Soulja Boy on going viral before TikTok and why he signed a deal after years of being independent

The rapper chops it up with DJ Buck and Big Regg
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By , Audacy

Soulja Boy is one of the few artists who peeped the game of social media early and capitalized off of its potential. Hence why, artists like Drake and Ariana Grande reference his tracks from 2007 and 2010.

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Soulja knows being a meme and going viral can be beneficial when done right and it's why he's now hopping on the TikTok wave with his newest hit, "She Make It Clap." The Chi-town native chops it up with Audacy's own DJ Buck and Big Regg to discuss his viral success— dating back over a decade—, TikTok, the benefits of being independent, his success within the gaming world, throwing hands and more.

Soulja Boy came into the music world in 2007 on fire with his debut single, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)." He was one of the first artists with a dot.com, a YouTube channel and millions of ringtone sales. Now, 14 years later, his creative process is so slightly evolved because why fix something if it ain't broken? He explains, "first I was experimenting a little with my music, but now I'm just making hits— for the clubs, for the internet, for the TikTok, for YouTube, for Triller, stuff like that. So, now it's the same like 'Crank Dat' [...], just technology got advanced."

DJ Buck reminded viewers that Soulja "went viral before [it] became a word." Though when asked by Regg if he feels he gets enough credit, Soulja's response is calmer than usual. "Man, honestly I'm just staying focused and being humble. If I get the credit, cool. If not, cool. I see a lot more people opening up the discussion of like 'oh, Soulja did do this and start off the YouTube wave and make it possible for new artists to get signed through social,' but I'm to the point now where I'm done demanding the credit," Soulja expressed.

For Soulja, his success as an independent artist further proves that he isn't new to this, he's true to this. When comparing his ringtone success to TikTok success (2M videos and counting), he says he loves the engagement aspect of it. However, either way, he's making money from it. For newer artists, he offered some advice. The 30-year-old expressed that if you have the money and team to invest in your art, do it; otherwise, get a deal.

With "She Make It Clap," Soulja revealed, "this was the most success I've seen independent." However, when he signed a deal with Virgin Music, it was less about money and more about business. "I want this record to be as big as it can be. If I blew it up this far on my own, imagine what the label could do when they come in," he expressed. His new deal is more of a "partnership," where he owns his masters and has majority split.

Music aside, there was no way Soulja couldn't talk about his success in the gaming industry, especially as the first rapper with his own gaming console. "This s*** is bigger than music [...] this video game and tech space, it's a whole different ball game," he explained. Check out the full interview above.

WATCH MORE: Hip Hop Artists Who Have Talents Beyond Rapping

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