Welcome to the Coming Around Again podcast, the new member of the Pop Shop family, where host Andrew Unterberger and a variety of guests will be discussing notable anniversaries being celebrated in the music world.
Ten years ago this Tuesday (May 2), a 16-year-old rapper from Atlanta named DeAndre Way — soon to be much better known to rap and pop fans worldwide as Soulja Boy — released his debut single, “Crank That (Soulja Boy).” The song, accompanied by a quickly iconic dance and music video, wasted little time taking the country by storm, and ultimately spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 that fall.
The response from the hip-hop community and from tastemakers of the time, however, was distinctly less positive — critics dismissed Soulja Boy as a novelty act and one-hit wonder, while legendary MC Ice-T claimed the young rapper had “single-handedly killed hip-hop.” But ten years (and a handful of additional hits) later, Soulja stands improbably as one of the most influential figures of modern rap, having predicted countless sonic and marketing trends in the genre years ahead of time.
On this week’s Coming Around Again, Andrew is joined by Sean Highkin — an NBA writer for The Athletic, and one of the Internet’s most devout Soulja Boy boosters — to discuss what was misunderstood about the proto-viral artist upon his emergence ten years ago, and how he’s been proven right in so many ways since. The two also reminisce about Soulja’s short-lived feud with NBA star LeBron James back in 2008, and wonder if we might see the mini-beef resurface if the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers meet again in the playoffs during the 2017 postseason.
Listen below, and be sure to check back every Thursday to see which classic artists, albums and songs are Coming Around Again!