Soulja Boy Up In “the What?!!”

Posted on: 01/29/08 12:39 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Soulja Boy up in da ho.

That’s how the song starts. The song rode the #1 spot on Billboard and iTunes for months in the Fall… and just when I thought the hype was over… they are now teaching the dance as part of the curriculum in PE classes at several Sacramento area schools.

Let me back up for a moment and catch some of you up with this whole situation (For those that didn’t hear the discussion on our Podcast Episode #9).

Soulja Boy is a hip hop artist whose song “Crank That” (The “Superman” song) not only rode the #1 spot for what seemed like an eternity in the Fall of 2007, but the song has it’s own dance. Elementry school kids and tweens are the biggest fans of the dance. Ask an 8-12 year old in your neighborhood, they probably all know the “Superman” dance. And schools that play music during lunch time almost all play the “clean” version of this song.

So what’s all the concern?

Here’s the first few lines of the song:

Soulja Boy up In da ho
Watch Me Crank It
Watch Me Roll
Watch Me Crank Dat Soulja Boy
den Super Man Dat ho

Lyrics vary a little bit depending on where you look (because they’re pretty hard to understand). Personally, I’m not excited about any song that talks about being “up in da ho.” Yeah… that does mean what you think that means. But funny as it is… most people aren’t that concerned about that (after all, what rap song doesn’t talk about bitches and ho’s?), they are concerned about the term “superman.” And they should be. I’m not even going to define it for you. You’ll have to jump onto a slang dictionary site like and look it up here.

Yeah… pretty disgusting.

So the biggest question is, “Is that really what Soulja Boy is talking about?” After all, he was asked about it on a BET interview and he basically avoided answering the direct question saying,

“Superman is just a dance. I heard about the e-mails going around and…basically, they trying to just stop my shine,” said the 17-year old Soulja Boy. “I mean, ‘Superman,’ ‘Crank That’ [is] old.

There’s his answer. Basically, “Stop hatin.’ You’re too late!”

So what does the song mean? Does Superman mean what Urban Dictionary says it means? Well… take a peek for yourself at more of the lyrics… they might give you a clue:

Watch me crank dat roosevelt den supa soak dat ho(yuuuuuuhhh)
supa soak dat ho(supa soak dat ho)
supa soak dat ho(supa soak dat ho)
supa soak dat ho(supa soak dat ho)
supa soak dat ho(supa soak dat ho)


And whether “superman” means that or not, the song has plenty of other degrading language towards women.

im too fresh off in dis bitch
Watch me shuffle watch me jig
Watch me crank dat Soulja Boy
Den supaman dat bitch(yuuuuuhhhh)
supaman dat bitch(supaman dat bitch)
supaman dat bitch(supaman dat bitch)
supaman dat bitch(supaman dat bitch)

These lyrics are edited in the version our kids hear. They just hear “Soulja boy up in da OOOOOOOO!” And words like “bitch,” “cockin” and “sh*t” are also edited out. So, as our kids would tell us, “It’s clean Mom!”

You’ll find plenty of online discussions about this song, the meaning and whether it’s a concern or not. Some of the discussions show the ignorance (I’m not using that word as an insult, but in the true meaning of the word) of the parents and teachers encouraging the dance.

Recording companies don’t care… research shows that they just understand the fact that if the song comes with a dance, the chance of selling more music!

So, do kids know what it means?

I polled several youth pastors and compus ministry staff I knew. They all asked their kids individually about the song. The overwhelming consenses is this:

  • most elementry school kids and tweens have NO idea what the song is talking about, they just like the dance.
  • most junior highers (those that aren’t sheltered) know that Soulja Boy is talking about “Ho’s,” but they don’t know what superman means.
  • 8 out of 10 unchurched high school kids knew what superman means. (and most thought it was funny)

Last Fall if you would have asked me what to do about the situation I would have told you, “Don’t bring it up. But if kids ask about it, use it as an opportunity to talk about the issue of lyrics and their meaning.”  But now that my own 12-year-old came home from school 4 days ago and informed me that she’s learning the “superman dance” in P.E. and they played the song over and over again about 15 times during class…



35 Replies to “Soulja Boy Up In “the What?!!””

  1. Man, don’t leave me hanging. What did you do when your daughter told you? I think you usually have a great take on things and am interested in your further thoughts.

  2. Ha… I didn’t want to just tell everyone my “2 cents.” I wanted to hear your 2 cents first.

    Plus… I just heard about this at the end of last week. Let’s just say I wasn’t thrilled when my daughter told me. But I’m not one to go down and start picketing. To me the question was, do I visit the vice principal? Would he/she dismiss me as just some religious wacko?

    I launched my CONNECT training this last Saturday and discussed this a bit with the youth workers attending. A bunch of youth workers that were parents were dialoguing with me about the exact same thing. “Would it be worth raising a fuss?”

    The thing that’s difficult about this is that most schools are used to the issue with lyrics and they just have a policy of only using “clean” versions. And they could argue that the version they are playing is “clean” because it doesn’t have any of those words in it.

    So we’d have to press the issue about what the song stands for, not what the “clean version” actually says. And so many people are in debate about what the song stands for (despite it’s obvious meaning). So a question any parent has to ask is, “How far is too far?”

    I’m not answering that question for you yet. 🙂

  3. I’ve known about the song, but never made it a point to listen to it, especially since I dislike all rap songs because of their message.

    However, this blog was very enlightening and I can now, discuss the issue with knowledge to my kids at church.

    It needs to be addressed. Satan is out to take everyone of our youths and we are in a hard-fought battle against the media and our depraved culture.

    But always remember, the Lord is on our side and although we might not see immediate results the impacts we will have on some youth’s lives will be eternal.

  4. Maybe you guys can help point me in the right direction, It is hard to tell the kids that the song is bad without telling them why. And like Johnathan I really dont want to define the “superman” thing to a 13 year old boy or girl, although they usually know more than we think. I dont want to overexpose them ya know? I feel like I would be one of those parents who says “Because I said so” without offering a reason why. Thanks for insights.

  5. Ken asks a good question. And like I say in the article, I don’t bring it up. But if THEY bring it up I use discernment depending on the situation, the age, etc. With most kids I only have to look at the first line and say, “I don’t think we should be listening to a guy singing about being up in the ho.” And if I scan down the lyrics he talks about bitches, etc. I don’t think he’s a dog breeder… so that’s inappropriate. With my own three kids I didn’t tell my 10 and 12 year old what Superman meant. No need. The rest of the lyrics are bad enough. But I did tell them that the song has plenty of stuff that is degrading to women and we don’t need to be listening to it.

    I hope that helps.

  6. At our school in Brooklyn (NYC), eight fourth graders did the “Superman” dance as part of the winter talent show, before the entire school. I had no idea what the lyrics were; I’d seen two audience members on the _Ellen_ show do the dance, so I figured it was innocent enough. I stumbled randomly upon this blog, and now I’m horrified that I was the one who pressed the Play button to send this song out over the auditorium speakers. This is not only misogynistic (and in a gross way), but also obviously unbelievably inappropriate for minors (even the clean version). Teachers who use this song in a classroom setting should have their teaching licenses taken away.

    That said, Rye B.’s comment– “…I dislike all rap songs because of their message”– is as absurd as saying that you dislike all opera because you don’t like the incest in Wagner’s Die Walkure. Apparently the hip-hop industry’s misogyny-equals-dollars attitude cuts both ways, as it certainly scared Rye off, but a little Mos Def, Blackalicious, A Tribe Called Quest or especially Spearhead will cure what ails him or her.

  7. In Ref. to this blog I thought I would sit down with my youth group and pick their brain about music and how we as parents and leaders should deal with the music. Below is the results.

    About Music

    1. Question should we as parents turn a deaf ear to your music and hope you don’t know what it means?? 58% agree we should turn a deaf ear

    2. Should we explain to you what a song means and then if it’s bad (not pleasing to God)..ask you not to listen to it. 52% said we should explain

    3. As a Sunday School teacher should I mention if a song is bad? 33% said yes I should

    4. 33% said they would keep listening to the song when they realize it’s not pleasing to God

  8. Coming from a teenager, I dislike this song because of the way it talks.. && Im 15 && had
    no clue what so ever what superman ment.
    Im not sure that many people at my school do.
    My teacher this morning saw this website &&
    took a pole in the class && almost everyone
    listens to that song. Its a really nasty song.

  9. I taught a message a couple months ago entitled, “What’s in Your iPod?”. I used the results of a music survey that I gave my Jr Highers a few weeks before. Man, it was eye-opening. I did use “Crank Dat” in the message because most of them named it their favorite song on the survey. When I learned what the lyrics meant it blew me away. I’ve got a 15 yr old daughter and 11 yr old son… talk about challenging!

  10. I really do think some kids don’t listen to or know what the lyrics say or mean. Most just think it sounds cool or start thinking it is because so and so said it was cool. I copied the lyrics and the urban dictionary meanings and saved them with me on my computer, when this song topic came up I would give them the opportunity to let the kids read them. I was not surprised at the looks on their faces; girls especially were disgusted to think what that song was about. Some of these were not at church involving un-churched kids (none under 15), at church the song doesn’t come up anymore, but I know they still listen to the same or worse. It’s really alarming to me how degrading behavior is glorified and so accepted with young people.

  11. wow!
    i’m really glad my mom showed this to me
    i had NO CLUE what the song was about!
    thanks for discussing this,
    and now i know tro deleate this off my iPod

  12. Jonathan, I am glad that you are putting this info out there for this song. I have had many sessions with my teens at church where I ask them to bring their songs.. we listen to them and then we discuss. Most times they say, “Oh I just like the music, I don’t listen to the lyrics” But I explain to them that those lyrics are understood by their subconscience even if they think they don’t know what it says..which most DO know what their songs say, they just sing right along! So, after shedding the light of God’s word on their songs, they have a choice to follow God even in their music choices or follow the world. Oh,and Rap, Country, Pop, and Rock are not the only songs that need discernment, there are also those out there by “Christian” artists that should be dumped in the trash when compared to Gods word and His standards.


  13. I believe music to be an extremely powerful tool. I am a youth pastor who was the kid rockin to “Kill’em All” by Metallica. I claimed to love the music, but not care about the words. BUT… I knew every word, AND I used that music to get me “fired up” (pissed-off) before every BMX race.

    Music passes the conscious… straight to the subconscious. We don’t have the ability to control how music effects our emotions. Most scenes in movies are not nearly as moving as the music that accompanies.

    I don’t know what the solution, in regard to the school is, but I believe we need to be proactive in teaching our students about the messages conveyed in the music they listen to. I think waiting until it is brought up is waiting too long.

  14. My Middle-School daughter was taught this dance yesterday in school and I immediately called the coach today. She had no idea what the song meant and when I informed her she was very receptive and assured me that it would not be used anymore.
    Thank you Jesus!

  15. I was introduced to Soulja Boy in the Fall. My 14 year daughter was at a friends birthday party and they were all learning “The Dance”. Thankfully, my daughter takes after my wife in the area of discernment and knew something wasn’t right. Not easy to take a stand. It’s an awesome thing when your kids are willing to stand up for what is right even though it will make them stick out.
    It wasn’t until just recently that I learned the meaning behind the “Superman” part of the song. Interesting how Soulja Boy when confronted directly with it wasn’t able to talk about it either–ashamed of his own song as the light gets shone on it. It’d be awesome to see a guy like Soulja Boy get Jesus. (This next comment is my wish) Can you imagine, A Transformed Soulja Boy and Toby Mac in Concert. Let’s pray for that to happen.

  16. Maybe none of the 10-yr old kids have a clue what this means. But what happens when they get to high school and finally understand it. They will remember this song as the one they danced to in elementary school. Hey, the teachers played the song for us, it must be okay, right?

    Wrong. It just started at my 10-yr olds PE class. It will be over very soon. I can assure you of that.

  17. O wow! I had nooo clue that that was what the song meant!How disgusting! It’s such a catchy song and yea they covered up all the foul language so well. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  18. UPDATE: I emailed the gym teacher and have already received a reply. She says that she has discontinued playing this song in her class. Her tone was a little defensive. She stated that they were “concentrating on the steps and not the lyrics”. uh…..

    People, don’t worry about how you are going to explain this to your children. Remove the source of it. If you ask your school to cease playing this ‘music’ and they refuse, simply give the Christian Coalition a call. They’ll be more than happy to help you!

  19. Michael, I can’t say that I totally agree with you when you’re telling all of us to “not worry about how we’re gonna explain it to our kids.” Maybe you didn’t mean for it to come out the way you did… but personally, I would put more importance on the conversations we’re going to have with our children about this than just trying to “remove it.” Yes, removing it is a good thing. But it’s an even better thing to explain to our kids why.

    At every parent semenar I teach, I always have parents that ask how they can actually get into conversations with our kids. That’s a HUGE desire for parents that want to spend time with their kids- meaningful conversation. And any parent would tell you that it’s hard to do sometimes… very often because we don’t have anything relevant to them to talk about.

    That being said, real life issues like this one are a great opportunity to “conversate” with our kids. We can’t shelter them their entire lives. Use the opportunities while you have them.

    I hope that helps.

  20. Johnathan,

    Those conversations came up some time ago when she asked to download the song onto her MP3. We had great conversation about it and that is precisely why she brought this to my attention.

    My “don’t worry about the conversation” was a (partial) response to someone who wrote wondering about how they were going to explain it to their child but sounded helpless in attacking the cause (in addition to talking to their child).

    As I scroll back through I don’t see it. Oops, might even have been another blog! Thank you for taking on this subject.

  21. My kids love this dance – yes, they’ve learned it from friends at school. My daughter tells me that they play it on the juke box at school. I was going to download the song for the kids (after seeing small children doing the dance with the song blasting at the Harlem Globetrotters game the other night). I saw there was a “clean” version and decided I had better research the lyrics. I was appalled! What has happened to our culture. When did such vulgarity become cool. I never dreamed that the devil could make it so cool to have no class whatsoever. I DO plan to have this song removed from the school’s juke box and I WILL explain to my 13 year old daughter why we cannot support this artist and his music. Our faith comes first, but right behind that, this song is horribly dehumanizing for women. Disgusting. What’s super sad is that our kids love the catchy beat and want to dance to it and don’t even realize what they are supporting by doing so. I intend to educate my kids and everyone else that will listen about how WRONG this song and it’s agenda are.

  22. When I was first introduced to this song I did not really pay attention to it, just watched some of our youth do this dance. After hearing it I did some research and saw the lyrics. Needless to say I was shocked. Then my 9 yr old son said they were playing it in PE and learning the dance. I then took the lyrics to the school and showed the principle and immediately the song was pulled from the class. Now we here in Red Raider land have a new version about Michael Crabtree and they use it in the schools now, not sure it is much better but at least it doesn’t talk about the Ho’s.

  23. Jonathan, thanks for your research and insight into this song. I printed your comments off and gave them to my son’s P.E. teacher. She was considering the song by Soulja Boy becuase the kids requested it when they learned that they were going to have a unit on dance. She mentioned that the kids knew the dance and showed it to her. After reading your comments, she was disgusted by the lyrics and the meaning behind the slang sayings. She said that they won’t be touching this with a ten-foot pole. Now, I need to send a copy to the P.E. teacher at the High School. Apparently they are already teaching the “Crank That” dance to the High Schoolers. Keep up the good work. It just made a difference today in little Fairmont, MN (Pop. 11,000)

  24. I don’t know if this is the proper place to widen this discussion or not, but what about groups like Apologetics, who put christian lyrics to secular songs? What about the popular song on Godtube, “Baby Got Book!” 781,000 views. A parady of a song with a like title, talking about big Bibles. Creatively done!

  25. I happened upon this post when Googling after writing my own post. I’m a teacher, and COMPLETELY appalled that NEA Today (Nat’l Education Association) Magazine just came out with a blurb about how GREAT it is that teachers are doing this fun dance with their kids! What a terrific way to connect.

    There’s no way they could have checked the lyrics. I wrote a letter to the NEA Today telling them just how irresponsible they, and the teachers who are doing this, are. I’m trying to get other people to join me in hopes that the NEA will wake up and print a “whoops” article that explains the importance of researching trends before jumping on the bandwagon.

  26. They were doing this dance in my school district for 2nd and 3rd graders. Some parents complained about the inappropriate lyrics and started a letter writing campaign to the school board. Then there was the counter letter writing campaign saying the song was fine as long as the kids didn’t know the meaning.

    To date one board member said that they have received more letters about this issue than any other issue. In case you are curious the majority of the letters were to keep the song in. (Anything to keep ‘lil Johnny happy). The whole thing turned into a huge mess with posters and the like. The district did decide to pull the song.

    In the end I think it just raised awareness of the lyrics and made the song even more popular.

  27. I’m just swinging through, but wanted to say that sometimes common-sense ethics cross wide social lines. I’m an Atheist and not a fan of organized religion, but I share your disdain not only for this particular piece of misogynistic musical literature, but your shock and disappointment that NEA would blindly lend its tacit approval to bringing such a thing into the classroom. I wrote extensively to NEA and my local VEA chapter to share my disappointment and frustration.

    As a professional educator, I remind my colleagues that any piece of music brought into the classroom needs to be exhaustively previewed and vetted well in advance. Get the lyrics, read thoroughly, and LISTEN to the piece. If your lesson involves unpreviewed music, redesign your lesson. I recommend speaking to your instructional technologist and/or professional music educators on how you can better examine your instructional practices where this is involved.

  28. NEA did respond with “whoops” statement (April 2008.) (The original article was in the Upfront section March 2008). However, they admitted no blame. Instead of saying they were wrong in publishing the article, their response was, and I quote

    “Many readers were offended at our inclusion of the Soulja Boy feature last month. We were aware of the song’s lyric, and, in evaluating the pros and cons of the story, we decided that it’s important for NEA Today to reflect what your colleagues are actually doing in the classroom to reach disengaged students. We invite all readers to join an online discussion ( on the appripriateness of using hip-hop and other popular music in the classroom.”

    As an educator, I am embarassed and appalled. NEA completely missed the whole point. However, I think that many people are upset. NEA’s website with this article and this forum keep “going down.”

  29. well i think that yall jus dont no real music if u aiint a bitch or a slut or a hoe den the song dont refer to you it refers to those girls who act like a bitch and a hoe so the men direspect them cause they direspect there selfs.

  30. I think this is just wrong to say that this song is bad. Just because you think it means that doesn’t mean that it was meant to be thought of that way. Soulja boy said in one of his interveiws that it was never meant to be like that. That people should just quit hating. I am really trying to be a good christian down here at First Baptist Church Pearsall,TX but I can’t if people are just trying to go their own way with this. I try to teach other epople i just am not the talcking type. But when I have to I will talk to anyone and everyone. No matter what people are just making to much of a big deal out of it and it is really meant to be a song and dance no matter what version you listen to. I am against that it means having sex and with sheets tied like a cape man that is just stupid and the idiot that made up all of this nonsense is dumb and better quit. I know that all rap songs are of satan and could draw the wrong crowd but to many people are drawn to the Internet and are using that like if it is the only lifeline around the world. I don’t know about you or whoever is reading this but you just need to forgive and forget and you never know maybe someday you will be thanked and given the respect you deserve. But before yoku do that you need Jesus Christ in you life. In romans It says (All have fallen short of the glory of god. And also in the bible it says that the only way to god is through accepting and believing in Jesus as your lord and savior.) I have loved God a lot and even through the hard times I still trust and love him because he is all powerful. I have been in a gang a dance crew got jumped by the gang because i beleived in Christ and so I got out and I got jumped again so I have a really good testimony for when I get older. It doesn’t mean you have to be in a horrible accident or anything like that to be with christ and talk to other people. You can do that no matter what happens. I once had a friend and dhe was in a train wreck but i never got a chance to tell her about God and I have been holding that on me for a long time and I haven’t gotten it off my chest. I have been thinking that I just need to let it go and it really wasn’t my fault I had just accepted christ that year and ant the end of the year is when it happened. So I have gone through a lot of tough times and god has still been there for me no matter what but I will still love him.

  31. Personally, I had a problem explaining to the 12 and 13 year olds in our group, why they shouldn’t listen to this song. Do I tell them in a careful way, risking offending their parents, or do I tell them nothing and let them ask their parents? Do I dare direct their parents to

    Even my worship leader the other day, said that those songs are out there and there isn’t much we can do about it. It’s just a song, after all, right?

    I stayed home sick from church recently (sinner!) and was clicking through channels and saw a local cheerleading competition. Being a cheerleader in high school myself (christian school – everybody made the squad lol), I wanted to watch just to see the cute outfits, moves and mounts. At the end, a large local public school from an affluent area, had a huge squad take the floor. They did a bang-up job, with arial flips and everything. Much to my chagrin, at the end, they broke into the superman song, popping their midsections like they were being electricuted. I turned it off and considered writing a letter to the school, but I know it would fall on deaf ears. I had to wonder how many of those little girls suffered in silence, maybe even being triggered of memories of past abuse by that song. The content is, after all, about doing something to somebody against their will….something disgusting.

    My personal answer to the what do we do about it question would be, provide LOTS of Christian rap to the kids who like rap. In case you aren’t familiar with any, here are a few to check out:

    My friend Kathy’s son, John Reuben

    Red Cloud


    Tye Tribbett

    Kirk Franklin


    There are so many, many more. Visit your local christian bookstore and check it out.

    Hook them kids up! I make mix CD’s and give them away to get them started. Then I peruse the new release and clearance racks at Lifeway and Moments With Majesty.

    It is SO worth it.

    If we don’t have anything to offer them in place of it – why complain about the music in the first place?

    That’s my 2 cents. Sorry to rant but I’m a musician and a music-aholic.

  32. Just want to follow up on my post of Feb 17 2008 and let you know that I did write a letter to the principal of my daughter’s school and also talked with as many parents as I could get to listen – not necessarily associated with the school. But, now the school’s policy is to review every new song that is put on the juke box both by reviewing the lyrics and then by checking the lyrics on the urban dictionary online. I highly suggest this for all parents, educators, etc. when dealing with music today.
    I know our parents all really freaked out when we started listening to the suggestive lyrics of the Rolling Stones and others and songs about “making love” but we’re talking about both immoral and dehumanizing lyrics in many of these rap songs.
    I’ve always loved all forms of music, but I have a tough time with most of the rap music I hear — it’s trash.

  33. I know that I’m pretty much 6 mths behind on this discussion, but it is such a good one. I’ve been in youth ministry for about 18 years now, have always been up to speed on music and movies, and am usually the one parents turn to for input — sadly many times they point their kids to me and say, “See what Pastor Barry says.” Why can’t parents do the research themselves? I’ve got 4 sons, ages 11-21, and all of their lives my wife and I have taken the time to investigate every movie, show, band, etc that they’ve showed interest in. In turn they’ve learned for themselves what is right and what is wrong.

    One thing that hasn’t been brought into this discussion, concerns the argument about how it won’t affect them if they don’t know what the lyrics mean. Well — what we are forgetting here is that each of us has been created in God’s image, and that we are in reality spirit-beings. Whenever we step up to minister to kids, teens, adults, whoever — we are ministering to their spirits! I keep that in mind when I am teaching/preaching something that may be a little deeper than usual. The fact is that whatever we speak to the spirit and deposit there, we can expect a harvest to be produced — whether in righteousness or not.

    This is why its so important for those of us who shepherd these teens and their families to be up to speed on things, and to look at ourselves as guardians of their souls (God’s words, not mine). This is also why, if we truly look at all of the youth in our community as those we are told to watch over, we DO step up and say things when the times arise. These are our KAIROS moments, people!

  34. being a youth minister and a Christian recording artist, I was so upset with the quality of the song alone that I thought it never had any meaning at all. I know I am pretty late since the song has come and gone and now he’s talking about his swag,but thanks for opening my eyes to that. Looks like his song really does have a meaning, unfortunately.

  35. Y’all be Haters, just cuz ima up in this beotch makin’ mo money then y’all, hell i’m only seventeen and already i made more money than all y’all will mek in you lifetimes – sukadik!

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