Born in Chicago, DeAndre Way was a straight A student until he got hooked on rap music after moving to Atlanta, Georgia. During his teens he then moved to Batesville, Mississippi and started to seriously explore his musical ambitions and caused a minor sensation with the popularity of his web pages on MySpace and YouTube; and in 2007 he issued his first independent release Unsigned and Still Major: Da Album Before Da Album, led by the track Crank That (Soulja Boy), complete with its own dance. It won DeAndre a deal with Interscope Records, featured on the HBO TV series Entourage, topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts and was nominated for a Grammy Award. It also led to his first major label release Souljaboytellem.com, which reached Number 4 in the US album charts, taking rap in a catchy new direction which wasn't universally approved of by the hip-hop community - which accused him of writing for the ringtone market. Criticism from Ice-T in particular created a bitter rivalry between them but, having adopted the name Souljaboy, he maintained his popularity with his 2008 album iSouljaBoyTellem, including hit singles Bird Walk, Kiss Me Thru The Phone and Samme. In late 2010 he released another album The DeAndre Way, which included guest appearances from 50 Cent and Trey Songz, and further singles Pretty Boy Swag, Blowing Me Kisses and Speakers Going Hammer.