of what he brought to the table. Part of Soulja's magic that blew him up, even before I got to him, was that the kids looked at his music as something that was just theirs. It was something they could have that nobody else could have. But if you not hip to it, you gonna look at him as some one hit wonder.”

Soulja returned to Atlanta in 2004, wearing Mississippi on his back like a David Banner tattoo. “Down in Mississippi, there's rappers for days trying to make it,” he maintains. “If more people in Mississippi just had some way to let the world see what they doing, there'd be a lot more dudes who can do better than what's out there right now. It's controversial because people saying the South killing hip hop, but I feel it's new and different, and people still stuck on the old stuff. It's changing; I'm fitting to be the next generation.” Riding high off his internet celebrity, Soulja was determined to translate this notoriety into US currency. “When I moved back to Atlanta, I was like ‘I gotta get my momma out of this right here,'” he says. “Then my career started to jump off, and the money started coming in.” He paired with Atlanta-based manager Derrick Crooms, who'd been responsible for shaping the Ying-Yang Twins' successes. Soulja landed his first live performance at the grizzled age of 15, at a teen nightclub in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The first time I stepped onstage was wild,” he recalls. “The show was so crunk that I was worried about doing a wack show. But then I just calmed down and did it.” That stage-stealing three-song showcase parlayed into more eye-catching engagements. “As a businessman, his savvy at 16 years old is incredible,” attests Mr. Collipark. “He puts his shows together, his songs together, he produces all his own music. This is only the beginning.”

Collipark takes it a step further: “The more I'm around the kid, the more I see how special he is. I think he's the future of the way music's going. Coming into the game, he's done all the work for the record company who's trying to find an artist with substance and an existing fan base. The game right now is based on somebody lucking up and finding a hit record, but that somebody has no substance. Soulja Boy comes with that substance already built in. He has a better chance of selling a million records than a lot of established artists do. Whether we as adults get it or not doesn't matter; it's a fact that he's already selling out shows by himself-- headlining across the country. He's really an entertainer. His stage show is phenomenal. I put his stage show up against anybody, right now, and he's only 16 years old.”

This may sound a bit like rose-colored rhetoric, so perhaps some simple arithmetic is in order: nearly 10 million people have visited Soulja Boy's MySpace page since its inception. His legion of fans uploads YouTube clips daily, emulating his epidemic self-titled dance routines. His “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” anthem is scalding radio. He's set to release his debut album on Interscope Records, aptly called Fittingly, he references labelmate 50 Cent as motivation: “50 Cent inspired me a lot: he's sold millions of records, done movies, he's got clothes and a videogame. I want all that too and more.” Daring to use 16-year-old rapper and track record in the same breath, Soulja has set the requisite precedent for success. And he's leaving doubters powerless. When asked how he distinguishes himself from other artists on the come-up, he drops his boyish grin and answers steadfastly: “I'm different, in terms of my style, what I rap about, what I do, how I do it, the way I put it together. I switch up doing comedy, the snap, the dance, the party, the happy, the sad, all of that.” It's a convincing pitch. When further pressed about how he'll deal with haters, he seems unconcerned. “I don't respond to skepticism because they not gonna be skeptical for long,” he states. “My life right now is like a TV show; you watch every day to see a new episode,” he continues. “They waiting to see what I'mma do next.” Sounds like he's got us all figured just right. Not bad for 16.

Thanks to Nerd Swaqq for submitting the biography.

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The Pretty Boy with Swagg!!! | Reviewer: Soulja Girl..Lil bee | 7/17/11

OMG..........................soulja boy..ypu the best rapper ever....yu the best rapper alive...I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU..i luv evrthng abt you...erz nuthng that ild chnge abt yu.....All the haters must go eat a dick..coz u beta than them......They js hate yu coz u got soo much swag..I LOVE YOU AND I MEAN IT...U ROCK MY WORLD.......i cnt spend a dae witout lukin at yo pics or listening to yo songs i knw most of them by head...ol the lyrics....IM YO BIGGEST FAN ALVE!!!!!!<3 <3

WaT iT Do SJB | Reviewer: WBIC | 2/13/11

Wat up brah its WBIC (white boi in chicago) for all you haters. and ya this man SJB is on point making hits all the damn time and all his hooks and shit and dances are tight this mutha fucka right heres tight as some pants on onea them emo kids shit. SJB u da man dog and im just here to say WHITE BOIS LIKE THIS MANS SHIT 2!!! and for yall you racist sons of bitch ass pussy fucks id knock any of u out for droping that N bomb cuz my cuzos i lived wit my life growin up and ya they black and ya they from the hood and ya they in jail right now but them boys dont play! Keep wit it my dude im a say i been ur fan from back in the day man before u hit youtube and all this bullshit i was listening to u like 4-5 years ago back when gucci was still underground and shit and on his real shit brah. Keep doing you think dog and POW is the hardest freestyle there is dog!!! shout out to all them real niggas and fuck all them pussy ass haters cuz they cant say shit other than on the internet CUZ YALL SOME WEAK PUSSYS. any way do you thing my dude and make a song about all them white bitch ass haters u got real talk!! take it easy dog fuck wit me!

Your Biggest Fan | Reviewer: Brandon Jaleel Williams | 4/1/10

Aye Soulja Boy, what's up man, this is your biggest fan Brandon Williams, I just want to let you know that I like all of your music and your dance move, your dance move is pretty tight, and your beat to your music goes really hard man. Someday I'm planning on beening famous, except I want to be an actor, if you want to be in my movie. Also I wanted to let you know that you are my favorite rapper and you influces me alot when it comes to my haters. I also like to talk to you too (504)-715-1252

respect | Reviewer: malik | 7/29/09

i respect every thing soulja boy has done in his life because he and i r alike we r too black young men getin out of the hood and tring to help our family too i wanted to be a basket ball player first but wen i heared soulja rap i was like man if he can do this i can too dats wen i really started to rap about things dat go on in the hood all day every day so i just wanted to say thank u soulja boy for your rappin and like i said i respect every thing u did in your life keep goin

MY SOULJA BOY | Reviewer: Mz.Lovely | 3/21/09

I think soulja Boy is the most talented person out right now. Every time one of his songs come on I automatically start to dance. Especially at the parties! I do hope to meet him some day and maybe we can make a song of our own one day!!!Right now he is inspiring me to sing and pour my heart out.I would love to get to know everything about him.You always have my heart.

s0ulja B0y | Reviewer: Chanel | 1/31/09


SouljaGurl F0~lyf3y!!!! | Reviewer: Alexis | 12/14/08

Wat i want to say is I LUV YOU DeAnDre f0 lyfe and yu should already kno and dnt listen to hataz that can care less about you just kno yu doin yo thang and fo ppl who alwayz have to critise someone where is yo career and why yu aint out there instead of messin with somebody's head...But anyway dnt let anybody stop wat yu doin caz yo career is great so far and yu iz very bless and atleast you out there doin sum instead of hatin on others....FUCK DEM HATAZ!!!

luv dat nigga | Reviewer: Quita | 12/1/08

hey mii name is quita and would like 2 say is i luv me sum soulja boy dats mii baby who wouldn't luv his sexc ass but ummm i luv dat damn song nasty with it 2 and mii baby is not reatarted neither he jus like 2 be a freaky nasty nigga like me a nasty freaky gurl dat we can make sumthin happen soulja boy #1 fan

Are You Guys Foreal? | Reviewer: Franci | 7/31/08

It makes no sense that people are trying to put him down. Hes a great artist that is really blessed that hes not in jail or doing something really bad. Its out there making {great} music that people can dance to and will ALWAYS remember. Because everyone knows that the songs that he will make will live on forever. Just Stop Hating On Him and Applause For Him

The Young -N- Sexy | Reviewer: Nakia James | 5/5/08

When he came out he everybody Cranking That Soulja Boy,but before he bapes and girls shaking that BOOTYMEAT.We all love all the girls love him like a fat kid loves cake.If If were you I would go and get 30 copies, and listen to those HOT songs like Donk,Pass it to Arab.Just go get the album.

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