Soulja Boy's riding high. Beyoncé just quoted him, and a little time and distance from the "Crank Dat" days has us appreciating just how large of an impact he made on hip-hop and the modern music climate.
In fact, apparently things are going so well for Soulja that he's just signed a $400 million deal with some unknown entity, a "fact" much of the media has swallowed like a frat boy choking on a tequila worm.
At best outlets threw a "reportedly" or "allegedly" into the headline. "Soulja Boy Has Signed a $400 Million Deal" Complex wrote as if it was an absolute fact. "Soulja Boy Has Allegedly Signed a $400 Million Deal" wrote HypeTrak without bothering to even ask an extraordinarily simple question: How could that possibly be true? It doesn't take some deep investigative journalism to quickly see just how astronomically absurd that number is.
First, while Soulja Boy hasn't said who the deal is with, we know it's not with a record label. Forgetting that he's currently already signed to Universal Music Group, there's not a label on Earth with the kind of money to do any deal even approaching that amount, period. By comparison, Lil Wayne's 2009 deal with Cash Money/Universal, which he signed at the peak of his multi-platinum selling power and back when people still bought CDs, maxed out at $150 million. So clearly Soulja's $400 million isn't coming from music.
Ok, so how about on the corporate endorsement side? Everyone knows there's no money in music, maybe he's linked up with some some other giant corporation for a big payday? Again, just some quick context shows just how unbelievable a $400 million deal would be. To use recent examples and someone in Soulja Boy's age demographic, Drake (aka Mr. More Popular Than Beyonce) just signed a deal with Apple Music worth a reported $20 million, and his deal with Nike was worth a reported $10 million. I got a D in high school algebra and even I know those numbers are less than 400.
Let's go back in history a bit then and look at some of music history's other biggest deals. Jay Z, hip-hop's leading businessman, did a deal with Live Nation in 2008 worth $150 million, the bulk of that money coming from expected touring earnings. Diddy, hip-hop's other richest man, has turned Ciroc into one of the most popular alcohol brands on the planet, and he did it for a deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million. The only thing that comes close to Soulja's reported windfall is Dr. Dre's reported earnings from the Beats/Apple deal, which came out to just upwards of $400 million.
I'd be happy to see Soulja Boy win a GRAMMY for his songwriting credit on Beyoncé's album, what an awesome example of his often under-rated influence on hip-hop culture. And I hope he makes enough money to set up not just himself, but his family for generations to come. But it feels almost ridiculous to have to point out that there's just no way Soulja signed a deal worth four times what Diddy made with Ciroc, 20 times what Drake's deal with Apple Music was worth and approximately the same as Dr. Dre got for Beats.
As always, if history proves me wrong I'll print out this article and eat it. (Seriously, please, bookmark this page and hit me up later and shove it in my face.) But in the meantime I'll still be here, trying to find a way to inspire people to chase their financial dreams without sliding into insanity.