The internet is involved in everything at this point in our lives. With the internet came internet humor, or memes. Rick Rolling, Bad Luck Brian, One Does Not Simply…, Grumpy Cat, Catch Me Outside, Shaggy, Overly Attached Girlfriend, the list goes on forever. So began a trend to get laughs and with a simple format most people could copy and duplicate with subtle changes and away it went. This idea has grown fairly significantly from quiet internet humor to marketing campaigns, movie runs, even presidential advertisements. If you want to reach the ‘youth’ you use memes, and an unknown in the music industry figured that out right around 10 years ago. A man by the name of DeAndre Cortez Way, aka Soulja Boy, came along with a little song and dance by the name of “Crank Dat”. Soulja Boy was the first artist to create a viral internet hit, and so many have followed his formula since.
When you think back about 10 years, you realize when you were using Limewire you were creating the trend of Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and SoundCloud. Soulja Boy realized that he could upload his song “Crank Dat” under the names of other popular songs to trick people into downloading his song. This by default lead them listen to his song, which turned into a 7 week run as the #1 song in America. This had literally never been done before, and it was done by a 17 year old kid using FL Studio. This unknown kid rapper happened to be more clever than record labels and advertising gurus who get paid millions for those results.
Let’s fast forward, #MannequinChallenge, #InMyFeelingsChallenge, #TheRunningManChallenge, #BowWowChallenge, and the list goes on. This has only gotten bigger, more frequently seen, and much, much cornier. It’s much easier to spot now, it’s inorganic and forced. Picture back to Hilary Clinton doing the mannequin challenge and hitting dabs and try not to cringe. As time goes on we aren’t just interested with a song and dance, it’s been done before. Now there is Instagram, the live video, and a new wave of meme creation. Who else to really take this and make a career out of it then a young kid from the Bronx a Mr. Daniel Hernandez, aka Tekashi69.
He is really the greatest meme creator I have ever seen. The guy has no reason to be where he is, he was just into fashion and gathered a following on Instagram for this outfit.
Thus starting his ability to just get in front of the camera and his laundry list of quotable memes, “Stoopid”, “I’m not gonna let you get the chance”, back and forths with 50Cent, fighting on Instagram Live with Trippie Redd, all to keep his name in our mouths. What’s crazy about this particular case is the internet fame came before the music, and he got himself a few top 10 songs out of it. Sadly for Daniel he let this idea go too far. While glowing up on the Internet, he got involved in gangs, started problems with Chief Keef, and even going so far as to go to Chicago O-Block and post videos a day later acting as if they were in real time, just to keep his meme going, and now he’s looking at some real jail time.
Most of the time when music is created through these formats, the music is not long lasting, nor is the artist, as we will see with these guys like Tekashi69, Famous Dex, the life of their careers is about as long as their Instagram videos. But somehow Souljia Boy continues to be an outlier as his career is now 10 years strong. Producing multiple albums, a gaming platform, dances, and hits, he proves his longevity. Most recently he’s being meme’d out from a quote from his Breakfast Club interview, “DRAAAAAKE?!?!?” Who knows what it will be next, but if there is an internet you better believe there will be a Soulja Boy. The meme life is never going to stop as long as Twitter and Instagram control our lives. Catch Me Outside Girl, aka Bad Bhabie, aka Danielle Bregoli is the next big one, more will come, they’ll follow a tried and true method that will get them that quick viral hit of fame, but as far as I see it the greatest of all time to do this will always be Souljia.