By Colin Gallant
CALGARY — It started as a joke. Well, kind of. Edmonton’s Hood Joplin (legal name withheld at the artist’s request) and Barnaby Bennett of Calgary were “kushed tf out” and getting deep into discussion about their genuine love for DeAndre Cortez Way—best known to the world as Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em. They decided to challenge themselves to create a 160 bpm-track in 30 minutes or less using only a Soulja Boy sample pack. They were surprisingly satisfied with the results, invited other producers from the province to give it a whirl and SOULJALBERTA was born.
Full disclosure: Bennett and I once worked together, and our first ever conversation was about Soulja Boy. Whether or not you like the artist behind the “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” song and dance craze, you can’t deny his influence or ability as an entrepreneur. Soulja Boy went viral before that was even a thing. Every trace of his music was laden with his web address, earning him perhaps the first title as a “url rapper.” Kanye West once remarked “Soulja Boy is fresh as hell and is actually the true meaning of what hip hop is s’posed to be. He came from the hood, made his own beats, made up a new saying, new sound and a new dance with one song. He had all of America rapping this summer. If that ain’t hip hop then what is?”
Yeezy has always been a vocal Soulja Boy supporter and even has something in common with HJ and Bennett: this very sample pack. Soulja’s signature “youuuu!” is incorporated into West’s “Facts” from The Life of Pablo. HJ says that the project is “so fucking dumb” but simultaneously “the best.” The symbiosis of these qualities are what makes SOULJALBERTA, Kanye West and even Soulja himself so lovable. It doesn’t have to make sense to sound good.
Shout out SODMG!AB, Alberta, compilation, Soulja Boy, SOULJALBERTA