Jesse Jarnow

“crank that (soulja boy)” – soulja boy tell’em

“Crank That (Soulja Boy)” – Soulja Boy Tell’em (download) (buy)
from (2007)

released by Collipark Music/Interscope/Stacks on Deck Ent.
week of October 27, 2007
#1 this week, #1 last week, 14 weeks on chart

(file expires November 1st)

The question that “Crank That” poses is thus: can a single chord, played ad nauseam, count as a hook? Perhaps, when played at an enormous volume, the overloaded piano hit here sounds dope. Streaming through Hype Machine, though, there’s not much to it. At first, the ear moves towards it. What is it made from? Is that just piano? Is there some orchestral oomph behind it? Kettle drums, maybe? It’s almost like the way illusory melodies suddenly surface in the elongated shimmers of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music (or any other feedback session), except mega-compressed, so it goes by too quickly to distinguish. Ultimately, though, who cares? Yeah, a single chord can probably carry a song (any suggestions?), but not this one. Not nearly weird enough. It’s kind of lame, as big chords go. I do like the layered vocals, though only as a potential source for cascading/refracted remixes.

I also like that his album is called, that the album is indistinguishable from the project as a whole — which now includes 179,295 streamable answering machine messages from, er, Soulja Girls — one medium pointing at another. More, I like that the Soulja Boy concept is embedded at every level — the song title, the album title, the artist name, in the lyrics, etc..

1 Comment

  1. ben weidner says: - reply

    I have figured out that the sound on “crank that” is the steel drum patch on a synth. As a die-hard beat maker, I almost wanted to give up when this track became a hit. I realized that in today’s world of soldier boys and UGK’s, beats just don’t matter that much. Then, I gained a respect for the track, when I began to feel how raw and primal it is – like real old school southern call and response stuff. I know its probably politically incorrect, coming from a dude who looks like me, but this shit sounds like field songs. You can almost see John Henry swinging the hammer.

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