The first decade of the new millennium was an interesting time for hip-hop, as rap had lost the fairly cohesive identity it had when factions on the West Coast and the East Coast were feuding in the 1990s.
At the time, guys like 50 Cent and Jay-Z were still carrying the torch that had been passed by 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West was slowly but surely turning the game on its head, and a number of artists scrambled to capitalize on the subgenre known as “ringtone rap.”
That particular sector was defined by the likes of D4L, Hurricane Chris, J-Kwon, and the other artists who’d leaned into catchy and fairly repetitive tunes that were virtually impossible to avoid.
While many of them were one-hit wonders, the same can’t be said for Soulja Boy, who took the world by storm when “Crank Dat” and the dance associated with it dropped in 2007.
It was basically impossible for Soulja Boy to replicate the success of a tune that spent seven weeks atop the Billboard Top 100, but he was able to prove he wasn’t a flash in a pan with a number of other songs—including 2008’s “Kiss Me thru the Phone.”
That track featured the largely forgotten R&B artist named Sammie who croons on a song where he channeled his inner Mike Jones by uttering a real actual phone number—(678) 999-8212—which originally allowed fans to leave a message for Soulja Boy.
However, the rapper decided to redirect the number to a service that connected callers to a fan line that gave them a slightly more interactive and immersive experience.
Based on what he had to say during a recent interview with HipHopDX, that pivot literally paid off in a big way, as he claims he made some serious bank before the company that operated it went out of business.
Here’s what he had to say via Complex:
“It used to be my number. It actually was my number at a point in time. When I first dropped that song, that was my number.
So that number was like a fan line, so every time somebody called that number, I was getting paid off of that s***.
It was like a subscription. You could text it or call it, so I was probably making like $100,000 a month off of that, just people calling that number.”
Must be nice.