The internet is an ever changing place with a culture that is really hard to define. Methods of communication come and go, platforms are always shifting, and keeping track of the humor of the online community is almost impossible. From Twitter to Reddit and everything in between, the internet is full of communities that use humor to communicate a point, to cope, or just to poke fun at other people. Regardless of its original intent, internet humor changes very rapidly. However, one thing that has stayed consistent is the internet’s inherent love of memes.
One meme in particular that originated from the hip hop community is the internet’s love of Soulja Boy. Today, we are going to take a deep dive into the history behind the internet’s love of meming Soulja Boy, where it started, and how it has evolved over the years.
Who is Soulja Boy Anyway?
Born DeAndre Cortez Way in July of 1990, Soulja Boy is an American rapper, producer, and musician. His debut single was released in September of 2007 and was titled “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list. He originally was a self-published artist and was not signed by any record labels for a long time. He has several other hits and has released several albums over the past few years.
For example, in 2011 he released a series of mixtapes including Smooky, Juice, Bernaurd Arnault EP (Limited Edition), and Supreme, which were all released to varying levels of recognition. A continued level of rapid releases happened for for the better part of the next three years, and he also worked on several studio albums in the decade. He has five separate studio albums and is currently working on a sixth, titled How Can You Blame Me? which does not currently have a scheduled release. He has released a total of sixty two mixtapes, which means his total discography is quite extensive.
His musical fame has reached a lot of different levels. For example, his first single, Crank That, reached number one several times and is certified RIAA 3x Platinum. In terms of awards and nominations, he has been nominated for several, including three BET Awards, one Grammy nomination, and five Teen Choice Awards. He also won the 2007 BET Hip Hop Award for Best Hip-Hop dance on Crank That.
DeAndre Cortez Way has also had his share of time in the spotlight for non-musical achievements. For example, he has spent time in jail and this has had an impact on his fame. He was convicted in 2014 for carrying a loaded firearm in public and was sentenced to 24 months of probation. He was arrested in late 2016 on a probation violation after police allegedly found a firearm in his home. The next month, he was officially charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from that arrest. In March of 2017, he was convicted of one of the felony charges and was given five years of probation. However, in Spring of 2019, he was sentenced to 240 days in jail and was released early due to a combination of good behavior, time served, and overcrowding. While he was behind bars, his home was apparently broken into, which further complicated his situation. In April of 2019, thieves broke in and made off with over $500,000 in cash and jewelry in addition to his smartphone, according to Jesse Childs here on RapTV. The breakin was reported by a caretaker for the house.
All of these legal troubles have had an impact on his fame and actually do play into why he is so well known in the meme community online.
Soulja Boy: A Meme is Born
Soulja Boy’s notoriety within the meme community stems from a January 2019 radio interview on the Breakfast Club. During the interview, he was asked a question about fellow rap artists Meek Mill and Drake. Soulja Boy, in comparing himself to his fellow artists, believes that his comeback is the greatest of all time, and was astounded that people thought that his comeback was not as good as Drake’s. He got up from the microphone and yelled, “Draaaaake?!?” in a somewhat dramatic voice and then launched into his explanation for why he believed he was more successful than the Toronto rapper.
This spawned a wave of memes across the internet based on his phrasing of his disbelief. For example, an image of his face would have a caption like “My Job: Could you stay later tonight? We are understaffed. Me: Staaaaay?!?” This meme gained popularity almost overnight and was completely based off of the interview.
The meme got so popular that it was even parodied on an episode of Saturday Night Live and got several hundred thousand views within the first week.
Other Related Memes
Something that contributed to his memed status as well was a December 2018 post on Twitter where he claimed to be selling a video game console called the SouljaGame console. However, people quickly realized that the SouljaGame was just an emulator with a few thousand titles and were identical to emulators already sold by a company called ANBERNIC that he had just slapped a name and logo onto. He also dramatically increased the price of the consoles as well as an attempt to scam people.
Less than two weeks later, he also announced two other consoles called the SouljaGame Fuze and Mini; the Mini was another re-branded console by ANBERNIC, but the Fuze seemed to just be completely fake. It was rumored that even Nintendo considered threatening legal action against Soulja Boy, but this remains unproven. This apparent lack of planning and direct scam added to his meme status and just made it that much easier for people to give him a hard time or make fun of him.
Even Youtuber JonTron made a video chronicling the entire scandal and making fun of it on a large scale. This brought the consoles back into the spotlight all over again.
The internet has proven time and time again that it will truly make fun of anything and that it is very easy to base humor on any circumstance. Soulja Boy’s reaction to being asked if Drake was more successful sparked a new wave of memes that just capitalized on a very funny situation, and that is honestly something that the internet does best. And while Soulja Boy does have a history of saying some fairly outrageous things, it is good to see that he believes in himself and is willing to defend his reputation when asked about it in the public sphere.
Overall, the memes are truly funny and are very easy to apply to almost any situation, which is one of the reasons they are just so popular across the board. Almost anyone can understand the humor, and everyone has moments of being incredulous from time to time, so they are very relatable.