Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

“Crank Dat” Participation

Posted by Drake Kizer on March 29, 2017

Today’s readings were a compilation of essays from the Spreadable Media website. The switch from our textbook back to the online platform was definitely not unwanted from my perspective. This break from the textbook was quite enjoyable to me, but I’m sure it will be short-lived yet again. I noticed that the collection of essays was situated under the  “What Constitutes Meaningful Participation?” heading on the syllabus, which means that our class’s focus is staying put for a little while longer, and that should lead to good discussion.

There was a total of five different essays for us to read in this section, and while they all were interesting and engaging, the one that stuck out to me the most was “Soulja Boy and Dance Crazes” by Kevin Driscoll. I vividly remember the early 2000s rise of southern hip-hop and its “innovative sounds and styles”. So-called gangsta rap was on its way out, and the music industry was telling “listeners to get “loose” and move their bodies” to the new sound of snap music. Snap’s “minimal drum programming and repetitive lyrics” was very easy for aspiring artists to replicate, which allowed them to craft meaningful participation to the movement.

Soulja Boy Tell ’Em was one of those young artists producing snap music, and his song, “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)”, was actually part of a series of songs fellow users on Soundclick, a music-sharing website, had posted. Soulja Boy’s take on the “Crank Dat” craze was by far the most popular, and the song, which “[incorporated’ a looping steel-pan melody, a catchy refrain, and his own quirky slang” rose to the top of music charts worldwide. Anyone under the age of 25 definitely remembers the first time they heard the song, and perhaps their attempts to replicate the song’s corresponding dance. The article mentions that early on, Soulja Boy was hardly even a music artist due to the fact that he made one hit song, and then “acted as curator, cheerleader, and embodied symbol for the collective “Crank Dat” phenomenon”, which is a fantastic point I’d never realized.


One Response to ““Crank Dat” Participation”

  1. jacobkaraglanis said

    I enjoyed your blog post. I also like how you mentioned that anyone under twenty-five remembers the first time they heard the song. I even mentioned my first encounter with it in my blog post. I also think it’s funny that while I was at Dance Big Red this weekend, they played “Crank That” and literally every person in the room did the dance with absolutely no issue. So I find it comical that even now the song still sticks so well.

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