When I told people in 2007 that two of my favorite albums that year were Back To The Traphouse and Souljaboytellem.com, I was met with a lot of internet criticism. Defending Gucci in ‘07 was quite difficult (he’s a funny Jeezy!) and defending Soulja Boy was, well, impossible. In 2008, both of them made great strides, and made people like me feel less guilty about listening to them - Gucci far more so than Soulja, but Soulja did put some effort into becoming a genuinely decent rapper. Nowadays Gucci doesn’t really require much defending, while Soulja’s getting closer to being pretty fucking good. There’s obviously some missteps here and there, but he knowns how to churn out hits unlike most of his contemporaries.
On the outro to his overlooked sophomore effort, iSouljaboytellem, Soulja dedicates this prayer to his haters, but gets deeper than that in the actual verses; I hate when my momma call to me crying/telling me, “Dre, I feel like dying”/telling me, “Dre, I feel like dying”/I remember growning up, west side of Atlanta/couldn’t pay the light bill, so we keep them candles/I’m asking momma questions, she giving false answers/I didn’t want to leave my hood, I just couldn’t stand it/moved to Mississippi and i finally had a family/moved to Mississippi and i finally had a family/my dad, my sister, and my newly born brother/first time I had to call another woman mother/saying that I love ya, I know I didn’t show it/my mom asking for money and you asking for nothing/everyday I told you that “I’mma make it”/and if I never told ya, I really appreciate ya
DeAndre than talks about the girls he got pregnant in hindsight, while highlighting how hectic he was. He was still making songs like Birdwalk when this came out. It’s obvious that Soulja isn’t the best teenaged rapper of all time, and he’s certainly no Nas during Illmatic. But does he have to be the best? There are layers to this kid and his music that no one pays attention to, and that’s frustrating. The DeAndre Way will do nothing to change that; that’s probably for the best. Dre’s doing a fine job playing the conflicted villain in hip-hop, telling his fans how much he loves them while telling his haters to fuck their couch. I hope he doesn’t go anywhere soon.