OMGWTFLOL: Souljah Boy f/ Arab – “Yahhh!” (2008)
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 20, 2008
“He’s a genius, man. It’s like catching Michael Jackson he actually hit wax. It’s that kind of talent.”
When I saw that Soulja Boy’s “Yahhh!” was climbing the Hot 100, peaking last week at #48, I was a little bit scared. “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” was my #1 single of last year–and by that I don’t necessarily mean I thought it was the best, or even that it was necessarily my favorite, but rather that it simply demanded such a slot and that ranking it any other lower would be an exercise in futility. But despite what Mr. Collipark may think, Soulja Boy was not meant to be Michael Jackson–he was that rare shooting star that, to paraphrase Dr. Tyrell from Blade Runner, shone so brightly that you couldn’t really wait to look at something else. To compare him to MJ was like saying Los Del Rio had the potential for Santana’s popular longevity, or that Nena was really going to give Madonna a run for her money as the definitive pop icon of the late 20th century.
The fact that both of these comparisons are with foreign language artists is only semi-accidental. Part of the humongous appeal of Soulja Boy’s era-defining hit was how little English appeared to actually be spoken in the song. Oh, sure, there were some actual words here and there–“SUPERMAN!” “SUPER SOAK!” “YOOOOOOUUUUUU!!!“–but the great majority of the song was totally unintelligible to all but the most aurally acute linguistics experts. But that was a good thing–the lack of comprehensibility just added to the undeniable hypnosis “Crank That” put audiences under, sounding more like an alien transmisison from Mars than a crowd-pleasing club jam. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience of a song, and to repeat it would’ve just cheapened its glory.
Luckily, “Yahhh!” fell out of the top 50 this week, and now that I finally actually listened to it, I no longer fear it providing any sort of threat to “Crank That Soulja Boy”‘s supremacy. To quickly summarize, if you don’t feel like clicking the YouTube or Sendspace links, Soulja Boy and his mini-Carmelo Anthony-looking pal Arab are frustrated with bystanders’ tendency to want to talk to them about stuff, and interrupt their intrusions by shouting “YAHHH, TRICK, YAHHHH!!!!” And naturally, they encourage you to do the same.
The thing that “Yahhh!” has really helped me to understand about Soulja Boy is that he understands aboslutely nothing about music–or at least, he doesn’t care to. There’s nothing resembling a hook, a melody, an interesting lyrical turn of phrase, nothing–as with CDSB, there’s just an idea and lots of non-sensical padding. But whereas the idea of “Crank Dat” (whatever it actually was) felt new, intriguing, surreal, “Yahhh!” is nothing but assaultive and perplexing. And very, very hilarious.
“Hey Soulja Boy, can I–”
“YAHHH, TRICK, YAHHHH!!!”
Does Soulja actually advocate this practice in real life? Does he think it’ll catch on in clubs and on the streets? Does he think that this is all that music is? You do some things that don’t make any sense, you put them in a song, put a skull-poundingly monotonous synth beat under it, and boom, hit record? And even if he’s right with all this–and I refuse to believe that he is–how the hell does he justify the part in the chorus where he (or is it Mr. Collipark) just sputters out “MBUNGBAHMUGGAMAHBAH!!!” He just sounds like a crazy person. Sorry, MC, but this ain’t exactly “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”
Meanwhile, the video is yet another reasonable contender for ANDL action. Are all white people in glasses just the same to you rappers?