How Soulja Boy Used Tech-Savvy Ways To Get His Foot Into Hollywood As A Teenager

Best known for his “Crank That” song, DeAndre Cortez Way, professionally known as Soulja Boy, was able to use tech-savvy ways to launch his career as a pioneer in the digital hip hop era.

His journey into the music industry is different from most artists.

The Chicago-born artist initially self-published the catchy song to the internet in 2007 and uploaded the corresponding “Soulja Boy dance” on YouTube, generating hundreds of thousands of views.

Now the videos sit at a comfortable 504M views – not bad for someone who was just a teenager at the time without a massive reputation.

Bare in mind – Youtube was launched in 2005 so it was still a pretty new platform and not many people jumped on the wave of uploading their music onto it.

At just 16 years old, he wrote, produced, and distributed a smash hit independently that peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks.

Not long after, he was listed at number 18 on Forbes’ list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings of 2010.

He also claimed, in an interview with Revolt’s Assets over liabilities, he was making $10,000 a month by hacking SoundClick, an early streaming service, while also growing an organic online fan base.

Soulja Boy also admitted that he redirected web traffic from his SoundClick page to his MySpace account when the platform first launched. That tactic helped him become the No. 1 artist on the social network before he began vlogging on YouTube.

His song, Crank That, received a Grammy nomination and reportedly became the first song ever to sell 3 million digital copies in the US. 

If that wasn’t enough – back in 2008, he famously included a phone number in his smash hit “Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” which allowed him to capture fan phone numbers and send them links to stream his music. 

In early 2020, he released an NFT version of his songs. He claims he was the first rapper to do so. He also designed and trademarked the SouljaGame, a branded handheld game console developed under TRDR Pocket.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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