23 November 2010
There is no way anyone can deny Soulja Boy. He is not only the catchiest rapper out, but he also markets himself better than anyone could possibly expect. Despite the album still not being released, singles from this album date back to June this year and the hype has been growing ever since.
Even in the Australian market, Souja Boy has Told 'Em, so to speak. Remember Crank That (Soulja Boy) with its beautiful blurred out Superman symbols in the video? It peaked at #3 on the ARIA Singles chart and it even spent a few weeks on the TMN Hot 100. Kiss Me Through The Phone made it to the ARIA Top 20 and also spent a few weeks in the Hot 100. Don't even get started on the Billboard Charts.
The album kicks off relaxingly, with slick production and catch phrases flying about; left, right and centre. The melodic way Soulja Boy allows his words to slip out of his mouth makes every part of First Day Of School a hook. As for the lyrical content, let's just summarise by stating that Soulja Boy, Tell 'Em is going to look fresh, with everything he is wearing matching and looking fly. No questions.
Track two, Touchdown, boasts the fast hats and repeated catch cries that keep fans happy. References to Lil B, Gucci Mane, and the twin topics of swag and football make this song a winner. This probably isn't the Soulja Boy track that makes it far in Australian radio, but it would have gone down a treat at Summerbeatz.
The first track that screams 'radio' on the album is Hey Cutie. Featuring the vocal stylings of Trey Songz, it could see a radio service. It is another one of Soulja Boy's spoken melodies that helps the song roll relaxingly between each of its choruses. The production is unbelievably slick and surprisingly tasteful.
Speakers Going Hammer is an interesting track. It is the latest of the US singles, released in October in the States. Snares, finger clicks, sirens and an awful lot of orchestra hits adorn the track. It is either horrid or genius. I think it might take another hundred listens to decide. Don't expect an answer soon.
The track that started the hype for The DeAndre Way, was Pretty Boy Swag. Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100; #5 on the Billboard Rap Songs Chart. The track houses a disjointed beat, with fast hats that accentuate the staccato-as-all-hell vocals. If you pay attention (as the lyrics request), you are informed of just how much swag he has. He'd suggest it is lots.
Soulja Boy and Lil B on the same track. It isn't the first time this has happened, but it feels like it could be the start of the end of the world. The hook lyric in 30 Thousand 100 Million is genuinely "thirty thousand hundred million / all my n*****s go so crazy in this f***ing building." Sadly for the names involved in this track, the beat is one of the weakest on the album.
Another massive name pops up on the next track, Mean Mug when 50 Cent offers up a couple of verses. It is interesting how experienced a rapper 50 Cent sounds in the context of this album. This is not a slight on anybody else on the album, it just becomes very obvious why 50 has made it as far as he has.
The second single from the album, released in August in the States, is an auto-tune dream. Blowing Me Kisses is the tune on the album for the ladies. It is well constructed and screams Whatever You Like (T.I.). You can actually visualise the sweeping arm movements in an imaginary film clip for this track. In reality though, the clip has Soulja Boy loitering in front of a car (suicide doors open), just cruising about in a boat with a lady, and some girl that blows kisses made of butterflies. No big deal? Just quietly, this video has a few million views too. This guy really is a superstar.
Second last track already? This album flies by, taking only 35 minutes to spin it through. Funnily enough, track nine is well titled. Fly offers a slightly reggaeton beat and long melodic vocals. Not an album highlight, but definitely not offensive.
For the last track on the album, Soulja Boy is joined by Ester Dean who belts out the first female hook on the album. I think it is meant to be epic, but for the most part it isn't particularly memorable. Maybe the title (Grammy) could be a bit of a stretch as well…
All in all The DeAndre Way is a great urban pop album. It will sell truckloads and please a lot of people. It is full of hooks that kids will be repeating in classrooms and that radio may well get behind.
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