DeAndre Cortez Way (born July 28, 1990), better known by his stage name Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur.
In September 2007, his single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was initially self-published on the internet, and it later became a number-one hit in the United States for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in September 2007. On August 17 Way was listed at #18 on the Forbes list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings of 2010 earning $7 million for that year.
Way has currently released three studio albums and one independent album: his debut studio album Souljaboytellem.com (2007) was certified platinum by the RIAA. However, his next two albums, iSouljaBoyTellem (2008) and The DeAndre Way (2010) did not match the commercial success of his debut, the latter only selling 100,000 copies, despite the success of several singles across both albums, such as "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" and "Turn My Swag On" (iSouljaBoyTellem) and "Pretty Boy Swag" (The DeAndre Way), This was mainly due to negotiation problems with Interscope records which meant a limited amount of records were made available to the public.
On October 18, 2011, Soulja Boy released his documentary biography film, Soulja Boy: The Movie.
As of 2011, Way has confirmed he is working on his fourth studio album, entitled Promise, which will be released in July 2012.
At age 14, he moved to Batesville, Mississippi, with his father, who provided a recording studio for Way to explore his musical ambitions. In November 2005, Way posted his songs on the website SoundClick. Following positive reviews on the site, he then established his own web pages on YouTube and MySpace. In March 2007, he recorded "Crank That" and released his first independent album Unsigned & Still Major: Da Album Before da Album, followed by a low-budget video filmed demonstrating the "Crank That" dance. By the end of May 2007, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" received its first airplay and Way met with Mr. Collipark to sign a deal with Interscope Records.
On August 12, 2007, the song appeared on the Emmy-award winning HBO series Entourage, and by September 1, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot RingMasters charts. Way's major label debut album Souljaboytellem.com, which was reportedly recorded using just the demo version of FL Studio, was released in the United States on October 2, peaking at #4 on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
For the 50th Grammy Awards, Way was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song with "Crank That (Soulja Boy)". He lost to Kanye West's and T-Pain's "Good Life".
Souljaboytellem.com received a favorable review from Allmusic, but received mainly negative reviews from other sources such as Entertainment Weekly. Several reviewers credited Soulja Boy with spearheading a new trend in hip-hop, while speculating he will likely be a one-hit wonder.
The follow-up to souljaboytellem.com, iSouljaBoyTellem, was released on December 16, 2008, to negative critical reception. The first single from the album, "Bird Walk", peaked at #40 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the top 20 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart it was performed on the first YouTube Live on November 22, 2008, with an introduction from MC Hammer. "Kiss Me Thru the Phone", with Sammie, followed, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks charts. Chris Brown was originally Way's first choice to sing the hook, but respectfully turned down the offer. Way then tried to do it on his own with Auto-Tune but he found it unacceptable. It sold over 2,000,000 digital copies in the United States, becoming his second song to reach the two million mark in downloads.
On January 26, 2009 Way released his third single "Turn My Swag On". it topped the US Rap Charts and peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has so far sold more than 1,000,000 digital downloads in the United States. It became Soulja Boy's third song to sell 1 million or more downloads.
2009-2010: The DeAndre Way
The DeAndre Way is Way's third studio album, Way has stated that the album is intended to be his most personal and successful album thus far. When speaking on possible collaborations, he stated he wished to work with artists such as Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West, Eminem, among others. The lead single from the album, "POW", was released in January 2009 but failed to garner success and was dubbed a promo single. On October 30, 2009 Way released three mixtapes Paranormal Activity, Dat Piff & Cortez. Then it was announced on February 18, 2010 that the first single from the album was gone be "All Black Everything" but it was cancelled & was just put on his promotional mixtape Legendary. The album was titled "The DeAndre Way" but was changed in early 2010 to Dre with a commercial video snippet for "Do It Big" as the first single but it was cancelled as well. However it was reverted back to The DeAndre Way in July 2010.
But on June 8, 2010, the official lead single from the album was "Pretty Boy Swag". The single has reached #34 on the Billboard Hot 100, number six on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number five on the Billboard Rap Songs chart. The album's second single was due to be "Digital" but it was just used on his promotional mixtape Best Rapper. Then it was announced that "Speakers Going Hammer" was gone be the second single, but "Blowing Me Kisses" was released on August 31, 2010 as the second single instead. On October 13 Soulja Boy performed "Pretty Boy Swag" & a snippet of his third single "Speakers Going Hammer". On October 19, 2010 Way finally released "Speakers Going Hammer" on iTunes the single peaked at #48 on the Hot R&B & Hip Hop tracks Billboard. The DeAndre Way was released on November 30, 2010 it has so far has only sold 70,000 copies making this Way's lowest selling album. Soulja Boy was to be part of the Summerbeatz tour held in Australia alongside Flo Rida, Jay Sean and Travie McCoy in November 2010, but in lieu of his current album release date Soulja Boy had declined the offer & just embarked on his Who They Want tour.
2011-present: Mixtapes and Promise
On January 22, Way released his first mixtape of 2011 Smooky which cover featured a cartoon version of Way on a bicycle doing a 360. Then On March 17, 2011 Way released the mixtape 1up which cover was based on the Naruto anime Way stated "If I was in a video game, this mixtape would advance me to the next level with an extra life. Power up with the new offering". On April 20, 2011 Way released his mixtape Juice which cover was based on the Juice the movie Way stated he would also released a mini movie of his own to go along with the mixtape Way stated that he was headed to greatness with the mixtape. In September 2011, Way confirmed he is working on a new album, called Promise, which will be released in October. Way also released the cover & title of his second independent album via Twitter, entitled "Skate Boy", which he said would be available in stores November 1, also via twitter.
Stacks on Deck Entertainment
Way founded his record label Stacks on Deck Entertainment in 2004. While Way was signed under Interscope and Collipark Music, he claimed that his label had distribution deals with Universal Music Group and eOne Music.
- Current artists
- Soulja Boy (Interscope/Collipark Music/SODMG)(CEO)
- Ja-Bar (TOKE Team/SODMG)
- Arab (Boss Money/SODMG)
- KillaCam (SODMG)
- 350 (SODMG)
- Rashad (SODMG)
- Antonio aka Tony The Deity (SODMG)
- J-Money aka J. Futuristic (SODMG)
- Spinning 9 (SODMG Germany/SODMG)
- M2ThaK (SODMG)
- Calico Jonez (SODMG)
- Young Sam (SODMG)
- Agoff (Ocean Gang/SODMG)
- Young L (Ocean Gang/SODMG)
- John Boy (FyreHouse/SODMG)
- Managed DJ's
- Managed Producers
- Soulja Boy
- Kwony Cash
- Jay Clink
- Supa Crank It
- Lil Keis
Way also produces records, including his own. In 2009 Way produced V.I.C.'s single "Get Silly" which went certified Gold & Bow Wow's single "Marco Polo". Way beats often contain the beginning lines "Soulja Boy Tell 'em" But as of late Way has produced beats without using the lines. Also in 2009 Way was also supposed to been producing for Kanye West's fourth studio album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy & Kanye was supposed to been producing for Ways third studio album The DeAndre Way but for unknown reasons neither of them used each other's beats. On May 13, 2011 Way stated that he had produced & submitted beats for 50 Cent's fifth studio album
On March 5, 2008 Way released his official clothing line of S.O.D clothing. Then also in 2008 Way released his own brand of the popular shoe line entitled "Yums".
In January 7, 2009 Soulja Boy announced that he was supposed to been releasing his own cartoon entitled Soulja Boy: The Animated Series but only one episode was ever released. On April 22, 2011 Way announced that he would be making his acting debut playing the main role as Bishop on the Juice remake & that it would air on BET in sometime.
In August 2010, Soulja Boy announced a desire to make a film about himself, having reported to MTV News that he discussed the idea with Nick Cannon. He was later approached by Peter Spire who presented his own concept for making a documentary about the artist. Directed by Spire, the film was released October 18, 2011, a date which coincided with Soulja Boy's arrrest on a drug charge. The film contains live performances from his DeAndre Way Tour and interviews of Soulja Boy's father as well as current and former members of Stacks on Deck Entertainment. The documentary was panned by DVD Verdict.
- America's Most Wanted (2009)
- Who They Want (2011)
- The World Is Yours (2012)
Awards and nominations
- BET Hip-Hop Awards
- '2007: Best Hip-Hop Dance (Won)'
- Grammy Awards
- 2008: Best Rap Song: "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" (Nominated)
- Ozone Awards
- '2007: Patiently Waiting: Mississippi (Won)'
- 2008: Best Breakthrough Artist (Nominated)
- 2008: TJ's DJ's Tastemaker Award (Nominated)
- Teen Choice Awards
- 2009: Choice Music: Rap Artist (Nominated)
- 2009: Choice Music: R&B Track for "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" (Nominated)
- 2009: Choice Music: Hook Up for "Kiss Me Thru the Phone"
- 2009: Choice Music: Artist (Nominated)