As soon as I heard about Soulja Boy and Chris Brown’s beef, a part of me inside was thinking something along the lines of “God I hope these guys fight.”
I got my wish. The two have agreed to duke it out this March, with legends in the boxing world coaching them; Floyd Mayweather for Soulja and Mike Tyson for Brown.
As ridiculously petty as the origins of the beef are (Brown allegedly slandered Soulja for liking the former’s ex on Instagram), I can’t help but put on my foil hat and assume this is all some elaborate ruse planned months in advance by the two in order to gain some publicity. Or perhaps it’s legit, and the two really don’t like each other and are counting the days until they face off in the ring.
Chris brown just called me and said he wanna fight me because I liked @karrueche picture on Instagram this nigga a bitch 😂😂😂😂
— Soulja Boy 😎 (@souljaboy) January 3, 2017
The only thing I DO know about all this: Soulja Boy is a genius.
Much ado is made about Soulja’s rise to fame as arguably the first rapper to take advantage of the Internet’s then-budding social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter and make it big. His success was the first of its kind, where connection with fans and constantly doling out content trumped how many A&Rs you had in your corner.
Once “Crank That” started to take off, Soulja began to get the inevitable criticism that comes from being a teenage rapper. In a review of his debut album (poignantly titled Souljaboytellem.com), Tyler Munro of Sputnikmusic ended the piece as frankly as possible: “Fuck you, Soulja Boy. Fuck you with a motherfucking stick.” Hip hop legend Ice T took it a step further, saying the teenager “singlehandedly ruined hip-hop” and even threatened to punch him in the face.
All this criticism made Soulja even more ignorant than a successful teenager would already be. “I wasn’t making it for everybody to like me,” he said to The Washington Post. And while the rapper is certainly not everyone’s favorite, to him it doesn’t matter.
Why? Because he’s always in the news. It doesn’t matter if it’s not about music. You’re always hearing about him, whether he’s releasing a new app, signing “$400 million deals” or starting beefs with your favorite rapper. His ability to maintain his relevancy by either acting a fool, stretching the truth and so on is what keeps the checks coming.
This fight is just another genius strategy for another payday. While the venue still is yet to be determined, the 26-year-old is poised to make a killing from the possible Pay-Per-View audience the brawl is sure to amass. That means even if he gets his ass kicked, he’ll still walk away with an enormous check and even more public notoriety.
There’s a reason Soulja is worth an estimated $23 million. More than just a rapper, he’s a businessman who knows opportunity when he sees one. He saw that rap beefs were back in style and turned his dislike of Chris Brown into a chance to add to his already impressive wealth. And by turning his rants of having “150 shooters in Atlanta,” into the ‘Soulja Boy Challange,’ meme, it makes his haters even more furious. If only there was a way they could pay to watch him possibly get his ass kicked…
Of course there’s still the possibility that it’s all a big sham for publicity. I mean, Soulja did promise an album for this year, so perhaps this is all a stunt; a flim flam marketing tactic in order to boost first week sales.
But even if the fight never happens, guess what? He’s more popular than he was prior, which should equate to more appearances and bookings, which means more money in his pocket. At the very least, it should boost his album sales.
So while I’m pretty indifferent towards Soulja Boy, I will definitely be watching this fight – the storylines are too intriguing to miss. And while his haters will certainly be hoping he gets – as Smokey from Friday would say – knocked THE FUCK out, the only thing Soulja cares about is the money they paid to see it happen.