Album review: Soulja Boy, "The DeAndre Way"
The hip-hop boy king Soulja Boy is no longer a boy. Soulja, a.k.a. DeAndre Way, is 20 years old. And he's no longer a pop insurgent, either. Where once he wormed his way onto the airwaves with appealingly homespun productions and atavistic rapping, now he's a part of the system. His third album, "The DeAndre Way," occasionally slips into machine-like fits. The exuberant but rote "Mean Mug," a goofy bruiser with 50 Cent, bobs and weaves, rarely punching. Likewise, "Blowing Me Kisses" is perhaps the glossiest, most glib entry in his regrettable loverman oeuvre.
It's Soulja's instinct for simplicity that distinguishes him: "First Day of School" is an uncomplicated paean to the most intimidating day of the year for most kids. To Soulja, it's an opportunity to preen while keeping him firmly entrenched in the youth market. "30 Thousand 100 Million," a collaboration with manic oddball stylist Lil B, is the inversion of "First Day of School," but like all of Soulja Boy's best songs, it is effortlessly off kilter. "Pretty Boy Swag," among the most confident and spacious singles in recent memory, is little more than three keyboard notes that recall the warning beeps of a forklift moving in reverse, an echoing drum effect and Soulja's inventive rhyme style: He raps, "You party with a star we take off and go to Mars/Pretty boy take off in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." Liftoff.
Recommended Tracks: "First Day of School," "Pretty Boy Swag," "30 Thousand 100 Million"
| November 30, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
Categories: Quick spins | Tags: Soulja Boy
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