Soulja Boy cranks out new uncharacteristic album

Ali Breland

The dissonant and awkward style characteristic of Soulja Boy has been met by extremely harsh criticism in hip-hop since the rapper’s breakout hit “Crank Dat.” Album after album, and song after song, Soulja Boy is constantly labeled as a passing phase, a mere fad, an of-the-moment artist.

“Soulja is the only person I follow on Twitter. All the time, people say, ‘Why do you follow the worst rapper in the world?’ Daily, I hear that,” said Girl Talk, in an interview with Complex Magazine. Nonetheless, Soulja Boy continues to crank out hit after hit cementing his reputation each time. Despite what the detractors say, this is with good reason. Soulja Boy has been putting out music that sounds like a little of everything and like absolutely nothing being created in contemporary hip-hop. He is original and his ability to create catchy beats with stellar hooks is unparalleled, and the prolific level he creates music on is rivaled only by Bay Area phenom, Lil B.

Soulja’s latest mixtape Supreme, after the high-end urban street wear skate brand, is 24 cuts deep and is unquestionably one of the best releases in Soulja Boy’s massive catalog. It is certainly among his most coherent. Throughout a large portion of the mixtape, Soulja Boy employs a minimalist beat style, producing and picking compelling beats that aren’t saturated with excessive amounts of synth, lasers and the slew of other weird noises that are prevalent in modern hip-hop.

On certain tracks like “Go In,” he plays around with slightly more complex beats, matching them with more technical rapping. Soulja Boy can actually rap pretty well, even if he doesn’t usually. “No More Holding On” is another example of this, featuring Soulja Boy spitting over an old school hip-hop beat. In hip-hop terms, the track is hype. In layman’s terms, this track is good enough to win over the haters who will probably never hear the song.

Technical aspects aside, Soulja Boy does some other interesting things on Supreme, namely his songs about video games. Outside of hustling and being a rapper, Soulja Boy has the interests of a Japanese schoolboy — he’s an avid video gamer and has an affinity for anime. On Supreme, he makes this very apparent: The hook for his song “Playstation 3,” is literally just him saying “Playstation 3” over and over in his signature Soulja Boy voice. It’s actually pretty cool. All the video game songs include chip-tune infused beats, reminiscent of simplistic 1980s arcade soundtracks.

On Supreme, although he maintains a demeanor of childish absurdity like in mixtapes past, Soulja Boy shows a lot more of his chilled out, more mature side, and it sounds good. Just like his last eight mixtapes, Supreme makes it clear that Soulja Boy is here to stay despite doubts cast by skeptics.

Printed September 22, 2011 as: Criticism fails to hold down popular artist Soulja Boy