Seven years ago, a just-turned-17-year-old Atlanta unknown called Soulja Boy Tell 'Em became the first rapper to blow up via the internet ever. "To me, Soulja Boy reset the industry," said Mr. Collipark, the producer who discovered Soulja, in a ThisIs50.com interview. "He introduced going over the heads of the powers that be, to be heard. So these kids didn't need radio stations, or the DJs, or the clubs—they used the internet to go straight to each other." Soulja also became a watchword for bone-brittle old heads to bemoan the death of rap—on the subject of Ice-T, who'd taken the time to dis him in interviews, Soulja hilariously responded that the Iceberg had been "born before the internet was created," which was irrefutable.
"Crank Dat" hit the same year that the Pack's "Vans" did—and that group's standout, Lil B, would soon follow in Soulja's BAPE-steps to internet stardom as the Based God. I've often said that B has to be the most influential rapper this side of Kanye West for the last half-decade or so of rap—and it's Soulja Boy who paved that way. Keep in mind that he's also brought us RiFF RAFF and a terrible but telling (tell 'em?) song called "Macklemore" (as in, "I'm getting money like..."). Soulja hits the Crocodile Friday, August 8, with Donte Peace, Spac3man, and DJ Swervewon.
Consider the impact the internet has had on the industry, and consider the throttling of the internet that could and would happen if Comcast and Time Warner were allowed to merge. For us to be in the midst of this disgusting, supremacy-fueled war—you know, the war going on outside no one is safe from (especially if you're poor, brown, or born in the wrong place)—in the midst of all this horror and hopelessness, for the only truly worldwide tool of communication (yes, the same one that brought us "Crank Dat") to be hamstrung and reshaped for profit, not to mention used to relentlessly spy on everybody, is scary shit on top of scary shit. Ad infinitum. So remember that, and remember that you can speak up about it. And about whatever you feel moved to. Really, you have to, with the bandwidth you're allotted, or you'll be drowned out by the drones. Or the fucking Blue Angels, who soar above my head even now in their million-dollar war machines.
Folks who've been good at talking shit to power include NY's Chris Palko, aka Cage, playing the Vera Friday, August 8, with Sadistik and Maulskull. Even better at this would be Run the Jewels, the duo of Killer Mike and Cage's old Weathermen buddy El-P, playing the Showbox on Saturday, August 9—the snippet of their new song "Blockbuster Night Part 1" and the warnings of the soon-to-come RTJ2 should let you know that their elephantine footprints will be soon sinking into chests everywhere. Still, I hope Killa Kill gets some of his older solo joints in the mix. Always a good time to hear "Burn."