Crank That (Soulja Boy)
Soulja Boy Tell’em
Writer(s): DeAndre Way (see lyrics here)
Released: May 2, 2007
First Charted: June 30, 2007
Peak: 17 US, 8 RR, 13 BA, 15 DG, 3 RB, 2 UK, 3 AU, 5 CN, 14 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 5.08 US, 0.6 UK, 5.81 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.2 radio, 528.99 video, 467.81 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Rapper DeAndre Way, better known as Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, was born in Chicago in 1990. Before he’d even turned fifteen, he started posting MP3s to SoundClick, “a briefly popular social-media platform that allowed listeners to post their own songs.” BR He had a knack for “catchy and memorable” BR novelty songs and soon gravitated to other social-media programs like MySpace and YouTube in their relative infancy. He was also among the first to write his own Wikipedia bio, “boasting of his…not-yet-existent buzz.” BR He understood that “virality wasn’t merely a component of success in an Internet era; it was the entire story.” BR
At 15 years old, he wrote “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” another “entry in the age-old dance-craze tradition.” BR Part of the song’s charm came in Soulja Boy’s “strange way with words.” AMG The lyrics about bragging and dancing included such memorable lines as “Why me crank that Robocob?” sit[ting] next to nonsensical called-out dance instructions.” AMG
He told HipHoxDX.com that he created the song in just an hour on the computer, using the Fruity Loops computer system. SF The song is notable for its looping steel pan riff. WK Steel drums originated from the West Indian islands of Trinidad and Tobago, generally being made from 55 gallon oil drums. SF The Beach Boys’ 1988 #1 hit “Kokomo” also used the instrument. SF
In 2007, it “became a kind of Internet-underground sensation” BR with teens posting videos of themselves doing the dance. A rap producer named Collipark signed Soulja Boy to his label and they made a video that told “a stylized version of the whole origin story.” BR The video, directed by Dale Resteghini, featured Chris Brown, Bow Wow, and other notable rappers and R&B performers. BET ranked it the top video of 2007. WK Various parodies of the video have been made featuring Michael Jackson, Barney, and others. WK
The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 the same day Way turned 17. It went on to top the charts for 7 weeks, making Soulja Boy the youngest artist to write and produce his own chart-topper. BR It became the biggest pop hit of the year HT the most downloaded song of the year SF and, with four million + in sales, was the third most downloaded song in the U.S. all-time. WK
First posted 6/30/2012; last updated 6/24/2023.