Hip Hop History: Soulja Boy Trolls Limewire
Before we had the reliability and subscription costs of Spotify and Apple Music, we had the highly illegal, but very free Limewire. If you’re too young, too old, or too scared to infect your mom’s computer with a porn virus (which is what I did once when downloading an Owl City joint at age 13) to know the magic of Limewire then you probably were one of the lucky few to not get trolled by Soulja Boy.
Limewire was a pretty unregulated program which you downloaded onto your computer that served as platform which allowed users to upload files of music to Limewire and download any song to their computer to put on their iPod Nano’s at no charge.
This was a great way to get around having to pay .99 cents for your favorite Britney Spears single or Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, but some geniuses had other plans for it.
The mastermind behind one of the best dance songs of all time, “Crank That”, was also the mastermind behind one of the greatest lime wire trolls ever too. Although you may remember him for the iconic Superman dance craze he spawned or his beef with Chris Brown, his biggest contribution to hip hop history is the fact that he made “Crank That” a hit by trolling via Limewire.
Here is what the sneaky teen would do: Soulja would pay attention to what was popular and getting a lot of downloads on Limewire at the time. He would then upload a file to Limewire but title it whatever was popping on the site at the time. Sometimes it’d be Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and sometimes it’d be “Thnks fr th Mmrs” by Fall Out Boy, but once dowloaded it was never what the listener was expecting.
This is how “Crank That” became a hit 10 years ago when Soulja was only 16. Users would download the new song they heard on the radio that afternoon and then when they went to play it it would be something totally different. Here’s the thing though: in 2007, “Crank That” didn’t totally suck and people actually liked what they heard. They’d keep listening and then eventually use Google to figure out who had tricked them and download the actual version of the record.
Looking back we can all admit that we should have listened to the tracks before downloading them and we can also admit that “Crank That” was and still is a very important track (though it’s not very good), but this all worked in Soulja’s favor and for that, I salute him.