Soulja Boy Could Have Been a bigger entertainer, had he not derailed his squeaky clean image.

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( One of my favorite things to do during my down time is watch videos of Charlamagne Tha God giving his signature amusing commentary on today’s current events in urban music. One evening, I came across a video where he gave the opinion that Soulja Boy could have been an all-around star in entertainment if not for his tattoo’s that currently plaster his face. Now, Charlamagne, since his days as a DJ here in my current place of residency (Columbia, SC) can be direct, obscene and wrong at times.

But, the notion Charlamagne implied this time was actually accurate; Soulja Boy DID ruin his image, reputation and standards by getting constant tattoos all over his face and body. If you think about it, he could have had a television show, been on Nickelodeon or could have host a TV show like his former counterpart Bow Wow. But the artist formerly known as Soulja Boy Tell’ Em went on a wild tail spin of brown-nosing other rappers styles, drug use and yes, inking his whole body up. Why? He’sSouljaBoy-2013 young, and that’s all we can really put on him, but still…..

It’s blatantly ridiculous. The people, who (perhaps at the time) completed Soulja Boy’s inner circle, obviously didn’t see the potential earning power that their boss had. Instead, like most yes men who are afraid of being terminated and thrown off the tour bus, probably encouraged him to keep up with the latest trends that dispersed hip hop at an enormous rate. Rap about guns, drugs and drug trafficking? Check. Ink your body like Wiz Khalifa? Check. But, what’s wrong with that picture is that Wiz Khalifa, although debatable, probably was no Soulja boy in terms of popularity. See, whether the average fans of music may want to admit this or not, Soulja boy was one of the more popular entertainers of the late 2000’s.

He had an expansive YouTube channel, a platinum album/number one single, was releasing music at a high frequency and had a popular dance (The Superman) that swept the nation. The buzz of Soulja Boy began to quietly die down late 2009 after the release of “Kiss Me Thru The Phone,” which became his last major hit.  It should have been around this time that he heavily considered a career in other avenues of entertainment.  But of course, he stayed persistent, opting to attempt to get back to his “Crank Dat” days.

The media and entertainment business tend to favor, nice, clean-cut and marketable celebrities to present to a wider-scale. It’s why the likes of Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and hell, Kim Kardashian are prevalent in TV, documentaries and movies (Kim K, just one.) America generally likes to see life in an illusion through entertainment, and had Soulja Boy been advised correctly, he could have had a potentially successful post-rap career.  But instead, he wanted to portray his rap persona as a drugged out, leaned up, gun-toting trapper who stole so many styles that it’s impossible to keep up with whose style he’s implementing currently. Tattoos completely govern his face, and at age 23, I’m not sure how much more he can take chasing pavements to revive his rap career. What could he have done? Anything he practically wanted to, really.

Today, the music industry produces pop standards that 90% of the time doesn’t require an artist to fully develop or produce an album that could stand pound for pound with the likes of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska or Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The money primarily lies in sub-par singles, which will soon make its way to radio and streaming sites. Seriously, how do you think people like and Pitbull still eating? Soulja Boy could have been America’s next big pop star; had he kept a clean image. Movies, kid friendly TV shows and the opportunity to create for the masses  could have produced endless possibilities for Soulja Boy.

But today, he’s making music primarily for He’s rarely featured on anyone’s record (the last major records were Roscoe Dash’s “All The Way Turnt Up” and Trey Songz “Lol :-)”) and again, he has to constantly reinvent himself within the parameters of hip hop. I’m not one of those “holier than thou” type of writer, who frowns down on my present generation or the next. But I will occasionally frown down on those who blew opportunities while chasing a career that turned into a misapprehension.

The biggest rappers, singers and actors today are well calculated personas. This lets their marketing team have well-proportioned freedom, while careful, in crafting their image. Soulja Boy has missed out on opportunities worth millions. He conceivably, may never recover. The reason he was so successful in the late 2000’s was because he was marketable to all age groups. I mean, my mom tried to learn how to do his “Crank Dat” dance at its peak. Who knows what his next move is, but I’m sure he thinks about the missed opportunities, or how his career would have spanned if he made wiser choices.

Music Editor; Brad Washington
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