Meeting Derek Jeter And Soulja Boy Tell’em

Derek Jeter
Back in the U.K., the names David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Wayne Rooney are household names known by every man, woman and child from London to Edinburgh. But out here, those names — perhaps with the exception of Becks — are pretty much unknown to the majority of the United States. They're footballers, by the way ... no, not NFL players ... English football ... I'll say it, but only this once ... soccer. Instead, names like Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez and T.O. are the big shots out here. When I first got here, one of the first things I did was go to a baseball game ... and I was pretty much hooked. I started getting into American football, basketball and baseball pretty quick, and for a while, I've been waiting for a day that all the hours I've spent watching ESPN would finally pay off.

Well, they finally did, when I met one of America's best sportsmen of all time: Derek Jeter.

Next up came another person who I had yet to meet. Soulja Boy Tell'em's single "Crank That" was an infectious club banger and a monster international hit that most recently became the highest-selling digital download OF ALL TIME. I mean, that's big! Top that off with just under 700,000 copies of the album sold and the 17-year-old Soulja Boy is off to a good start. I don't know if it's the song's hook, the dance or just clever business strategy — but whatever it is, it's worked so far. Beyoncé has found a way to work the Soulja Boy dance into her recent tour and thousands of people from all over the world have posted their own versions on YouTube. CNN even did a piece on the Soulja Boy sensation, and type his name into YouTube and you'll see that over 30 MILLION people (yes, 30,000,000) have viewed the official video. The track and the artist are official. I watched with my own eyes as one of the world's most respected (and coolest) actors Denzel Washington did the Soulja Boy dance live on "TRL" ... that's BIG. But with his undeniable hit, comes the inevitable backlash and critics going as far as to say that Soulja Boy is "everything that is wrong with hip-hop at the moment." Even the MTV hip-hop brain trust, who are currently beginning discussions about the next controversial top 10 list, aren't all in agreement that Soulja Boy should be included. In my view, it's still the early days for Soulja Boy's career — so criticisms of being a one-hit wonder with no lyrical content are kind of premature. But with his second follow-up single "Soulja Girl" following in the same vein, they might have a point ... for now. Can he ever put out a track bigger than his debut — or has he peaked too early? And without lyrical content, should he be included in the next top 10 Hottest MCs in the Game list? Is he everything that is wrong with hip-hop at the moment? With an artist like Soulja Boy having the biggest-selling digital download of all time — is hip-hop dead? What do you think?

Regardless, the MySpace hits don't lie, and that's a good enough reason to put this guy in the hot seat, so last week I sat down with Soulja Boy to give him a chance to put forward his side of the story.

(After all, the kid must be bored of showing people how to do that dance in every interview he does.)

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