Soulja Boy Tell 'Em

Latest Release

Artist Playlists

More To Hear

About Soulja Boy Tell 'Em

Few songs have had the immediate impact on a genre as “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” the debut single from Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em (born DeAndre Way in July 1990 and raised in Atlanta and Mississippi). With its hyper-minimal production—a steel-drum sample, finger snaps, a bit of bass, a drum—and shouted refrain, the song was simple and unforgettable. Emerging from snap, the slow and trebly rap form that sounded at home pumping out of a flip-phone’s insect-sized speaker, the self-produced 2007 track jumped far beyond the ringtone chart and topped the Hot 100 for seven weeks. What makes it an important moment in hip-hop was the triple-platinum song’s virality: Thanks to its music video and easy-to-mimic dance that became a teen craze, it set the template for countless rap hits to come. On this foundation, along with a preternatural understanding of the internet and emerging social media, Soulja Boy built an empire, producing tracks for others and veering into video games and fashion. A few hits on major labels followed—the R&B turn "Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” the hypnotic “Pretty Boy Swag”—but he returned to releasing music independently for his devoted following. Buried in his dozens of mixtapes are oddball pop turns (“Zan With That Lean”), disorienting vocal experiments (“Cotton Candy”), and collaborations with artists who followed in his wake, like “I’m Up Now” with Chief Keef. But it all comes back to “Crank That”: By turning his originality into a phenomenon, Soula Boy Tell ‘Em’s lasting impact on hip-hop is truly a testament to what can happen when you seize your moment.

Chicago, IL, United States
July 28, 1990
Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada