Idolizing Soulja Boy and bringing "snap" music back
2-17 started music early, even before he discovered the rap music that inspired him to get into production. "I’ve been into music since I was in elementary school," he said. "I’ve been in the music program. In 4th grade I was in the concert band, and when I went to middle school where I was in the marching band, so I was always reading music. In the summer of 2006 is when I started making beats with FL studio. I was listening to people like Soulja Boy, of course, D4L, Crime Mob, Lil Jon, that whole era."
It was Soulja in particular who excited 2-17. Emerging with "Crank That" in 2007, he was among the last wave of rappers making snap, but his debut single was one of the genre's biggest, rising to number one on the Hot 100. Both Soulja's embrace of dance and his self-production were very inspiring to 2-17.
"I would always imitate Soulja Boy in every type of way, from dressing like him, to me and my friends dancing to his music," he said. "So when I would make my beats, I would imitate him -- and Soulja had the same style as D4L, Dem Franchise Boyz -- that whole sound, Soulja Boy was like the young prince of it."
After taking a few years off from making snap-influenced beats, 2-17 returned to the sound when he began to make music and dance videos with his friends a few years later. When he found success this time around, his direction was set in stone. "It’s what the people want. It’s universal. People all over the world, they love that beat, they love that style," he said. "That’s what makes me want to bring it back."
After spending the last year gauging reactions to his referential style, he's now confident to push the new wave even further. "Now that I know what I can do with it, definitely look out for it this year," he promised. "Especially since I’m big on the Atlanta dance scene. All the dances that come out are from Atlanta, and I have something to do with it. This year I actually want to do the snap revival."
17 is hoping to spin his success into a collaboration with his hero. "Working with Soulja Boy would be a dream come true, because I know we could make some hits," he said. "Me and Soulja working together is like Future and Drake, in my eyes [laughs]."