Soulja Boy's Superman Subversion

09 Jan 2008

“Crank That” content occupies 5 of the top 100 YouTube videos. Advertising and Academia have written great articles and case studies about the Soulja Boy phenomenon. Even Disney let copyrights slide to join the party. Yup, it’s a new media coup.

So…the line “Superman dat (h)o!” means? It aint just some nonsensical wordplay.

Last fall there was a flurry in the blogosphere about the lyrical ‘translation’, but it didn’t go viral, so the song and the artist have not been outcast by corporate America.

The song/dance has remixed past the point of authorial intent, so the fact that people age 6-66 are Cranking in the classroom and at halftime is not really a prob, just really funny. It’s another example of hip-hop subverting dominant linguistic paradigms while working within it. Like in 2003 how Dave Chappelle and Lil’ Jon had millions of Americans blindly saying Skeet Skeet. Or in the late 90’s when LL Cool J slipped a FUBU ad into the text of a Gap TV spot – LL says on camera “For Us, By Us, on the low”. It flew under the radar of both the client and the agency, whom I’m guessing just heard it as some cool urban lingo, not an encoded advert for their competition.


  1. 9 Jan 2008 Michael

    HAHAHA. That’s hilarious. I had no idea.

  2. 14 Jan 2008 Naheem Adio

    Yeah … Actually found out what “Superman that ho” means recently … very funny term …

  3. 1 Feb 2008 Jess

    imagine if everyone was dancing to a song that
    name-checked “Cleveland Steamer” or “Dirty Sanchez”
    pretty much the same thing in the urban legend vein

  4. […] vs. interpretation? Could it exist with fan bases that may be at cross purposes? Makes me think of Soulja Boy, SkeetSkeet +FUBU or how Abercrombie & Fitch, worn by many a conservative frat boy, uses the gay terms […]