You'll love to hate it – but you'll still be listening.
Sophie Bruce 2009-06-15
It's hard to believe that Soulja Boy, or Soulja Boy Tellem, the internet sensation and shifter of the most ringtones in the known universe – is yet to launch his first album here in the UK. In his native US he's already released three – and let's not forget that DeAndre Ramone Way, as he's known to his Mum, is still only 18 years old.
He's still best known for his internet dance sensation Crank That, which reached number two in the UK in December 2007 and won him a Grammy and a BET award.
Two interestingly-named albums followed in the States, Unsigned & Still Major: Da Album Before Da Album and Souljaboytellem.com before he released a full third album iSouljaBoyTellem to mixed reviews. Now re-edited to a six-track UK mini album, this is a stopgap before his new album The DeAndre Way arrives at the end of summer.
He may be lacking in lyrics but he certainly knows how to write a catchy tune and has self-produced some of the tracks. Alongside the aforementioned Crank That sits Turn My Swag On with critic-defying lyrics like, ''I gotta question why they hatin' on me, I ain't done nothing to 'em'' laid over an infectious sung hook. Gucci Bandanna isn't going to win any awards for creative genius but it's still one hell of an earworm.
Sean Kingston guests on Yamaha Mama where a twinkly piano melody accompanies yet more lyrics about the importance of SBT's phone. Speaking of which, you can't forget current hit Kiss Me Thru The Phone, the I Just Called To Say I Love You for the Noughties generation.
Online, his web shop selling t shirts, babygros, and things you may never even have heard of (what is a ding?) He even has his own virtual world – Planet Soulja Boy Tellem - which you can join. It makes you wonder if he values making money above making music.
He's been accused of writing specifically for the lucrative ringtone market and his songs do seem to be about catchy ten second hooks which are then repeated ad infinitum. Still, it's difficult to knock a teenager who says his aim is to make non-violent rap about partying and having fun. You'll love to hate it – but you'll still be listening.