Our deep dive into the credits for Beyoncé's liner notes turned up some gems, but I was particularly interested in Soulja Boy's appearance because it illustrates just how strange the twists and turns of music industry fate can be. One day Soulja Boy is sitting at home, being a MySpace legend, and the next he's got a shot at a GRAMMY for writing on Beyoncé's album without lifting a finger, or a vocal chord.
To walk through this quickly, "songwriting" is the art of crafting melodies and words for a song. Anyone who writes the words that appear in a song (and isn't a ghostwriter) gets a songwriter credit, which also extends to direct quotes. To use one of my favorite examples, Mac Miller originally said "I ain't a player, I just crush a lot on "The Way," which is clearly a Big Pun quote. But getting approval from Big Pun's estate for the line proved to be a headache, so they asked Miller to shorten the line to just "I'm not a player I just," arguing that certainly no one could claim credit over the phrase "I'm not a player." In the video Miller even makes a point of covering his mouth and not saying the rest of the line.
But when Beyoncé says, "I hop up out the bed and get my swag on / I look in the mirror, say, "What's up?" on "Hold Up" there could clearly and obviously only be one man she's quoting. And so boom, just like that DeAndre Way has a writing credit on what could quite possibly prove to be the biggest album of the year.
Beyond his name in the album credits, that means he gets a cut of the publishing money on the album. If "Hold Up" ends up in a movie or a commercial, which could easily happen considering Beyoncé's star power, he gets paid. And furthermore, it also makes him eligible for a songwriting GRAMMY, which again considering Beyoncé's history - she's the second most awarded female artist of all-time with 20 GRAMMYs - and this album's obvious impact, could easily happen.
Are you ready to live in a world where Soulja Boy (or Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd, who also has a songwriting credit on Lemonade for "Formation") has more GRAMMYs than Nas? Are you ready for "Turn My Swag On" to indirectly win a GRAMMY? Because that's a world that's quickly approaching.
It goes to show, talent and influence certainly matter - if Soulja Boy hadn't written such a memorable line Beyoncé wouldn't have quoted it, which is the definition of good songwriting - but fate matters too. Soulja Boy planted the seeds for the lemon tree, but the lemonade was completely out of his control. Like a lot of other people on the album and on every big album, he stands to make a lot of money and win awards because his line just happened to pop into an extremely famous person's head while writing a song that just so happened to make an album that just so happened to go on to have blockbuster success.
There's really no other business that operates quite like that, even within entertainment, which is why music is the land of both crushed souls and dreams realized that were so impossible they were never even dreamed at all. So hop up out of bed and turn on your swag on Mr. Way. Destiny chose you for a reason.