Thanx 4 Da Add: How Soulja Boy Hacked Mainstream Music

Kevin Driscoll, Comparative Media Studies, MIT
Harvard-MIT-Yale Cyberscholar Working Group
November 7, 2007
Updated: December 13, 2007


Armed with a camcorder, a computer, and a high-speed internet connection, Soulja Boy triggered the hottest dance craze since the macarena with a single video blog post to his MySpace page. More than a series of dance steps, "Crank Dat" became an empowering stage upon which innumerable participants found safe space to perform their identities, signify their communities, and represent their localities. Fueled by a wealth of edits, remixes, and fan videos, the unsigned Soulja Boy ruled mainstream radio all summer before a major label deal came knocking. We'll examine the origins of the craze, watch dozens of DIY music videos, and discuss the events following his signing.


Kevin Driscoll joined the Comparative Media Studies program after three years of teaching Computer Science at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge, MA. There he explored issues of identity management, media production, literacy, hacking, and hip-hop with the consistently brilliant students in grades 6-12. Inspired by a challenging first year in the classroom, Kevin co-founded a non-profit organization called TeachForward (later re-named Developing Curriculum, Inc.) to encourage the sharing and development of high-quality, free learning materials on the web. In addition to his work in education. Kevin is a frequent collaborator with internet-based artist Claire Chanel and a hip-hop DJ responsible for Gold Chain and Todo Mundo events. He earned his BA in Visual Art from Assumption College in 2002. His website can be found at

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0. Intro

1. Soulja Boy Story

2. Fan Videos



Groups/ Teams

Alone in a room

Remix Video

Remix Song and Step



4. Major Vid

5. Next up?