Soulja Boy Everything: The "She Make It Clap" Rapper Dives Into Getting His Credit, Drake, Bow Wow & Elon Musk
It was two years ago when Soulja Boy declared that he was edging out Tyga for the biggest comeback of the year. While Tyga was riding high off of the success of “Taste,” Soulja Boy was barely uploading music to streaming services; opting to use digital services like Soundcloud and YouTube to proliferate his music with barely any promotional effort. In many ways, it was the same formula that propelled his career from internet ubiquity to household name, childhood star to Big Draco. This formula doesn’t cut it in the streaming era.
These days, Soulja Boy is witnessing the type of star-prowess that feels partially birthed fourteen years ago, when he was yelling “YOUUU” every half hour on BET. “She Make It Clap” is arguably Soulja’s biggest commercial hit in roughly a decade and one that feels appropriate in his catalog. The TikTok traction has created roughly 3M videos so far, earning the rapper the #1 song on Billboard’s Top Triller US chart. In a sense, this is merely a starting point for the biggest comeback Soulja Boy foreshadowed three years ago.
“I already went #1 on TikTok, but there’s still more work to be done,” said Soulja Boy during a lively Zoom call with HNHH. “I’m trying to be #1 on radio. I’m trying to be #1 at the Grammys. I’m trying to be #1 at the award shows, everything. I’m trying to be everything — multi-mega superstar artist. I’m not trying to do anything independent. Everything I do is major.”
In many ways, Soulja Boy is really transforming his childhood dreams into his grown man realities. He’s already launched his own video game console (which he’ll proudly tell you about) and has a movie on the way. Beyond that, there are plans to pen a book, a comic book, create an anime, an animated television show, and follow in the footsteps of 50 Cent by creating his own video game.
WATCH: Soulja Boy’s HNHH Interview via Zoom Video
Soulja Boy has been a trailblazing innovator from the jump so, why hasn’t he been able to secure a meeting with Elon Musk? We chopped it up with Soulja Boy surrounding the success of “She Make it Clap,” his new deal with Virgin Music, and the biggest takeaway from feuding with Ice-T as a teenager and more.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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HNHH: How are you feeling today? How are you feeling with all the recent success?
Soulja Boy: I’m feeling good, man. Feeling real good, man, you dig what I’m sayin’? New record deal. Shout out to Virgin Music. Soulja Game console out right now. Number one on Billboard. Music video out. Y’all already know we going up, man. Let’s get it. Gang.
Let’s talk about this new deal with Virgin because it’s been a while since you been on the majors, right? Your original deal when you came out was with Interscope, so how did this new deal come about and why was now the right time to join forces with a major label?
Man, I been independent for a long time. I just want to give my music the right shine it deserves. I could take the money and do it myself but I know with a label, they are going to be able to help me out in areas that I’m not really too knowledgeable about the music industry, even with the years that I got in. It’s like, they signed to me, though. I’m not really signed to them. It’s a partnership. I own everything, I own my masters. They just putting it out for me type shit, you feel me? And giving me a big ol’ bag for being in business with Big Draco. Shout out to Virgin Music. I love that entire label, the entire staff. I’ve always been a fan of their work, so it’s dope to be a part of the team, for sure.
So you mentioned that there were certain aspects of the industry that the label could help you with. What aspects did you feel that a label was able to help you with that you wouldn’t have been able to do on your own at this point?
Resources. Man, it’s really that bag. I had the money myself but it’s better to spend other people’s money, though. It’s better to take their bread and partner with them. I feel like them being a major label, they’re going to take it to the major platforms. I already went #1 on TikTok, but there’s still more work to be done. I’m trying to be #1 on radio. I’m trying to be #1 at the Grammy’s. I’m trying to be #1 at the award shows, everything. I’m trying to be everything — multi-mega superstar artist. I’m not trying to do anything independent. Everything I do is major. I belong on the major, but with the right deal, you know what I’m sayin’?
Of course, I had every record label in the industry trying to sign me. One of them offered me a crazy deal; they tried to take my publishing, my shows, my merch, concert ticketing, everything and I was like “Hell nah.” So, I went to a label where I own everything. I got a great deal. I didn’t sign nothing crazy. That’s the difference between me coming into the industry from when I was young until now.
When I was young, I got a million-dollar deal with a major which was still a good deal but now I have the CEO deal. I got my own label. It’s SODMG Records/Virgin Music. It’s not just Soulja Boy signing as an artist.
Your ear as an A&R is truly unmatched. I feel like there’s a lot of artists that came up on the radar that you helped introduce. Now that you have this partnership, how do you feel it will help your career and the artists you sign?
Man, it’s definitely gonna help my label. It’s gonna help me portray my vision to the public. All the artists that I was discovering and trying to put on and sign them, I couldn’t really do all that because I didn’t have the backing behind me. I was still independent. So, going back to our previous conversation, like bruh, it’s hard doing it independent. When you have a label, they have a team. It’s better when you have 20, 30 people, 100, 200 people of staff working on a project. Now, I’m definitely going to be able to take my artists to lengths that I couldn’t take them before.
Just speaking of artists, is there one, in particular, you regret not signing when you had a chance?
Nah, I feel like everything went how it was supposed to happen. It was made. Everything is written from the beginning to the end. I can’t change it. Everything happens as it’s supposed to happen. I’m just glad to be a part of their careers, you know what I’m sayin’? It just showed that I was right. I saw something in them. Obviously, it transcended the people and the people liked it, too. So, obviously, I got an ear and an eye for talent. There shouldn’t be any negative energy towards it like “Oh, I should’ve did this.” We made good music, we met, we were a part of each other’s history. We make music now cool but if not, no love lost. I’m so focused on my career, my companies, and my record labels that I can’t be focused on the past. I did everything to the best ability that I could do.
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Who are you most proud of?
Top three — I know it’s a long list of artists.
Mannnn! I’m proud of all of them. I’m not gonna single anyone out. Everybody did their thing, everybody sold records, made money, provided for their family. I’m happy for all of them. I’m happy they decided to work with me and be a part of the Soulja Boy legacy.
Chief Keef, specifically, that’s the one that sticks out to me. I know he had some really kind words for you two years ago when you were on your media run. You guys had just linked up for the video for “She Make It Clap.” How is that energy for you these days? How does it feel linking up now? Especially, with the legacy that he built and the legacy that you’ve always had.
Man, that’s my boy. Sosa, that’s my boy. That’s it. Period. Forever. It will never change. It’s just different with us. It’s not about no rap. Yeah, he came through for the “Make It Clap” video. We always gonna support each other when it’s time for that. It’s that. It’s gang. But, I’m proud of him. My boy came from the trenches, my boy came from nothin’. I told him from the jump since 300, I told him. We talked about this long ago.
“Sosa, that’s my boy. That’s it. Period. Forever. It will never change. It’s just different with us. It’s not about no rap. Yeah, he came through for the “Make It Clap” video. We always gonna support each other when it’s time for that. It’s that. It’s gang. But, I’m proud of him. My boy came from the trenches, my boy came from nothin’. I told him from the jump since 300, I told him. We talked about this long ago.”
What was that first conversation with Sosa like when you first heard his music? How did you two connect?
That’s just my boy. Our first convo was so long ago. Shit, it was like 10 years ago, like 2012, like 2011. We just clicked. Certain people you just click with.
I wanna get back to “She Make It Clap.” How do you feel about the era of TikTok? Do you feel you’re getting the credit your deserve for laying down that groundwork with, in a way?
Yeah, man. People definitely get my flowers. I just say it now, like, I gotta let the people know. That’s just me. When I say I started this, when I say I started that, it’s no cap. I really did start it but it’s like I’m just having fun, just letting people know what it is. But I get my credit, I see the tweets, they give me my credit. They know I started it.
But it’s just like… I want more! It’s not enough! I want more flowers! I need more credit! UH-UH IT’S NOT DONE YET! I see the tweets — it’s not enough! I’m not done. I gotta keep going. I don’t know how many more hits I have to make, how many Crank Dat’s [or] She Make It Clap’s — however many — I’mma keep going until I feel the energy. But I definitely see it. I see people try but, you know, nah. Try harder.
I remember earlier this year you called out Drake again and Bow Wow came to your defense, and was pretty much giving you your flowers. Twitter might say a certain thing but do you feel like your peers also give you that same credit?
My peers give me my credit, man. They know what’s up. Bow Wow, that’s my boy. That’s my boy in real life, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m gonna say it like this — I just have fun. People know — look, shout out to all them folks but they know what’s up. I’m the one, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m the one. C’mon man. I’m the one. It need be to Soulja. Soulja this, Soulja that. But big shout out to Bow Wow. That’s my boy.
Look, when I made that tweet, it wasn’t any pressure or anything like that. I was just poking a little fun. Like, ‘C’mon, man. You know what’s going on Drake. Stop playing with me, boy.’ But it’s all love. Shout out to Drake and to Bow Wow.
“My peers give me my credit, man. They know what’s up. Bow Wow, that’s my boy. That’s my boy in real life, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m gonna say it like this — I just have fun. People know — look, shout out to all them folks but they know what’s up. I’m the one, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m the one. C’mon man. I’m the one. It need be to Soulja. Soulja this, Soulja that. But big shout out to Bow Wow. That’s my boy.”
How do you feel about showing the Superman dance to this new generation? Don’t take this the wrong way, but the “Crank That” is like our generation’s Macarena.
Man, that’s hard. How can I take that the wrong way? The Macarena?! That’s the same thing I just said! No cap! You just took the words out of my mouth. Boy, I’mma flip it! You said “Crank That”, I said, “Make It Clap.” I said, “bruh.” When I seen “Make It Clap,” I said, “I done made the new Macarena on them folks!” He said the “Crank That” was the new Macarena. This the new Macarena right here! [Ed. note: Soula Boy begins to do the “She Make It Dance” challenge in his chair while humming the melody] Stop playing with me, boy! I done fucked the world up! What’d you mean the old Macarena?! This the new Macarena, right here!
Who’s your favorite celebrity that’s done the dance so far?
Man, it’s too many to name, and it’s still too early. A lot more still gotta do there’s. But shout out to Ciara, Big Latto, Polo G, everybody that did theirs. Shout out to everybody who did the “She Make It Clap” challenge. Oh, Brandy. Everybody. There’s no favorite. My favorite is everybody. It’s 3 million videos on TikTok, how could I pick one favorite? All I can say is I love everybody and I thank y’all for the support. Big Draco!
The “Crank That” dance spawned a few others like the “Crank That (Batman).” How did you feel about those reiterations of your dance?
I loved it. I was like, man, I inspired the culture, the people, the world. I got the kids making different remixes. It was hard. “Crank That” Spider-Man. “Crank That” Batman, “Crank That” — everything. It was hard. I loved it. I loved all of it. It was dope to see the kids dancing. To come from high school to worldwide success, stardom. It was amazing. I loved every minute of it.
Do you remember the first moment coming up and witnessing that that you were like “Oh shit this is real?”
The SpongeBob video. I’ll never forget. I was on YouTube, seen the Spongebob video. And you know how technology used to be. You never knew what memes was. I was like, “Momma! I got SpongeBob rapping my song!” And he was like, “Youu! Crank That Soulja Boy! You!” I was like, we lit, we on. We got SpongeBob doing it. We on. It’s over with. Viral. Once you got SpongeBob doing the “Crank That,” it’s viral. But I didn’t know it was like a meme and like, computer edited with the songs on top. I thought it was, like, really SpongeBob so I was like, ‘We outta here.’ And it had like 20 million views.
I wanted to dive in a little bit about your production history because I feel like that’s one part of your career that I feel needs to be talked about way more. Do you feel your production catalog is as celebrated as other aspects of your career?
Man, I’m one of the best producers of all time. I produced my whole first album and it went platinum. Every song. “Crank Dat,” “Gucci Bandana,” “Booty Meat,” “Hey You There.” I made all them beats by myself. Me. “I got me some Bathin’ Apes.” “Yah Trick Yah.” I made every beat and went platinum, you see what I’m sayin’? I made these rappers wanna produce their songs. I introduced FL Studios. I introduced Fruity Loops to the culture. They were laughing at me, “Where your MPC at? Haha.” No, “Crank Dat” just sold 10 million. HA HA! Demo version. In the trenches. I didn’t even pay for Fruit Loops, I ain’t even have a key. Free key. Offline. Demo version. Fruity Loops. “Crank Dat.” Diamond. Ringtones: 5 million. Stop playing with me. I’m the best producer of all time. They try to discredit me and suppress me because I’m a great, I’m a legend. I don’t know why. They never seen nothing like it before.
“These rappers don’t produce their own music! Ain’t never been a rapper that produced and sold as many singles as I did of “Crank That” at my age in history. These rappers that go platinum got a producer that makes the beat. They get fifty percent of all the money. These rappers that go platinum, they don’t even write their songs. That’s another fifty percent gone. That’s one hundred percent of the song gone. The fans, the audience, they don’t know publishing. They don’t know this. I know this. I came into the industry at 16. I wrote the record, produced the record. What’s that mean? One hundred percent go to me.”
These rappers don’t produce their own music! Ain’t never been a rapper that produced and sold as many singles as I did of “Crank That” at my age in history. These rappers that go platinum got a producer that makes the beat. They get fifty percent of all the money. These rappers that go platinum, they don’t even write their songs. That’s another fifty percent gone. That’s one hundred percent of the song gone. The fans, the audience, they don’t know publishing. They don’t know this. I know this. I came into the industry at 16. I wrote the record, produced the record. What’s that mean? One hundred percent go to me. These rappers, they don’t write their music. What’s that mean? 50 percent of the song gone. They don’t make the beat. What’s that mean? The other 50 percent gone. They don’t make no money from the record. They make money from going on tour and doing concerts. That’s why they were mad at me. They was like, “How did he produce the song, write the song, and it sold 10 million copies? He finna be rich as fuck! We gotta tear him down ASAP. We gotta say he killed hip-hop. We gotta say something. We gotta make lies up on him. We gotta do anything in our power to discredit this young man who’s a fucking genius!” From the bedroom of his home, at 16-years-old.
So you produced all those records of a cracked version of FL Studios?
I produced the whole album. 100% me. I produced the whole album from top to bottom. From end to beginning. On FL Studios, Fruity Loops, at 16 in high school.
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What was the industry standard at the point for making beats?
It was MPC — real equipment; piano, keys, flutes. I turned it digital with a laptop. I played piano and violin on a keyboard. That had never been done before that. They were using MPCs. I pulled out a laptop in the studio and hooked it up to a quarter-inch and put it through the speakers. They didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. The record labels were looking at me like I was crazy. They was like, ‘Where the shit at? What the fuck? He finna make a beat on a laptop? What the fuck is going on here?’ Yes, n***a. That’s how I went platinum. And that’s how all the artists do it today. They make they beat on a computer. Off software. I started that!
As a producer, have you continued using FL Studios?
I never switched it. They tried to give me Logic. They tried to give me the MPC. They tried to give me the Maschine. They tried to give me the everything. No! FL Studios! Fruity Loops! Nicki Minaj’s song — Fruity Loops! “She Got a Donk” — Fruit Loops! “Itty Bitty Piggy,” I made that! You understand what I’m telling to you? Cmon, man!
Did you know Nicki before she signed to Young Money?
I been knowing Nicki — I don’t know. Ever since I met her, they said she was signed to Lil Wayne. When I met Nicki, it was a long time ago. I been rocking with Nicki since the start. Any time she asked for a beat, she got it. Anytime we were on tour, it’s always support. Much love to Nicki Minaj since day one.
Was she on tour with you during America’s Most Wanted Tour?
I was on tour and I would see her. The whole Young Money was on that tour. Drake, Tyga, Wayne, me, Birdman, everybody.
Is there a particular memory that sticks out to you the most about that tour?
Man, when Drake broke his fucking ankle! That n***a broke his leg or some shit. I didn’t know what the fuck was going on! I was like, ‘What the fuck? The n***a Drake was on stage rapping and this n***a slipped or some shit and broke his whole ankle.
Do you remember what was happening backstage when it happened?
I don’t know, man! [Laughs] It ain’t funny, man. Drake gon’ see this and get mad at me. See how they do me, Drake, in these interviews. That’s what really happened, though. You really slipped and broke your shit, bro. I don’t know. He was really in a wheelchair! He was already in a wheelchair on the TV show, then he slipped onstage and he was in a — I was like, ‘what the fuck?’ It was like a movie, bruh. I ain’t know, bruh. I was like, I ain’t never seen no shit like that in my life, bruh. That n***a really slipped and then they [laughs]. Aye, but it’s not funny, though but he’s okay. He was okay. He got up and walked away. Shout out to Drake. Damn, why that have to be one of the memories? But that was one of the memories. We was all like, ‘What the fuck? This n***a Drake just fell on stage.’ He really fell, though. I don’t know if he slipped on some ice or some shit. Them bitches used to be throwing their bras on stage. He probably slipped on one of them girls some panties or somethin’. That n***a slipped hard as hell. That shit went viral before viral.
That tour was lit, though, man. I remember getting a lot of money. I was just getting a lot of money, performing. It was fun.
“Drake gon’ see this and get mad at me. See how they do me, Drake, in these interviews. That’s what really happened, though. You really slipped and broke your shit, bro. I don’t know. He was really in a wheelchair! He was already in a wheelchair on the TV show, then he slipped onstage and he was in a — I was like, ‘what the fuck?’ It was like a movie, bruh. I ain’t know, bruh. I was like, I ain’t never seen no shit like that in my life, bruh.”
Did being on tour at a young age wear you out at any point?
At first, it did. When I was like 16, 17, I would get tired. I don’t know how to answer that, bruh. ‘Cause when I first came in, I was gettin’ tired sometimes but then I broke out of that, though. At a certain point, I would be lit. Sometimes, it did get overwhelming, though. Look, let me tell you this — we all human, at the end of the day, so it’s only so much you can do. People would think I would be in a mood or something. I was like, I just did 10 interviews, three concerts, and four walkthroughs. It’s 6 a.m., I’m on a tour bus, they tryna wake me up. I’m like “I can’t move.” I really couldn’t move. All jokes aside, I was trying to get up and they was like, ‘Yo, you gotta go in here. You gotta do this interview with this radio station.’ It’s like 6 in the morning. Mind you, I just got back from the club at 4:50 am so I only get like an hour of sleep, really, at the hotel. So, I’m on the tour bus trying to get a little nap in. It do get overwhelming at times but there’s really nothing you can do about that. If you push your body to a certain limit, it’s really nothing you can do. That’s why I be trying to tell ‘em, like, yo I gotta get a certain amount of hours of sleep. I gotta drink a certain amount of water. I gotta eat a certain amount of food because if I don’t, I will crash out. Like, I really can’t get up.
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What is one thing you have to remind yourself of every day to make sure you can get yourself through the day?
Really, just gotta write everything down. I gotta write shit down. Like, I’m gotta do this at this time and this at this time. It’s all about organization. If you not organized, you gonna be all over the place. Anything I put my time into, I’m trying to give it 100% my all. They say I got an interview with HotNewHipHop, I’m excited. I’m like, ‘Man, they been posting my stuff before I was going viral. When I was going viral, when I’m chilling, whatever I’m doing, they support me.’ So, I’m gonna give them a real, genuine, good, nice interview. I structure out my day and write stuff down. You gotta write stuff down and be organized. I’m not talking about your iPhone notes. You never gonna go there. You gonna be on Instagram. You gotta really write it down physically on a notebook and look at it.
For sure, I wanna tread back to something you were saying earlier that when mentioned people saying you killed hip-hop. Obviously, that’s a reference to the Ice-T scenario. As a 16-year-old fresh in the game, how did it feel, at the time, to have an OG in the game blame you for singlehandedly killing hip-hop? I know we saw your response but it must’ve been heavy having an OG say something like that.
Man, I love Ice-T. Fuck all that shit. That shit was petty as hell. I’m a boss, I’m a real CEO. He was just confused. He didn’t know what was going on! He didn’t know I was the truth. He didn’t know I was the GOAT. He didn’t know he was looking at the future in his eyes! He didn’t know he was listening to the wave. He ain’t know. You can’t fault him for that. When you fall out the mix, you gotta keep your ear to the street. That’s why I’m in tune with my youngins. I got a hundred — look, I got some youngins and I keep in tune with my youngins and I keep in tune with the streets. ‘Cause you gonna get lost in the sauce and end up beefing with the GOAT. That’s over with, man. You gotta show love to the younger generation and stand on your morals and principles. He was standing on his morals and principles. He didn’t like that type of music. You can’t do nothing but respect that. But at the end of the day, I’m going to stand on what’s mine. I don’t care what nobody talking about. I know this is the new wave. I know what I got going on. Look at us today. All these years later, didn’t I set the blueprint? Didn’t I set the wave? And everything I said was facts. So, who really was capping? It was just a miscommunication. You live and you learn.
“Man, I love Ice-T. Fuck all that shit. That shit was petty as hell. I’m a boss, I’m a real CEO. He was just confused. He didn’t know what was going on! He didn’t know I was the truth. He didn’t know I was the GOAT. He didn’t know he was looking at the future in his eyes! He didn’t know he was listening to the wave. He ain’t know. You can’t fault him for that. When you fall out the mix, you gotta keep your ear to the street. That’s why I’m in tune with my youngins”
Big shout out to Ice-T. Shout out to his music, his movies, his movement, and what he did in hip-hop. There’s no pressure, no beef, no static but at the end of the day, I’m a real boss. I’m a real legend. I really did this. I showed people — c’mon, I’m the leader of all this.
You mentioned beef before. You’ve been having fun on Twitter with a lot of athletes. It feels like you’ve kind of grown beyond rap beef and you’re engaging with athletes. What is it about trolling athletes entertains you the most?
Honestly, I don’t like doing it. It takes me out of my character. It brings me out of my element. I love this. I like having fun. I like trending, going viral, gettin’ money, swagging, drippin’, getting girls, dancing, playing video games, fun stuff. Buying cars, buying jewelry, rockin’ chains. Livin’ life. Fun stuff. Helping people, giving people money, putting people on, inspiring people. I like doing…