Merchant explained the song's meaning in an interview with The Diane Rehm Show: "It's about surrendering desire and craving and control and expectations. It's about opening to the void. It's about liberation. It's about transformation. It's about seeing the emptiness as in some way magnificent."
When asked if this is related to the Buddhist precept of the renunciation of earthly attachments, Merchant, who was raised in a Roman Catholic household, replied: "I think that craving is still there for some sort of spiritual path but I talk about also in the song of giving up the whole idea of the notion of having a master or a teacher or any particular codified creed. It's that struggle that goes on inside of all of us. You know, trying to remove all the distractions that prevent us from daily, moment by moment, living in the realization that it's a miracle that we even exist."
"Crank That (Soulja Boy)" was the most successful digital track of 2007 in the US with 2,909,000 downloads. On January 6, 2008 it became the first song ever to sell 3 million digital copies in the States.