If you haven’t heard the infectious smash hit 'Crank That (Soulja Boy)' by now, you may have at least seen the ‘Crank That’ dance craze which has swept the US. Everyone from Beyonce, Chilli, TI, Premiership footballers, even Sponge Bob Square Pants is cranking! The irrepressible track and dance has spawned countless remixes and spin offs, and impressively, a staggering 16 million people have logged on to ‘How to Crank That- Instrumental Video’ on YouTube.
The man behind the mayhem is 17-year-old Soulja Boy (born DeAndre Way). Born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in the South, Soulja Boy has managed to out-strip even the sparsest beat produced by The Neptunes. The simplistic synths and bare beats are by no means a new concept in Hip Hop; however it’s the catchy repetitive hook, the infectious adlibs (YOU!) and the simple (bordering on moronic) word play, which make his music oh so appealing. Not content on having us all dancing like crazed lunatics and doing Superman impressions in the club, Soulja Boy has just released his debut album – so be prepared to crank!
Soulja Boy is not exactly a lyrical giant, however his uncomplicated lyrics and irresistible adlibs are hard to deny in the lead single ‘Crank That’. On ‘Snap And Roll’, Soulja Boy attempts to diversify his sound with this rockier sounding track, featuring an excellent electric guitar riff and a superb beat. ‘Let Me Get ‘Em’, comes with a warning due to the gun shot sounds that feature throughout the hook. However Soulja Boy isn’t telling you to go out with your Gat – he’s simply referring to the dance and therein lies the appeal of Soulja Boy’s music- the simplicity. ‘Soulja Girl’ featuring I-15 is a nice departure from the up-tempo album and serves to fill the ‘ladies track’ quota, which appears to be mandatory for every male rapper.
Bare in mind his age and the fact that he produced some of the beats including ‘Crank That’ himself; Soulja Boy has created a phenomenon armed with just a synthesizer and a computer and for that he deserves props. However be warned! If you are looking for Hip Hop of the conscious / street brand a’la Klashnekoff, Nas, Mos Def and Jay-Z – you have no business purchasing this album. However if like me, you have resolved to take it for what it is, and that is: fun, well crafted music – albeit the lyrics lack imagination, and in some places on the album are appalling bad, but in short it does exactly what it says on the tin – crank that! Nothing more and nothing less. After all, he told you to crank that, not write a bloody thesis on it.
Watch premiership footballers Nigel Reo Coker and Anton Ferdinard Crank that:
Crank That (Soulja Boy) is out December 17th.
The debut album Souljaboytellem.com is out now on Interscope Records.
By: Michelle Adabra