SOULJA BOY: The Full Oct/Nov Cover Story [Pg 2]
Midas touch aside, S. Beezy wants to compete with rap’s elite. So for the first time he finds himself creating an album with lyrical aspirations. As a pre- lude to his third major release, The DeAndre Way, due in November, he’s showcasing his improved pen via a steady stream of mixtape material. Sir Swagger even humbled himself and sent Kanye West a rough version of “Speakers Going Hammer” for approval. Back when Soulja was taking a critical beatdown, West took to his blog to endorse the young spitter. “Soulja Boy is fresh as hell, and is actually the true meaning of what hip-hop is supposed to be,” West wrote on kanyeuniversity.com back in 2008. “He came from the ’hood, made his own beats, made up a new saying, new sound and a new dance with one song. He had all of America rapping this summer. If that ain’t hip-hop then what is?”
“A lot of people rate [Kanye] as a top lyricist. And that’s where I’m catching flack,” says Soulja, who appreciated Yeezy coming to his defense during Ice-T’s attacks. “He didn’t have to do that, but him [cosigning me] might get some of these niggas off my ass. Hopefully if I can put out quality music like a Kanye I’ll get that respect that I feel I deserve.”
Nevertheless, The DeAndre Way’s first official single, “Pretty Boy Swag,” shows no aspirations whatsoever of competing with a Yeezy verse. As elementary as it is subjective, the sparse track’s sole purpose is to illuminate young pimpin’s fame and fortune. Yet the die-hard Soulja Boys and Girls are eating it up. At press time “Pretty Boy Swag” is No. 49 on Billboard’s 100 and No. 4 at urban radio. But it’s safe to say the song will do nothing to silence any haters.
Why the fascination with Soulja Boy opinion polls? They exist in extremes. He’s either adored (Preteen boys rocking S.B. shades and little girls sporting S.B. tattoos) or loathed. A brief Google search reveals that Soulja Boy’s critics are just as passionate as his fans. “Niggas will cut your balls off and hand ’em to ya lil’ young ass,” said Bay Area rap- per Spice 1 in ’08. Such abhorrence might make any entertainer cautious in public. Not Soulja Boy.
“Since I’ve been famous I haven’t been in any fights; I haven’t been punched; not even talked shit to,” he says. “Just one shoot-out.” Whoa.
The shoot-out that Dre references has until now been documented only as a 2008 robbery, during which unknown thugs entered Way’s home with guns. Despite past confirmation—as when he re- counted the home invasion on Big Boy Radio in January 2009—Soulja now says there was no actual rob- bery. His account of the incident now goes like this:
It’s hours after the Atlanta album release party for Soulja Boy’s second album, isouljaboytellem. S.B. and his crew are back at his South Georgia mansion. According to Soulja, he and a friend are in the studio recording, when suddenly they hear one of the man- sion doors get kicked in. Immediately thereafter he hears his boy yell, “Who in this house?” The friend tackles one of the intruders, but a few more run in behind him. His boy tosses Soulja a pistol. Soulja says he cracks open the studio door and sees one robber carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, a second in- truder heading upstairs and a third running to the right of the rapper’s view. He contemplates shoot- ing the AK-47 operator: “I’m thinking if I shoot this nigga I can get that gun and shoot all these niggas at the same time,” says Soulja. “So I jumped out, shot at the dude four times and missed. He ducked down and ran.”
Soulja then hears a repeated “boom” rising closer and louder. He figures another robber must have broken in through one of his basement windows. He shuts the studio door and waits for whomever it is to reach the top step. Once the invader emerg- es, Soulja says he jumps out and shoots him. “He started yelling, so I [shot him] like two more times, he recalls. “Then he turned around and started run- ning. So I popped his ass like two more times in the back, and he hit the floor.”
Nervous now, S.B. and his boys run back into the studio and shut off all the lights. That’s until a member of Soulja’s crew busts in the studio scream- ing that another friend has been kidnapped. A man- sion-wide search ensues, until the frantic victim runs back into the house claiming the robbers tried to kidnap him, and insisting that they all leave the house immediately. They all jump in their cars, and only return when the intruders have fled without tak- ing any goods.
At least, that’s how Soulja Boy tells it. “I didn’t really want nobody to know that I shot somebody,” he says, appearing relieved to finally get his ac- count out. “My label [didn’t] want that out there [be- cause] when the robbery went down I had fans like 9, 10 [years old]. But being that I’m 20, I don’t give a fuck no more. Ain’t nobody take shit [from me that night].”
BESIDES MEGAWATT YOUNGSTERS like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, there are few under-21 entertain- ers more consumed by their celebrity than Soulja Boy. And as a Black hip-hop artist, he faces chal- lenges unbeknownst to Miley and Justin. Having ex- ited his wonder years under the spotlight, he knows there’s a bull’s-eye on his chest. And it’s only grow- ing. He’s learning that everybody’s gunning for him— whether hip-hop purists or stick-up kids.
His most recent lesson in fame 2.0 came at the tail of last July, when hip-hop’s proud groupie of the minute Kat Stacks posted a two-cut video on the Net of her hanging out with Soulja in a hotel room. S.B. is recognizable in one part, but absent in the more controversial section of the clip, where Stacks calls him “a motherfuckin’ cokehead” and shows three lines of a white substance in an empty hotel room as evidence.
“When I first got the phone call, I didn’t wanna see it... So I called him up to discuss it,” says Soulja Boy’s father, Tracy Jenkins, 38, via cell phone. “You’re always concerned, because in this type of business people get addicted on drugs [easily]. I didn’t want that for any of my kids.”
Once again DeAndre Way found himself refut- ing drug use to his father.
“I get tired of it ’cause I know 100 percent it ain’t true,” says S.B. back at Doppler. “But outside of my mom and my dad it’s nobody’s business.”