NY Magazine Vulture Blog-Soulja Boy On How One Superman’s a Ho

If pressed to put a number on it, I’d wager that 73 percent of this blog’s readership views Soulja Boy as an avatar for the decline of Western Civ. As Maura rightfully pointed out...
By    December 3, 2008

If pressed to put a number on it, I’d wager that 73 percent of this blog’s readership views Soulja Boy as an avatar for the decline of Western Civ. As Maura rightfully pointed out yesterday, the kid’s got a penchant for inadverterantly sticking his diamond-encrusted Yums into his grill (I don’t want to know that means). And yes, roughly half his singles can charitably be described as migraine rap. But I’ve got to confess a certain partiality for the guy.* How much of it stems from my article on him earning inclusion in this year’s Da Capo series, I’m not sure. Truthfully, I’d probably defend Claus Von Bulow had he helped me get into the anthology.

I don’t exactly bump Soulja Boy regularly, but I enjoy “Crank That” for what it is and find “Turn My Swag On,” disturbingly catchy–though attempts to turn on my own swag have been lamentably dim. But I won’t argue with So Many Shrimp’s assertion that DeAndre Way attempts to make “the hardest, most nonconforming, most singular pop-rap around.” Of course, he doesn’t always succeed, but he’s at least original, which is more than I can say about turkeys like Rick Ross and Ron Browz.

Don’t get me wrong, Soulja Boy isn’t the performance artist of his generation and no sane person could ever mention him in the same breath as Andy Kauffman,** yet there’s something inherently likable to him. In person, he’s much savvier than you’d expect and openly admits his idolatry of Dave Chappelle. I mean, if you don’t think the above video for “Turn My Swag On” was trying to be funny, than you probably voted for Bob Barr.

Either way, I’m willing to cut the dude some slack, considering 18 months ago, he was a 16-year old living in his bedroom in Batesville, Mississippi–a town with just 7,000 people, a third of whom live below the poverty line. Without any help, he became a grassroots sensation, leveraged You Tube better than any other artist and plus, my 10-year old cousin, Taylor, likes him. Yes, she can probably crank that better than me. The interview, can be found at New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, which you should be reading if you aren’t already. B-sides after the jump.

* This does not mean I want to find out what passing it to Arab means.

*MTV call me. I can do better. Promise. I’ll even take back those nasty things I said about Carson Daly back in ’01. Okay, that’s a lie.

NY Magazine Vulture Blog: Soulja Boy on How One Superman’s a Ho

MP3: Soulja Boy-“Turn My Swag On”

Several years ago, critics prematurely declared the music video a dead art form. But clearly, they played a large role in your success. How important are videos to you?

Music videos play an important role in every person’s career. I shoot videos for every single that comes out, but I’m about putting brand new videos for the fans on You Tube. Whether it’s me and my homeboys at the mall shopping and messing with some girls, or something I’ll just sit at home and write, like a Dave Chappelle skit. It lets the fans know more of your personality and who you are. It also helps your name get out there.

In the history of popular dances where you would rank the Soulja Boy dance? Would you say it’s bigger than the Roger Rabbit? What about the Macarena?

I think it’s bigger than all of them right now because it’s the newest one. It’s on the tip everyone’s brain. If you said, ‘name a dance, right now,’ you’d probably say pick it, just because it’s the newest one.

Did you make the beat for “Turn my Swag On”

No, but that became a popular video on the Internet. I was just doing something for You Tube, a joke skit like you’d see on Dave Chappelle and I was blowing my nose into dollar bills and thinking what the most ridiculous rich-person behavior would be like. I thought of that

So you’ve never really blown your nose into a pile of dollar bills

Nah, who the hell would do that, that’s ridiculous.

Do you ever feel like you’re being misinterpreted, that you’re just trying to be funny and people take you dead serious.

I get that, but a lot of it’s supposed to be a joke.

Earlier this year, there was a lot of controversy, with Ice-T and Gza calling you out. Did you feel like you were being scapegoated and if so, why?

Really, I don’t even care. Man, I just think that I was a hot topic. I am a hot topic. My name came out of a lot of peoples’ mouth. Basically, Ice-T, Gza and Lebron James were just more publicly known than anyone else. I bet you were like, ‘Soulja Boy, that’s some weird shit, what the fuck’s up with that kid?’ Basically, those people are famous, so when Soulja Boy comes out their mouth, it’s mayhem. It is what it is, I like it, keep saying my name.

And then there was obviously the comment where you shouted out the slave masters. I know you said you were being sarcastic and it was blown out of proportion. Do you want to clarify yourself?

Basically man, it was a bad joke at the wrong place at the wrong time. I apologize for it. I wasn’t feeling the interview with dude anyway.

Did you feel that Toure was trying to be condescending?

Yeah, I felt like I was being set up. Out of all the interviews I’ve done in my career, I’ve never been put in a position where I felt so awkward. I felt that it was the wrong move and afterwards I felt like dude was trying to hurt my career. But it is what it is. I apologize for it, it was a case of the wrong place at the wrong time.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you since you become famous?

When I first got my first million dollar check. I didn’t know what to do with it,

What did you do with it?

I found out about taxes–that wasn’t fun. But I bought a house in Atlanta and a car.

It’s Thanksgiving next week, what are you thankful for?

My career, all the fans that I have and for my family sticking with me in this whole strange process of becoming a celebrity.

What does your family think of your success?

They support me. I don’t think they fully understand exactly how I did it. I basically blew up in the bedroom of my house and they can’t understand that.

Were your parents into technology at all?

Nah, my dad gave me the computer. He was like, ‘here take it.’ He didn’t know how to work it, and then I basically sat him down and explained everything and then a month later, he saw me on TV. They’re as surprised as anyone.

What do you want to accomplish in the future?

I want a movie. I want my video game to be like Gears of War 2. I don’t want it to be corny and people will be like, ‘Soulja Boy, damn that kid made a corny Soulja Boy video game. I want it to be on the same level as Halo.

You thinking about acting?

I’m waiting on the right script. The agency I’m with, they pitch me scripts all the time. But the last one they sent me, they wanted me to fly over to Belgium and shoot this movie about the Tuskeegee airmen and do some serious part where I’d cry on the battlefield. I’m more into comedies. I’d want to do something like Superbad.

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