Wonder kid Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em has a knack for pissing certain people off, mostly an older set who look at his stupid-fun brand of rap as everything wrong with music today. Now the 19-year-old booty-meat aficionado has managed to piss off a whole new group of people – anime otakus.
DeAndre Cortez Way recently released a slew of songs about anime, most prominently “Anime” (video at the top of the page). It’s a typical Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em track which is to say it’s a joyously dumb banger by, as Prefix perfectly sums him up, “19-year old millionaire whose only responsibilities are smoking weed, playing videogames and writing raps about whatever pops into his mind.” “Anime” finds the youngster comparing himself to nearly every character from Dragonball Z and boasting about his “Pickachu diamonds” like proto-Gucci Mane. Continuing with this Japan-centric theme, his latest mixtape is called Death Note which is apparently an anime. Here’s the title track.
Many have dismissed “Anime” and its ilk as being bad songs which…fine, taste is taste. I think “Turn My Swag On” should be in the Smithsonian right now, but I understand that some may not be as fond of youth-charge dumb rap-sing as I am. Still, the hardcore anime community hates Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s newest songs for reasons that go way beyond taste.
Bakaism gets the ball rolling by busting out a vintage WCW gimmick by calling Soulja Boy an “american (c)rap artist” before saying some guy who wraps about Naruto being a far superior artist. It’s over at Japanator, though, where things get nutty. Let’s start with this post, where the author wonders “Is this good for anime or (and probably the right answer IMO) BAD for anime.” Others chime in:
“I REALLY hope I DO NOT end up seeing something I personally like, a lot, become something so disgusting and mundane by idiotic fools like him and the guys holding his puppet strings.”
“I say we send him to Mars, and nuke him from Orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” (How reasonable!)
” Na, just turn on the “KYON-KUN DENWA~! Never Ending Remix” on infinite play, sink him into the bottom of the ocean and let him rot. Much cheaper.” (O___o)
Japanator’s main post on the subject reveals the true hang-ups of the otaku community. Sift through the various “facepalm” and “he’s a bad rapper” comments and you’ll find the ones peeved by something else, anime cred.
“and i love how he did a round up of all the adult swim anime and calls himself the anime master. lol but he leaves out bleach? i guess he’s a REAL anime fan since he doesn’t watch one of the big shounen titles.”
“He should have just called this ‘Adult Swim’.”
In a move typically associated with indie rock fans, a lot of otakus reject Soulja Boy for not liking the right anime. Like myself, it seems Soulja’s main exposure to “cartoons from Japan” came via Toonami (and, eventually, the same block of programming featuring a show starring a talking meatball). His decision to mostly reference “mainstream anime” seems to bother a more hardcore sect of fans, the same way hipsters (supposedly) scoff someone claiming Death Cab For Cutie as “underground.” It’s the classic “I know more obscure stuff, I’m better than you” technique lots of people aligning with specific sub-cultures sometimes fall back on.
This attitude reflects the otaku crowd’s harping on “authenticity.” The Japanator crowd also attacked Hiroshima electro-pop trio Perfume’s 2009 album Triangle for not allowing the singer’s personalities to come through and being to “produced.” Whereas Perfume were bashed primarily for musical reasons, the “authenticity” crowd attacks Soulja Boy’s anime references…along with his musical approach.
Others seem repulsed by Soulja Boy even liking anime in the first place.
“Great. First he ruined music. Then he ruined video games by talking about Braid. Now he’s ruined anime. What else will he ruin in my life?”
“Huh. So today’s the day I stop loving anime. Wasn’t expecting that.”
“Souja boy loves anime: because there aren’t already enough reasons to kill myself.”
Some take it to the whiniest, meanest extremes.
“Proof that natural selection is little more than a passing phrase to be used in history books.”
“I wonder of he even knows, or cares, how much he has just set back the legitimacy of anime as intelligent entertainment. I wish this guy would suck an exhaust pipe.”
“The songs are horrifically bad, even for “solja boy”, almost as bad as his name. He like anime, great, who cares, he doesn’t need to rape peoples ears telling us about it. In the words of Thugnifficent “he can eat a dick”!”
How come they can embrace a Japanese art but Soulja Boy can’t? What gives these non-Japanese folks the right to claim superiority over a rapper? Only in one instance does the commentary enter truly dicey territory, courtesy of poster Mari Hikiko’s near-racist commentary. Can you spot it?
“..BUT. Have you ever hated someone SO MUCH because of there sheer SHALLOWNESS and STUPIDITY… that if they had anything in common with you, you’d literally PUKE??! Soulder-Monkey here not only makes anime sound like some idiotic “swag” thing, he managed to make ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE expressing his like for it! “
A large part of this alarmist response to “Anime,” though, seems to stem from the idea anime is being co-opted by rap. Various posters point to similar anime references in the videos of Kanye West and the music of Lupe Fiasco.
“I’d like to see Soulja Boy influence the rap community (see: wiggers) and see a bunch of kids trying to be tough with their Naruto headbands.”
“you know what.. it won’t be long until we have a sea of posers running around pretending they are ‘into’ anime and otaku stuff now, just to say their unique and hip. I guarantee that this idiot could market his newfound craze to his silly brainless followers, and eventually it will be an epidemic, much like the silly scene kids with their vampire obsessions….
but for all those who are with anime for the long run can relax, because this much is certain- this anime “faze” WILL die out, hopefully along with rappers pretending they are “rockstars”.”
“He can like anime, w/e! But one thing I notice about the trendy rap scene is just that– trends. I remember when I was in highschool, there was a new fad going around to wear Dora Explora backpacks, and that was considered, “SWAGGER”? Later on in highschool, I remember the same kids making fun of boys who wear skinny jeans, and the as soon as rap tried to go “punk”, guess who was wearing skinny jeans?”
“So it’s fine i guess that he’s into anime, I recommend anime to most ppl anyway, but to publicize it in this fashion is just–embarrassing. (lol, I guess my previous comment was a bit far-fetched. I meant I don’t like the idea of Soulja Boy being one of the celebrity faces of Anime fans in America.)”
First…did anyone every wear “Dora Explora” backpacks as a trend? Secondly, these types of commenters seem to be going off the assumption Kanye and Lupe have made anime cool in the hip-hop community. They didn’t…they nearly dipped their toes in it. Lupe most famously rapped about Lupin The Third while guesting on West’s “Touch The Sky,” and has since moved onto…talking cheeseburgers? Kanye, meanwhile, spent only one album (Graduation) messing with anime, and immediately moved on to being sad and, presently, being angry.
“Anime” won’t propel, uh, anime any further in the public spotlight, so otakus shouldn’t worry about their sub-culture being invaded by rap-heads. Which…good for them? If they don’t want more people becoming fans of what they enjoy, they shouldn’t worry. I just don’t get why they wouldn’t want more people to like what they like…or, more accurately, not view it as a weird sub-culture. There loss.