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Soulja Boy

Soulja Boy

DeAndre Cortez Way (born July 28, 1990), better known as Soulja Boy Tell 'Em or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. In September 2007, his debut single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The single was initially self-published to the internet, and later became a number-one hit in the United States for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in September 2007.[6] On August 17, Way was listed at number 18 on the Forbes list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings of 2010 for earning $7 million that year.[7]

Background information
DeAndre Cortez Way[1][2]
Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, Young Draco, Big Soulja
BornJuly 28, 1990Chicago,Illinois, U.S.
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Stacks on Deck Entertainment
Country of originUnited States

Early life

Way was born in Chicago and moved to Atlanta at the age of six,[8] where he became interested in rap music.[9] At age 14, he moved to Batesville, Mississippi, with his father who provided a recording studio for Way to explore his musical ambitions.[8] In November 2005, Way posted his songs on the website SoundClick.

Following positive reviews on the site, he established accounts on YouTube and Myspace.[10][11] In March 2007, he recorded "Crank That" and released his first independent album Unsigned & Still Major: Da Album Before da Album, followed by a low-budget video demonstrating the "Crank That" dance. By the end of May 2007, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" had received its first airplay and Way met with Mr. Collipark to sign a deal with Interscope Records.

Music career

2007–08: Souljaboytellem.com and iSouljaBoyTellem

Soulja Boy performing "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" in February 2008

Soulja Boy performing "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" in February 2008

On August 12, 2007, "Crank That" was used on the television series Entourage, and on September 1 it topped the US Billboard Hot 100Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[13] corded using just the demo version of FL Studio.[15][16]

For the 50th Grammy Awards, Way was nominated for Best Rap Song with "Crank That (Soulja Boy)", but lost to Kanye West and T-Pain's "Good Life". Souljaboytellem.com received a favorable review from Allmusic,[13] but received mainly negative reviews from other sources such as Entertainment Weekly.[17] Several reviewers credited Soulja Boy with spearheading a new trend in hip-hop, while speculating he would likely be a one-hit wonder.[18][19][20]

The follow-up to souljaboytellem.com, iSouljaBoyTellem, was released on December 16, 2008 to negative critical reception.[21] The first single from the album, "Bird Walk", peaked at number 40 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the top 20 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. It was performed on YouTube Live on November 22, 2008, with an introduction from MC Hammer.[22] "Kiss Me Thru the Phone", with Sammie, followed, peaking at number three on the Hot 100 and number one on the Hot Rap Tracks charts.[8] Chris Brown was originally Way's first choice to sing the hook, but had respectfully turned down the offer. Way then tried to do it on his own with Auto-Tune but he found it unacceptable.[24] It sold over 2,000,000 digital copies in the United States, becoming his second song to reach the two million mark in downloads.[25][26] On January 26, 2009, Way released the third single "Turn My Swag On". It topped the US Rap Charts and peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. As of August 23, 2009 it has sold more than 1,000,000 digital downloads in the United States.[26]

2009–10: The DeAndre Way

Soulja Boy at Youtube Live in November 2008

Soulja Boy at Youtube Live in November 2008

Way said his third studio album, The DeAndre Way,[27] was intended to be his most personal and successful album thus far. When speaking on possible collaborations, he said he wished to work with artists such as Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye West[28] and Eminem.[29] The lead single from the album, "POW", was released in January 2009 but failed to garner success and was dubbed a promo single. On October 30, 2009, Way released three mixtapes: Paranormal Activity, Dat Piff and Cortez.[30] It was announced on February 18, 2010, that the first single from the album was going to be "All Black Everything" but the single was cancelled and the track was put on another promotional mixtape, Legendary.[31] The album's title was changed to Dre in an early 2010 commercial with a video snippet for "Do It Big" as the first single but this was cancelled as well.[32] The album title was reverted to The DeAndre Way in July 2010.

On June 8, 2010, the official lead single from the album was "Pretty Boy Swag". The single reached number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100, number six on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number five on the Rap Songs chart.[33] The album's second single was due to be "Digital" which was instead used on his promotional mixtape Best Rapper.[34] Then it was announced that "Speakers Going Hammer" was going to be the second single, but "Blowing Me Kisses" was released on August 31, 2010, as the second single instead.[35] On October 13 Way performed "Pretty Boy Swag" and a snippet of his third single "Speakers Going Hammer". On October 19, 2010, Way released "Speakers Going Hammer" on iTunes with the single peaking at number 48 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs.[36] Way backed-out of the Summerbeatz tour in Australia in November 2010, where he was to have performed alongside Flo Rida, Jay Sean and Travie McCoy,[37] in order to embark on his "Who They Want" tour in support of his upcoming album. The DeAndre Way was released on November 30, 2010, and has so far sold only 70,000 copies, making it Way's lowest-selling album.

2011–18: mixtapes, EPs, independent albums & Blessed

In 2011, Way released a series of mixtapes.

The first, on January 22, was titled Smooky and had cartoon cover art of Way doing a 360 on a bicycle.[38] On March 17, Way released the mixtape 1UP which had cover art based on the Naruto anime, with Way stating: "If I was in a video game, this mixtape would advance me to the next level with an extra life. Power up with the new offering."[39] On April 20, Way released his mixtape Juice with cover art based on the film of the same name. Way said he would also release a mini-movie of his own to go along with the mixtape, and that he was headed to greatness with the mixtape.[40] On July 15, Way released his EP mixtape titled Bernaurd Arnault EP (Limited Edition).[41] Then on August 1, Way released another ep mixtape titled 21: EP.[42] On August 31, Way released the mixtape The Last Crown, the cover of the mixtape is based on the artwork the Flammarion Engraving.[43][44] In September 2011, Way confirmed that he is working on a new album, Promise, which would be released in October.[45] Way also released the cover and title of his second independent album via Twitter, titled Skate Boy, with a notice that it would be available in stores on November 1.[46][47] On September 19, Way released the mixtape Supreme.[48] On October 30, Skate Boy (Deluxe Edition) was released as a mixtape, rather than an album.[49][50] On December 30, 2011, Way released another mixtape titled Gold On Deck.[51]

In 2012, Way released additional mixtapes while his album continued to be delayed.

On January 9, Way released a mixtape for the beginning of the year, titled 50/13, with the cover based on that of ASAP Rocky's mixtape Live. Love. ASAP.[52] On January 24, Way released a collaboration mixtape with his artist Young L titled Mario & Domo vs. the World with cover art based on the video game Super Mario Bros.[53] On March 23, Way released a mixtape titled OBEY which featured the promotional single "Too Faded".[54][55][56] On June 3, 2012, Way talked about his upcoming album Promise and said he has released so many mixtapes in the last two years because he feels he has to put out a lot of music and be as creative as possible.[57] On June 11, Way released another collaboration mixtape with rapper Vinny Chase titled Double Cup City.[58] On September 4, Way released the sequel mixtape Juice II, in which Way returned to his old production style with the beginning lines "Soulja Boy Tell 'Em". It is Way's most-downloaded mixtape.[59] His mixtape titled Young & Flexin was released on November 6.[60] On December 25, 2012, Way released LOUD, which was his first mixtape distributed on iTunes.[61][62]

2013 was marked by further album delays while Way's record deal expired, and he continued to release mixtapes.

On February 22, Way released his first mixtape of the year, titled Foreign.[63] In March, it was rumored that Way was signing to Cash Money Records after getting a face tattoo saying "Rich Gang" the same weekend he was seen with his manager and Cash Money artists Birdman and Bow Wow.[64] This continued after he added "Rich Gang" or "YMCMB" to his social media platforms. Way had earlier reported that he was no longer with Interscope Records after his record deal ended in February.[65] Way also announced that his album Promise had been retitled USA DRE. On March 15, he released the first single from the album, titled "Handsome".[66][67] Following that, on March 25, he released the EP, All Black.[68] On April 24, Way released his mixtape Foreign 2.[69] Three days later, Way revealed the cover art to his next mixtape titled King Soulja which was released on May 5.[70] On May 26, Way released his second EP titled Cuban Link.[71][72] On June 13, Way announced another album title change, to Life After Fame, and that it would be released to stores on July 30, 2013.[73] On June 25, Way released his first single from the album titled "Ridin Round" to iTunes, but it was later dubbed a promotional single.[74][75] On June 30, Way released Life After Fame as a mixtape instead of an album.[76] On September 24, Way released his mixtape titled 23.[77][78] On November 30, Way released his mixtape The King.[79][80] On December 28, 2013 rapper/singer Drake collaborated and remixed Way's intro track "We Made It" from his mixtape The King.[81][82]

In 2014, Way continued work on his fourth studio album while collaborating with other artists and releasing additional mixtapes.

On March 18, Way released his first mixtape of the year titled King Soulja 2.[83][84][85] On April 20, Way released his first digital album Super Dope, featuring an appearance from rapper Busta Rhymes.[86] On May 19, Way produced, co-wrote and was featured on Nicki Minaj's promotional single "Yasss Bish", which received positive reviews from music critics.[87][88] On June 8, Way announced that he was currently working on his new mixtape project King Soulja 3, which would feature appearances from Lil Wayne, Drake, Migos, Young Thug and Wiz Khalifa.[89] On June 29, Way released King Soulja 3 as his second digital album via iTunes, featuring appearances from Gudda Gudda and Rich The Kid.[90] On October 31, Way released his mixtape Young Millionaire, featuring appearances from Sean Kingston, Cap.1 and Rich The Kid.[91][92][93] On November 17, Way announced via his Instagram that he had signed a new label deal with Universal Music Group and also revealed the title, cover art and release date for his fourth studio album, Loyalty, originally scheduled for release on December 2, 2014, but pushed back to February 3, 2015.[5]

In 2015, following the release of his fourth studio album, Loyalty, Way released additional singles, mixtapes and a digital album. For this upcoming digital album, King Soulja 4, Way released the single "Whippin My Wrist (Too Rich)" on February 27; it charted on the Billboard Trending 140 at number 48.[94][95] On May 16, Way released his mixtape Swag The Mixtape featuring appearances from Migos, Peewee Longway, Troy Ave, Johnny Cinco, Chief Keef, Pack Strong, Paul Allen, Chella H, Calico Jonez and Kyle Massey.[96][97] On May 26, fellow Atlanta, Georgia artist Rich The Kid announced that he and Way would be releasing a collaboration album titled Get Rich.[98] On June 3, via Twitter, Way revealed the title, cover art and release date to his upcoming fifth studio album, Blessed, which was scheduled for release on July 28, 2015, but experienced several delays.[99] On June 30, Way released a mixtape titled 25 The Movie.[100] On July 17, Way released a new single titled "Actavis" featuring Migos, taken from his fourth digital album King Soulja 4.[101] On July 23, Way released his mixtape titled M & M: Money and Music.[102][103] On July 30, through his independent label Stacks on Deck Entertainment, Way released his fourth digital album, King Soulja 4, featuring appearances from Migos, ReeseMoneyBagz, Dae Dot and Sean Kingston.[104][105] On September 1, Way released the single "Diddy Bop".[106] On September 24, Way released a single titled "Gratata" along with an accompanying music video.[107][108] On September 28, Way released the mixtape Plug Talk.[109] On November 9, Way premiered a single titled "Make It Rain".[110] On November 24, Way released a mixtape titled S. Beezy.[111][112][113][114]

In 2016, Way released his fifth and sixth digital albums in addition to numerous mixtapes, singles and videos.

On January 14, Way released a single titled "Drop The Top" and on January 24 he premiered its music video.[115][116][117] On January 24, Way released a standalone single titled "Stephen Curry" after the NBA basketball player, and on February 6, Way also had a music video for the song.[118][119][120] On February 10, Way released another mixtape titled Finesse EP.[121] On February 14, Way released a mixtape titled King Soulja 5, the fifth installment to his King Soulja mixtape/album series.[122][123] On March 15, through his independent label, Way released his fifth digital album, Stacks On Deck, featuring appearances from Agoff, King Reefa, Lil Yachty and Rich The Kid.[124][125][126][127] On May 12, Way released a single titled "Day One".[128] On June 9, through his label Stacks on Deck Entertainment, Way released his sixth digital album, Better Late Than Never, featuring appearances from Lil Twist and Lil Yachty.[129][130][131] On July 23, Way released a single titled "Rockstar".[132] On July 31, Way released the mixtape Rockstar, self-titled after his newly released single.[133][134][135] On August 23, Way released the sequel mixtape S. Beezy 2.[134][136][137] On September 14, Way released a single titled "Max Payne".[138] On September 24, Way released a single titled "Hit Them Folks".[139] On September 26, Way released a single titled "I'm Up Now" featuring Chief Keef.[140] On September 29, Way released the mixtape King Soulja 6, the sixth installment to his King Soulja mixtape/album series.[141][142][143] On October 25, 2016, Way and Bow Wow released a joint retail mixtape titled Ignorant Shit.[144][145][146]

2018–present: Breakfast Club interview, How Can You Blame Me?

Soulja Boy performing at a concert in January 2019.

Soulja Boy performing at a concert in January 2019.

In late 2018, way went on Instagram Live and responded to fan comments suggesting Tyga had the biggest comeback of any artist in 2018.

Way angrily claimed he had had the biggest comeback, with a snippet of the video going viral that same day.[147] Later in early 2019, Way made an appearance on the radio show The Breakfast Club, where he defended his statements. A snippet of Way responding to a question about fellow musician Drake became a viral meme following the interview.[148]

Way continued to release singles and two mix-tapes throughout 2019, releasing the first mix-tape, Fuego, on January 10,[149] and the second mix-tape, Tell Ya, on March 25.[150] Way announced on January 18, 2019 he was working on a new studio album titled How Can You Blame Me?,[151] with the album set to be released on July 28. The album was delayed for unknown reasons following Way's 2019 incarceration.[152]

Musical style

Rapping technique

Way is best known for his rudimentary and superficial lyrical verses, vacuous and insipid subject matter, convoluted rhyme schemes, vague song structure, and for embodying the quintessentially trivial snap and Southern hip hop music style. Way has also been well known for his rudimentary and repetitive hip hop production style, with catchy hooks nonetheless incorporated into his songs.[153][154]

Speaking on his rudimentary rapping technique and vacuous lyrical style, in a November 2010 interview with XXL Magazine, while Way was explaining how he has grown as an emcee he stated:

I can't keep playin' around, because if you keep playin' around, people are gonna think you're a joke...

At some point, you have to get serious.

But don't get it twisted, Soulja doesn't wanna be the next Lupe Fiasco. I don't want to be super-Lupe-Fiasco-lyrical and niggas don't know what the fuck I'm talking about," he added. "I want to be the best," he continued. "I want to be recognized in that category where I'm nominated for Best Rapper with Jay-Z and Kanye and Wayne. I wanna get a Grammy. I want Best Rap Album of the Year... I've made millions of dollars off of doing my style, but, hey, I can rap, too.

On December 5, 2010, Way clarified this statement that Lupe Fiasco was too "lyrical", explaining that he wanted to keep the rudimentary music style he developed and justified why he doesn't keep a lyrically-based flow and more substantially profound lyrical subject matter on every song.[155] According to Way:

[XXL Magazine] didn't [publish] my whole statement. And basically, the interviewer dude, he was asking me why do I make lyrical songs like 'Only God Knows,' 'Born'... 'The World So Cold,' and why do I make non-lyrical songs like 'Crank That' and 'Pretty Boy Swag'? And he was like, why don't I just be lyrical all the time? And I was telling him on [a] specific song, like 'Pretty Boy Swag,' I ain't wanna be all lyrical. I just wanted to be straight-up, and just be simple, [so] people can get what I'm saying 'cause it's a club song. But I wasn't saying as far as my whole music [output, with] all of my songs, that I don't wanna be rappin' like Lupe Fiasco.

Way further clarified there was no animosity between him and Fiasco and that the two had planned to record a song together.

Other ventures

Stacks on Deck Entertainment

Way founded his record label Stacks on Deck Entertainment (SODMG) in 2004, while Way was signed to Interscope and Collipark Music. Since founding the label he has signed various artists. On May 30, 2016, Way announced that all artists signed to SODMG had been dropped.[156][157] In 2019 Way re-signed Lil 100, and signed Atlanta artist 24hrs[158]

Current artists
ActYear signed
Soulja Boy (CEO/founder)[159]2004
Lil 100[159]2011
Former artists
John Boy[160]
Lil B
Riff Raff
Killa Cam
Killa J[159]
M2ThaK aka Big Keezy[159][161]
Tony The Deity[159]
Shawty Boy[159]
Spinning 9[159]
Bobby World[159]
DJ Wats[159][162]
Lil Justin[159]
Paul Allen[159]
Soulja Kid[159]
J. Takin[159]
Jay Lody[159]
King Eazy[159]
King Reefa[159]
Lil E[159]
Arab (Boss Money/SODMG)[159][163]
Calico Jonez (Swish Gang/SODMG)[159]
Dae Dot[159]
Pack Strong[159]
Album releases
  • 2007: Unsigned and Still Major: Da Album Before Da Album by Soulja Boy

  • 2007: Souljaboytellem.com by Soulja Boy

  • 2008: iSouljaBoyTellem by Soulja Boy

  • 2010: The DeAndre Way by Soulja Boy

  • 2013: All Black (EP) by Soulja Boy

  • 2014: Super Dope by Soulja Boy

  • 2014: King Soulja 3 by Soulja Boy

  • 2015: Loyalty by Soulja Boy

  • 2015: The Gold (EP) [164][165][166] by A.Goff

  • 2015: King Soulja 4 by Soulja Boy

  • 2016: Stacks On Deck by Soulja Boy

  • 2016: Better Late Than Never by Soulja Boy

  • 2016: Rich Soulja 4 Life by Soulja Boy

  • 2016: King Soulja 7 by Soulja Boy

  • 2017: Big Soulja by Soulja Boy

  • 2018: King Soulja 8 by Soulja Boy

  • 2018: Best to Ever Do It by Soulja Boy

  • 2018: Young Drako by Soulja Boy

  • 2018: King By Soulja Boy

  • 2019: Fuego By Soulja Boy

Record production

Way also produces records, including his own, primarily using the FL Studio digital audio workstation.[4] In 2009, Way produced V.I.C.'s single "Get Silly" which went certified gold and Bow Wow's single "Marco Polo". Way's beats often contain the beginning lines "Soulja Boy Tell 'em" but as of late Way has produced beats without these lines. In 2009, it was reported that Way would be producing for Kanye West's fourth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Kanye would be producing for Way's third studio album, The DeAndre Way, but for unknown reasons neither of them used each other's beat.[167] On May 13, 2011, Way said he had produced and submitted beats for 50 Cent's fifth studio album, Street King Immortal.[168] In 2013, Way also produced on the track "Wowzers" of Lil Wayne's album, I Am Not a Human Being II. On May 6, 2014, during an interview, Way announced that he was producing for Diddy's upcoming album M.M.M. and also for Lil Wayne's upcoming album Tha Carter V.[169][170] Soulja Boy also produced the song "Yasss Bish", on Nicki Minaj's album, The Pinkprint.[87] In April 2016, Soulja Boy received a writing credit on Beyoncé's visual album, Lemonade.[172]

Fashion designing

On March 5, 2008, Way released his official line of "S.O.D

clothing".[173] That same year Way released his own brand of the popular shoe line "Yums".[174] On February 14, 2012, Way and fashion designer D. Young created the official clothing line "Ocean Gang".[175][176][177] In 2012, Way released another line he created, "BLVD. Supply"; the store is located in Los Angeles, California.

Acting career

On January 7, 2009, Soulja Boy announced that he was to be releasing his own cartoon titled Soulja Boy: The Animated Series but only one episode was ever released.[178][179]

In August 2010, Soulja Boy announced a desire to make a film about himself, having reported to MTV News that he discussed the idea with Nick Cannon.[180] He was later approached by Peter Spirer who presented his own concept for making a documentary about the artist.[181] Directed by Spirer, Soulja Boy: The Movie was released direct-to-video on October 18, 2011, a date which coincided with Soulja Boy's arrest on a drug charge.[181][182][183] The film contains live performances from his DeAndre Way Tour and interviews with Soulja Boy's father as well as current and former members of Stacks on Deck Entertainment.[181] The documentary's visual quality was panned by DVD Verdict as a result of poor video transfer, since much of its music detail was taken from YouTube clips.[184]

On April 22, 2011, Way announced that he would be making his acting debut playing the main role of Bishop in the Juice remake and that it would air on BET.[185]

In 2013, Way announced and confirmed that he was guest-starring in the upcoming movie Officer Down.[186]

World Poker Fund Holdings

In May 2016, Soulja Boy signed a deal from World Poker Fund Holdings for five years.[187] World Poker Fund is a builder and operator of online and event-based social gaming platforms and imprints.[187] Soulja said of the deal: "I enjoy music, and of course gaming. Being an influencer is a form of currency."[187] Way initially tweeted that the deal was for $400 million; however, that is the cap for the contract and not his payment from the company.[187]


In December 2018, Soulja Boy released a video game console, called the SouljaGame.[188] It drew criticism for being an "overpriced" emulator of Nintendo and Sega handheld games.[189][190] On December 15, 2018, he announced the release of two more consoles: the Retro SouljaBoy Mini, which resembles a Nintendo Game Boy, and the SouljaGame Fuze, which looks similar to Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.[191] As of December 30, 2018, Soulja Boy has pulled the SouljaGame consoles off his store amid threats of a lawsuit from Nintendo.[192] The SouljaGame website was seized by Nintendo and now leads to Nintendo's website. On January 12, Soulja Boy released another handheld on his SouljaWatch website called the SouljaGame Handheld; this console looks similar in appearance to Sony's PlayStation Vita.[193]

Personal life


On the night of March 22, 2011, Way's younger brother, Deion Jenkins, was killed in a car crash.[194]


On December 30, 2008, Way was robbed and battered in his home. Initial reports indicated that the robbers were six masked men with AK-47s and pistols but on December 31, 2008, videos surfaced on the Internet of two masked men claiming sole credit for the crime.[195]

Way described the incident to MTV News a month later: He had come home very late at night after attending an album release party and was recording songs with friends when the robbers came in pointing their guns.[196] On January 26, 2009, during another interview, Way clarified that it was three robbers, not six, stating: "I got back to my house at around 3 in the morning and I was in the studio recording. So two of my homeboys was in the living room and me and Arab we was in the studio recording. And somebody kicked in the door. One dude ran in put the AK to my homeboy head, put him on the floor [...] The other two ran in my homeboy jumped in the other room, so the other two dudes ran back so I peeped in the door and they running through my house with Ks and pistols so I ducked back. I really can't dwell on what happened after that, but it was a messed up situation and I'm glad everyone made it out alive."[197]

On December 9, 2007, Way was sued by William Lyons (a.k.a. Souljah Boy of Mo Thugs Family) who created the stage name Souljah Boy in 1996.[198] On October 7, 2009, Way was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, on one count of obstruction, a misdemeanor, for running from police when he'd been ordered to stop while filming a video in an abandoned house. The rapper was released on a $550 bond.[199]

In May 2011, Way and his labels were sued by a local Pennsylvania promoter for failing to make promised payments in connection with a rescheduled concert.[200] On October 18, 2011, Way was traveling west on I-20 in Carroll County, Georgia, with four other men when their vehicle was pulled over for a vehicle equipment violation. The police officer who made the stop searched the vehicle and found more than five ounces (140 g) of marijuana. Way was arrested and released on bond the same day.[201]

On January 22, 2014, Way was a passenger in his vehicle when the driver ran a stop sign in the San Fernando Valley, California, and police discovered a loaded handgun in the car. Way was arrested immediately and taken to jail.[202] However, his manager claimed that a neighbor had left the gun under the seat; meanwhile Way was left unaware that it was there. Way admitted to owning only the vehicle, not the weapon.[203] He was convicted and sentenced to two years probation.[204] On February 15, 2014, Way announced via Twitter that he was going to jail in five days. He did not confirm the reason as to why, although it could possibly stem from the January 2014 arrest. Way ultimately never appeared to turn himself in to authorities and the details of his charges are unknown.[205]

In October 2016, Way was sued by a musician called Skrill Dilly about allegedly uttering death threats to him in a video filmed by the rapper.[206] The same year, he received additional probation time after weapons were found inside his home by police.[204][207] On March 15, 2019, Way was arrested for violating his probation, and on April 30, Way was sentenced to 8 months in prison, with credit for time served.[152][204][207]

Public image and social media

Way is known for having the first single to sell over three million digital copies, due to the success of his commercially successful debut single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)".[208]

Way has garnered popularity through the use of social media. Since 2006, Way's official YouTube channel has accumulated well over a billion views and more than two million subscribers.[209] Way is also known for revolutionizing the way musical artists and labels promote and brand their music through the use of social media, due to his digital marketing in the beginning of his career.[210][211]


Way's music has been banned from some school dances for alleged sexual or violent content and/or innuendos.

In the original YouTube video for "Shootout", Way demonstrates his dance while holding a handgun in each hand and pretending to shoot into the audience.[212]


In June 2008, on DJ Cisco's Urban Legend mixtape, Ice-T told Way to "eat a dick" and criticized Way for "killing hip-hop" and his song "Crank That" for being "garbage" compared to the works of other hip-hop artists such as Rakim, Das EFX, Big Daddy Kane and Ice Cube.[213] The two then traded videos back and forth over the Internet.[214] Rapper Kanye West defended Way by arguing that the younger artist created a new, original work for hip-hop, thus keeping the authentic meaning of the music.[215] The feud was parodied in a 2010 episode of The Boondocks

In May 2011, Way's feud with Ice-T somewhat reignited, regarding the film Juice. Way stated he would release a movie of his own to go along with his mixtape of the same name, following a statement during Ice-T's interview with Shade 45 in late April 2011. Ice-T stated that Way's role as Bishop, which was famously originated by rapper Tupac Shakur, was not an issue. But Ice-T found it problematic that the film was being remade, saying "What? But that's Pac... At some point, somebody gotta stop it. I came out. I made some statements. Man, I don't know. Do you, dude, do you. If the masses accept it, it shows you the state we're in... Come on man, you think I'd try to remake Pac's movie? Good luck though, I'm not a hater... eh." Way himself barraged Ice-T with retaliatory tweets on the same day, saying someone should "get this guy a hairline." [216][217]

Charles Hamilton

On December 9, 2008, Charles Hamilton said in an interview that Way was making it more difficult for new artists to be signed.[218] Way responded by saying "X out the Sonic and fuck with Mario, you might want to got damn eat a mushroom" (Charles Hamilton is known to be a big fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, dedicating a whole mixtape depicting him as the titular character).[219][220] Charles Hamilton responded with a diss song "I'm You Last Year With Talent"[221] followed-up with another diss song called "Word Aight".[222]

Bow Wow

On February 2, 2009, Way challenged Bow Wow to a race in their Lamborghinis and claimed Bow Wow's Lamborghini was a rental.[223] On February 4, Bow Wow proved that he owned his Lamborghini and said "its halloween in Bankhead for you everyday nigga... you scared... you all nervous and shit". Way responded on Twitter by saying "HE FUCKED UP!!!! IM BOUT TO SHITTTT ON THIS NIGGA!! LOL!!!!!"[224] On February 7, both artists sent diss songs to each other, such as Way's "Fuck Bow Wow" and Bow Wow's "What I Think About You".[225] Later that day during a phone conversation both rappers settled their differences.[226] In 2016, they released a joint mixtape titled Ignorant Shit.[227]

U.S. Armed Forces

In September 2011, Way released the song "Let's Be Real".

One of the lines of the song is: "Fuck the FBI and fuck all the army troops / Fighting for what? Bitch, be your own man / I'll be flying through the clouds with green like I'm Peter Pan." [228] After the song was released, Way was criticized by military members and their families, especially in regard to the timing in relation to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.[229][230][231] Way apologized, "When I expressed my frustration with the U.S. Army, not only did my words come out wrong, I was wrong to even speak them." He added, "So, I write this to give my sincerest apology to all members of the United States military services, as well as their families that were offended by my most recent lyrics."[228] Representatives for Way indicated that the song had been pulled from his upcoming album, Promise, and would not be available for sale. They were also attempting to remove the video from the internet.[232]

On September 6, 2011, TMZ reported that Way's album would not be sold at the 3,100 Army and Air Force base exchanges if it included the song "Let's Be Real".[233]


On August 25, 2012, Way made controversial comments towards fellow rapper Hopsin on one of his webcam chats with his fans, when Way stated "fuck Hopsin, I'm about to go in the studio and record this Hopsin diss real quick". Way continued on by stating the words "that nigga's a bitch, fuck that bitch-ass nigga".[234] The situation was caused by Hopsin's controversial song "Sag My Pants" which was a direct diss towards Way with the lines "Soulja Boy you got a corny flow, So you can suck my fucking dick through a glory hole" though Way previously didn't focus on the diss.[235] On August 28, 2012, on Way's Tinychat, Hopsin and Way confronted each other: though Hopsin admitted he liked Way, nothing was really resolved.[236] On September 3, 2012, Way released a Hopsin diss titled "That Nigga Not Me". Hopsin stated the song was horrible but has not responded with a diss track of his own yet.[237][238]

Chief Keef and Ballout

On April 19, 2013, Way sent a number of death threats to Chicago rapper Chief Keef via Facebook. The threats were likely provoked by an earlier incident, where Keef's affiliate Ballout stole Way's chain and bragged about it on Twitter. Way posted both Keef's cellphone numbers, urging people to notify him he's coming for him with a gun. He continued posting, stating he's in Keef's hometown of Chicago and asking Keef and Ballout to come to him. Chief Keef responded that he is currently in London but would talk to Way on his new number. Later the same day, Way issued a statement that his Facebook, Instagram and email were hacked and none of the earlier messages were written by him.[239][240] On June 1, 2014, Way revealed on his Instagram that he and fellow artist Chief Keef had resolved their differences. Little is known as to whether Way has settled his differences with Ballout.[241]

Chris Brown

On January 3, 2017, Way was entangled in a debacle with singer Chris Brown. The feud eventually started after Way intimidated Brown's former girlfriend, model Karrueche Tran, when Way liked a photo that involved the model, herself.[242] The two began to exchange Instagram videos towards each other in a matter of minutes, for example: Chris Brown accusing Way of "snitching" or Way poking fun of Brown's daughter and his infamous incident with singer Rihanna in 2009.[243] The next day, Way apologized to Brown and fans about the event and wished to collaborate with Brown.[244][245]


In early 2019, Soulja Boy drew attention for claiming he had the biggest comeback of 2018 over fellow rapper Tyga, which started a series of exchanges between the two.[246] The fued eventually resulted in the two trading diss tracks back and forth over the instrumental from Blueface's song, Thotiana.[247]

Jake Paul

Later in the same year, YouTube celebrity Jake Paul published a tweet directed at Way, saying "i wanna box @souljaboy",[248] to which Way responded "boy I'll knock you out".[249] The feud was started by Paul in reference to his participation as an undercard in the Logan Paul vs. KSI boxing fight. The two eventually confronted each other in person when Paul drove to Way's house to confirm they would be participating in an official boxing match, which Paul had stated he would put twenty million dollars on.[250] In September 2019, following Way's early release from jail, his manager confirmed the boxing match would still occur.[251] Paul posted a video on YouTube the same day indicating his own status in the rematch between Logan Paul and KSI was undecided, leaving the official status of the fight between him and Way in question.[252]


Studio albums
  • Souljaboytellem.com

  • iSouljaBoyTellem

  • The DeAndre Way

  • Loyalty

  • How Can You Blame Me? (2019)[253]


  • America's Most Wanted (2009)


2007YouTube LiveHimselfSmall Role
2008What's at Stake?HimselfSmall Role
2009School GyrlsHimselfCameo
2010Malice N WonderlandSouljaSmall Role
2011Soulja Boy: The MovieHimselfDocumentary on his life
2013Officer DownRudySupporting Role
2007The Ellen DeGeneres ShowHimself
Last Call with Carson DalyHimself
2008Live with RegisHimselfMinor appearance
Access GrantedHimselfFor his music video for "Bird Walk"
My Super Sweet 16Himself
2010When I Was 17Himself
The Mo'Nique ShowHimself
Late Night with Jimmy FallonHimself
Lopez TonightHimself
The Tonight Show with Jay LenoHimself
2012The DUB Magazine ProjectHimself
2013The Bachelorette (season 9)Himself
2014–2016Love & Hip Hop: HollywoodHimselfMain Role (seasons 1–2) Main/Guest Role (season 3)

Awards and nominations

  • BET Awards 2007: Best New Artist (Nominated) 2008: Viewer's Choice Award: "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (Nominated) 2009: Viewer's Choice Award: "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" (Nominated)

  • BET Hip-Hop Awards 2007: Best Hip-Hop Dance (Won)

  • BET Social Awards 2019: Social Verified Award (Won) [254]

  • Grammy Awards 2008: Best Rap Song: "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (Nominated)

  • Ozone Awards 2007: Patiently Waiting: Mississippi (Won) 2008: Best Breakthrough Artist (Nominated) 2008: TJ's DJ's Tastemaker Award (Nominated)

  • Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2007: Favorite Male Singer (Nominated)

  • Teen Choice Awards 2009: Choice Music: Rap Artist (Nominated) 2009: Choice Music: R&B Track for "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" (Nominated) 2009: Choice Music: Hook Up for "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" (Nominated) 2009: Choice Music: Artist (Nominated)

See also

  • List of artists who reached number one in the United States


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