For many, 2007 is a time they remember fondly; for others, it is a time they would like to forget. For people aged 18-25, it is a time of nostalgia, even though they were in elementary school and don’t remember what 2007 was like.
For DeAndre Cortez Way, more commonly known by his stage name Soulja Boy Tell ‘em or simply Soulja Boy, 2007 was the year his rap career took off. Then, 16 years later, he decided to refresh our memories and went on tour.
On the last stop of his Soulja World tour, Soulja Boy turned up the nostalgia when he performed at his sold-out show at the Observatory in Santa Ana on September 24.
A decent amount of them were dressed up as Soulja Boy from the cover of his 2007 album souljaboytellem.com. Their outfits included an oversized white tee, a sideways hat, baggy jeans, and white sunglasses with “Soulja Boy” written on the lens.
Not only was everyone at the show having a good time with their friends, but they were also there regardless of their knowledge of Soulja Boy’s new music; to them, the music was the least important part of the night.
It was more about the nostalgia and the memories they created that night.
Soulja Boy blew up in 2007 with his hit song “Crank That.” he was at the top of the game during the early to mid-2000s, with “Crank That” being on the Billboard Hot 100 for 32 weeks and sitting at number one for seven weeks. Since then, he has released 10 studio albums and 67 mixtapes; however, his newer work is less famous than his classics.
The people who were interviewed agreed that even though Soulja Boy is not as popular as he used to be and has a prominent status as a meme, he is still a legend because of how he changed the music industry by blowing up on the internet first, which paved the way for many other musicians and eventually led to the “Soundcloud Rap” era.
Before Soulja Boy took the stage, two DJs and three rappers opened the night. The first DJ played throwback hits from the late 90s to the early 2000s. The second DJ played hits from the 2010s to today’s hits.
Then, three rappers played three to four songs each.
One negative thing about the crowd is that many were beginning to grow impatient and were holding up phones that said, “Where’s Soulja Boy?” Some began to ask the people around them, “When is Soulja Boy coming out?” With big-name artists only having one opener, who is another big-name artist at their concerts these days, it is understandable to see a bit of disconnect when artists do a show how they used to back in the day.
After a long wait, Soulja Boy came out wearing a white denim jacket with matching jeans, custom iced-out Balenciaga sunglasses along with his iced-out chains, and a brown turtleneck, which is quite different than how the fans were dressed, but also shows how much Soulja Boy has come since 2007.
Soulja Boy played a mix of his classics and his newer music. The crowd was particularly excited when he started playing “Crank That.” the venue filled with the voices of his fans singing along, “Soulja Boy off in it, oh watch me crank it, watch me roll watch me crank that Soulja Boy, then Superman that oh.”
As Soulja Boy was rapping, most of the people in attendance were singing along word for word, bar for bar, and he played Soulja Girl, which is a deep cut from his first album, which also samples himself on “Crank That.”
Throughout his 45-minute set, he took fans’ phones, recorded himself performing, and even hit a fan’s vape. Despite being in the rap game for 16 years, Soulja Boy showed us he still knows how to hype the crowd and showed how important crowd work is.
After wrapping up his set with “Kiss Me Through the Phone,” he walked off the stage without encore. He left his young audience with an inspiring message as he walked away: “Always follow your dreams, and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t.” With such a young crowd who don’t remember Soulja Boy in his prime, he made everyone turn their swag on that night.