DeAndre Cortez Way, known professionally as Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. Originally working and performing as “Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em,” Way was the first YouTuber musician to sign a major-label record deal when he signed with Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records in 2007. His first album released under Interscope was his third studio album, 2008’s ¡SouljaBoyTellEm.
DeAndre Cortez Way, known professionally as Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, YouTuber, and entrepreneur. His net worth is estimated in December 2022 at $30 million. Beginning in 2018, Soulja Boy began his entry into the realm of console video gaming with the Soulja Game series of self-branded video game consoles, to significant controversy.
Soulja Boy records music in the genres of rap, hip-hop, R&B, and trap. He first came to prominence through his YouTube self-published single “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”, which peaked at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 for seven non-consecutive weeks. His second studio album and the first widely-released studio album was 2007’s Souljaboytellem.com. Its first and third singles, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” and “Soulja Girl (featuring i15)” reached the Hot 100, while the second single, “Donk,” only reached #43 on the ”Bubbling Below the Hot 100” chart.
His third album, The DeAndre Way, debuted at #90 and quickly fell off the charts. Not even qualifying as a single-time gold, it is his worst-selling album to date, even though the single “Pretty Boy Swag” reached #34 on the Top 40. Since his fourth and most recent major-label album, 2014’s Loyalty, Soulja Boy returned to primarily releasing singles. His most recent single is 2021’s “She Make It Clap.” Soulja Boy’s earnings from his music are undisclosed, but probably constitute far less of his net worth than other sources.
Soulja Boy’s musical career demonstrates the usual career trajectory of the one-hit wonder: A single big hit that takes the musical world by storm. That hit is then followed by a string of attempts to recapture that magic that falls short and ultimately fades into obscurity with the artist. However, Soulja Boy’s career as a businessman has long outlived his musical relevance.
Soulja Boy owns his record label, Stacks On Deck Entertainment (SODMG). His label is known for signing young, previously undiscovered hip-hop artists, with a preference for Southern rappers. His label signed a stable of 28 artists between 2004 and 2016
On May 30, 2016, Soulja announced that all of the artists then signed to SODMG would be released from their contracts and had been dropped, leaving the only artist signed to Stacks On Deck Soulja Boy himself. In 2019, Stacks On Deck re-signed previous SODMG artist Lil 100 and signed Atlanta rapper/singer 24hrs.
Soulja Boy has a noted preference for yellow cars and has taken credit for other rap artists featuring yellow cars in their videos and buying them for their personal use; whether this is true or not is unknown. He claimed to have inked a $400 million endorsement deal with World Poker Fund Holdings, which appears to have been untrue.
Soulja is also a passionate and noted fan of video games, who has leveraged his fame into a whole second career as a video game console reseller. His “Soulja Game” consoles have developed a notoriety.
Soulja Game Video Game Consoles
In May 2021, Soulja Boy claimed that Nintendo and Google made offers to him to purchase his Soulja Game video game console. This claim was rightly lambasted as absurd, and there are no public records of any such offer being made. However, Soulja Boy’s history with the video game industry needs some examination.
First released in 2018, the original SouljaGame consoles were a pair of Chinese-sourced emulator consoles. Emulator consoles are dedicated microcomputers, typically of a “system on a chip” design, which is paired with flash memory containing downloaded file copies (“ROMs”) of games for existing video game consoles.
Very few video game cartridge makers have authorized the release of their games on ROMs, and those that have are generally independent or “indie” makers. Soulja Game consoles included games from classic consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System, and it was here that Soulja Boy’s video game-related struggles began.
In 2019, he made a second attempt, importing the Chinese-made Fuze console, an online-only game console that communicates exclusively with servers in China. The Chinese servers made online gaming a difficult chore, with players noting lag times that were measured in seconds. Despite these problems, he has made a substantial amount of money off of these game consoles, as fans flocked to buy video games with his branding on them.
Lawsuits and Legal Controversies
Souja Boy has been in and out of court for many years. The infamous firebrand has filed lawsuits both realistic and frivolous. For every legitimate suit he has filed over protecting his intellectual property rights, he has also made absurd claims, such as claiming that he made Reggie Fils-Amie retire upon the latter’s retirement from Nintendo in early 2019.
Soulja Boy has only been in trouble with criminal law once when he was charged with possession of an illegal firearm in 2016. He was arrested for breaking probation related to this offense in 2019, and spent a year in jail before being released.
Soulja Boy has also received numerous cease and desist orders relating to the distribution and sale of his “Soulja Game” video game consoles that are profiled above. Many of said consoles have been distributed with ROMs, software images of scanned video game cartridges, and discs, that belong to copyrighted and currently active intellectual property. Overall, Soulja Boy is a significant lawsuit risk for anyone who is considering investing in one of his business endeavors.
Soulja Boy is associated with charities that help disadvantaged youth in Southern US cities. He is an advocate for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and holiday toy charity Toyz N Da Hood, which distributes Christmas gifts to needy children, similar to the U.S. Marine Corps-sponsored Toys for Tots.
In 2017, Soulja Boy proposed participating in a celebrity boxing match for charity organized by Floyd Mayweather, the retired undefeated professional boxer. His opponent would have been R&B singer Chris Brown, with whom Soulja Boy had a longstanding dispute. Soulja Boy fired Mayweather as his trainer early in the preparations for the bout, and then on February 21st, 2017, the bout was canceled with no explanation other than the two rivals’ competing social media channels. The bout has not been rescheduled in any way.
Soulja Boy is a complicated American musician and entrepreneur who has entered into the fields of music, fashion, and video games. Despite some basic difficulties, he’s generally been financially rewarded by his business endeavors, and his net worth as of December 2022 is measured at around $30 million.
To the extent that he poses risk to the savvy investor, Soulja is a person who is prone to self-aggrandizement. He makes statements that could open him to potential legal and reputational risk due to his inability to back them up. He has made investments that were lawsuit risks, due to taking insufficient caution in them. Soulja Boy is an interesting opportunity, but not for everybody due to his carelessness.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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