Release Date: Nov 30, 2010
Record label: Interscope
A shaky stab at Soulja manhood, the third disc from the "Crank That" cutie finds him hitting drinking age, torn between pup and pit bull. "Soulja Boy rich/Sayin' 'Fuck an allowance,' " he raps. R&B nuggets like "Blowin' Me Kisses" update the innocent charm that made him a star, and his knack for spare ringtone hooks grows apace ("30 Thousand 100 Million" has a five-note keyboard figure that sounds like a Nineties modem going online).
Soulja Boy’s quick ascent to pop stardom has been met with an especially bitter crosscurrent of animosity, mostly in the form of trash talk spilled down by his elders: Ice-T accused him of “killing hip-hop,” and Method Man, while downplaying the hysteria of that claim, agreed that he was “garbage. ” This resentment stems from a supposed dumbing-down of the genre’s level of discourse, exchanging complex narratives for snappy soundbites, a ridiculous claim for anyone who’s analyzed a standard album’s worth of lyrics. His detractors, aside from showing their increasing irrelevance, have been the ones hurting hip-hop, reductively forcing the genre into an anachronistic, often stagnant mold.
”I deserve a Grammy,” declares Soulja Boy on his third album, The DeAndre Way. That?s a fairly dubious claim, but the 20-year-old hitmaker?s statement later on ”Grammy” that ”I understand the fans/Supply and demand” is harder to argue with. ?DeAndre?s repetitive chants and thudding beats are likely to yield more commercial successes for his résumé.
Everything wrong before is wrong again on Soulja Boy’s third effort, The DeAndre Way. Just like 2008’s iSouljaboytellem, this 2010 effort offers fun and simple singles that live or die by their hooks, and if you’re in the midst of a full-on party, you’ll respond “bammer bammer bammer” just like you’re supposed to when the party rapper offers “Speakers Going Hammer. ” “Pretty Boy Swag” brings welcome reminders of when everyone was asking for their chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side, and with the 50 Cent team-up “Mean Mug” being an enjoyable mix of G-Unit thugging and ringtone rap wilding out, The DeAndre Way has already offered up a weekend's worth of highlights.
Shortly after Soulja Boy endured a Twitter-fied beating from older peers and armchair critics for his third album’s utter failure to sell, Andrew Noz of CocaineBlunts made a very salient point: Only his debut album managed to crack six figure sales, yet Soulja Boy is a legitimate millionaire. How is this possible? The answer lies in ringtones and Youtube views, of which Soulja Boy has always been an undisputed leader. He further noted that there are very few listeners under 18 - and quite possibly as old as 24 - that really don’t buy albums anymore; they just Youtube them.
Soulja Boy has already defied the odds. Few 2007 skeptics could have imagined the Georgia “Crank Dat” sensation ever making it to a third album with a major label. As he swags his way past the one-hit wonder expectations, Soulja delivers The DeAndre Way. Much like the title suggests Soulja doesn’t change the way he approaches album-making.