Seasick Steve started out on his musical career in the late 1960s playing juke joints and coffee houses. After 40 years as an itinerant musician, taking odd-jobs to survive, forever drifting, he achieved his breakthrough when his Dog House Music album became a sleeper hit in the UK after an outstanding performance on the Later With Jools Holland annual Hootenanny show. Steve told Mojo November 2008 that this song was a reflection on his younger days as a struggling musician: "It 's saying that the things you've got from the bottom up is yours." He added that though he couldn't say there was anything good about the hard times, "I did learn to take care of myself. You fill yourself up with information, whether it's how to start a fire when it's wet or where to find food, or where to sleep. That's what you really own, when you're on the road. Once you've got that in your back pocket, everything else is a bonus."
"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.