How YouTube Helped Soulja Boy Achieve His Success and Wealth

Quick Facts

  • Net Worth: $30 million
  • Date of Birth: 28/07/1990
  • Gender: Male
  • Height: 172.7 cm (5 ft 8)
  • Career: Entertainer, rapper, entrepreneur
  • Born: Chicago, USA
  • Currently lives: California, USA

With a net worth of around $30 million, there’s little doubt Soulja Boy is one of the most successful rappers out there. While the bulk of his money has come from rapping he’s also proven himself as a record producer, has some acting credit to his name and has multiple business ventures.

But what did YouTube have to do with his success? Well, as we’ll come to find out, Soulja Boy’s willingness to test new methods of music distribution probably was instrumental in the success he has today. But we’ll come back to this.  

The 32-year-old got his first big break when his debut single, “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” reached number one on the charts in September 2007.

The hit single stayed in the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States for seven non-consecutive weeks.

Despite some record failures, Soulja Boy has been successful in his music business since then.

Soulja Boy Net Worth

Early Life

Named DeAndre Cortez Way when he was born on July 28, 1990, he later became known as Soulja Boy Tell’ Em before shortening the name to just Soulja Boy.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, when he was six. It was then that his father noticed his fascination with rap music. 

He eventually built Way a recording studio, and at the age of fifteen, Way posted his first songs on the website SoundClick.

He also began using social media as an avenue to get his music out and is known as the first rapper to harness the exposure of internet sites to launch his music career. 

Way became a MySpace and YouTube sensation, and his Superman dance moves were a hit online and off.

Music Career

Way released his first album Unsigned and Still Major: Da Album Before da Album in March 2007, which launched his profitable business career.

“Crank That” included dance moves that became an overnight internet hit, and the song accrued more digital downloads than any other song at that time.

The American rapper gets credit for paving the way for other artists in the hip hop and rap community by creating his path to fame on social media.

“Crank That” was nominated at the Grammys for Best Rap Song. This was no small feat for an artist who wasn’t yet critically acclaimed or signed by a major record label.

He did end up with Interscope Records, the same record label that signed Eminem, Billie Eilish, and Lady Gaga.

His following two albums fell flat, but he found significant success by releasing mixtapes between 2011 and 2014. He also released eight studio albums from 2007 to 2021.

Some of his mixtapes and EPs are listed here:

All Black (EP) (2013), Super Dope (2014), King Soulja 3 (2014), Loyalty (2015), King Soulja 4 (2015), Stacks On Deck (2016), Better Late Than Never (2016), Rich Soulja 4 Life (2016), King Soulja 7 (2016), King Soulja 8 (2018), Best to Ever Do It (2018), Young Drako (2018), King (2018), Fuego (2019), King Soulja 9 (2020), Swag 3 (2020), Soulja World (2021), I Was The First Rapper (2021), Big Draco 2 (2021).

Album sales, YouTube channel views, and music downloads contribute to his $30 million net worth.

Record Label

In 2004, Way founded Stacks on Deck Entertainment (SODMG), his own record label. He signed various artists, but on May 30, 2016, it was announced he had dropped all of them.

Three years later, Way re-signed Lil 100, among other artists.

Way is known to take a personal interest in advising the young and aspiring artists signed by his record label.

His plan includes coaching them on their music and promotion techniques and showing them how to grow their fan base using social media.

Music Salary Highlights

Soulja Boy made $6 million in 2010 and was named one of Hip-Hops Top 20 Earners by Forbes. He had his most lucrative year in 2012 when he made over $7 million. Forbes gave him the title of one of the “Hip Hop Cash Kings” of the year.

Other Business Ventures

Soulja Boy expanded his career beyond the music world to include revenue from his business ventures and acting jobs. He has two clothing lines, S.O.D. Clothing and BLVD

He also appeared in six movies and thirteen television shows, including Late Night With Jimmy Falon, Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, and more.

The Game (2009) as Ray Ray 

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (2009) as a musical guest 

School Gyrls (2009) as himself 

Officer Down (2013) as Rudy 

David’s Vlog (2016) 

Brand Endorsements

Soulja Boy earns part of his income through brand endorsements. In 2016, he signed a five-year contract with World Poker Fund Holdings, worth $400 million.

He is expected to tap into his network and fanbase to promote the company and was chosen because of his influence on social media.

The rapper has over 7.1 million followers on his Instagram account. Brands such as Nova Men have hired him to promote their products to his followers, and income from brand deals contribute to his overall net worth.

Legal Issues

Way got into trouble with the law for running from police. While in Atlanta, Georgia, Way was filming a video in an abandoned house.

He was ordered to stop, but failed to do so. Way was arrested on October 7, 2009, and released on a $550 bond.

Personal Life

The rapper has endured challenges in his personal life. Way’s younger brother, Deion Jenkins, was killed in a car crash on March 22, 2011.

Way had a near-death experience on December 30, 2008, when he was beaten and robbed in his home. Soulja Boy told MTV News that he came home late one night when the assailants busted open the door and aimed an AK-47 at his friend’s head.

Although first reports said six men were wielding AK-47s, the day after the attack, a video was released online by two men taking sole credit for the crime. 

Soulja Boy had his face tattooed for the first time when he was 16 years old. However, he did not want to be typecast as a gangster or drug dealer in movie roles he hopes to land and had all of his face tattoos removed in 2020.

Real Estate

Soulja Boy also invests in real estate. He owns a home in Agoura Hills, California, just outside of Los Angeles that was reportedly worth $4.8 million at the time of purchase.

He formerly owned a home in McDonough, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. He sold that property in 2010.

What is the Secret to Soulja Boy’s Sucess?

His YouTube Fame has Generated Thousands

Although most of us associate Soulja Boy with rap music, that’s not the only thing that’s caused him to gain financial wealth. 

One of those things was rising to fame on the popular video platform YouTube. Long before rappers and artists became famous on Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok, YouTube was the real deal.

It was the main outlet where music videos were initially released. 

Soulja Boy realized this early in the game and was one of the first rappers to take advantage of this platform. “Crank That,” the song he produced in 2007, became a YouTube hit, inspiring many fun dance challenges.

Thanks to that YouTube success, Soulja Boy continues to earn ad revenue from his YouTube channels!

He Created a Game Console System

Aside from his music career and brand endorsements, Way is also a proud game console owner. In 2018, he showed his competition with Xbox and PlayStation by launching a line of video game consoles!

Despite their initial success, a huge scandal surrounding the consoles arose with false advertising and unlicensed games.  

This, however, did not stop Way. In 2021, he became famous in the gaming industry during the release of TRDR Pocket, the Soulja Boy Game Edition. 

Way also reported that Atari, Google, and Nintendo tried collaborating with him. As of today, Soulja Boy is still the only rapper to launch a gaming system.

And, it seems to have served him well as the profits from his game consoles continue to generate revenue for the rap star. 

He Was the First Rapper to Become Instagram Verified

Becoming verified on Instagram has always been one of the goals for most popular icons. Not only does it showcase its success online, but it also is a major source of ad revenue and brand partnerships. 

On Instagram Live in 2021, Way confirmed he was the first rapper to receive Instagram’s blue badge beside his username. He also stated that just having that little badge convinced his fans that they needed to donate cash to him!

The donations, brand partnerships, and newfound ad revenue that came with the badge all boosted Soulja Boy’s net worth. 

Soulja Boy’s Feud With Ice-T Brought in Big Bucks

They say that news sells, and that theory can certainly be put to the test in the case of Soulja Boy. 

You see, things haven’t always been sunshine and rainbows for the famous rapper. His hit song, “Crank That,” got criticisms from Ice-T, a legend in the mixtape industry. Ice-T called his song garbage when compared to artists like Das EFX and Ice Cube. 

Soulja Boy, wanting to add to the flame, responded by releasing a Youtube video. He mocked Ice-T’s age, which made the latter criticize his music releases even more. 

Kanye West came to the rescue when he defended Way and said that Soulja Boy was only trying to reveal his true personality through his music. Soulja Boy ended the feud when he bought gigantic popcorn machines for Ice-T. 

Despite shelling out a bit of money on the popcorn machines of peace, Soulja Boy’s YouTube feud garnered him tons of views. Those views translated into likes, comments, and cold hard cash revenue online. 

He Launched His Own Soap Shop

One of Way’s most unusual revenue sources is actually a business selling soap!

You see, in 2019, he franchised The Soap Shop in order to make a bit of cash on the side. According to him, detergents and soaps are used every day. So, why not create a business out of them?

Operations of Way’s business runs in Southaven, Mississippi, and the shop offers wholesale products sold at retail prices. 

Despite being owned by a famous rapper, the detergent company didn’t kick off right away. During his first few months, sales were pretty low. 

But that didn’t stop Way! TMZ reported that The Soap Shop had an increase in its overall profit during the pandemic. It had at least a thirty percent overall increase, having sold more than 3,000 cleaning products. 

TMZ also reported that this was actually record-breaking for the brand. 

Soulja Boy’s Cannabis Brand

Soulja Boy’s ventures out of the music industry don’t stop with soap and game consoles. The rap star also established a cannabis brand in collaboration with Grizzly Peak.

The shop opened in 2021, and Way personally chose the brand he wanted to collaborate with. According to the famous rapper, Grizzly Peak consistently delivers high-quality cannabis he believes in. 

Soulja Boy also uses medical marijuana to help calm him down to function better and relax. The rapper depended on it so he could focus on making more music and videos. 

He wanted to share something that had helped him out in tough times with his fans. Luckily for him, it seems to be going well, as he claims it’s helped him earn $100k daily

More Articles From Wealthy Living

This was produced and syndicated by Wealthy Living.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock