Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • Euro League

    Hear Euro League's Atmospheric Bronx Banger, 'Gold Chains In a Dungeon'

    Bronx rapper Euro League and his featured guest Doley Bernays are members of the New York collective ReeLife. (You may have heard Bernays' verses on producer and SPIN-favorite Brenmar's High End Times Vol. 1 earlier this month.) On Euro's "Gold Chains In a Dungeon" Bernays appears again, with a vicious verse that gives the track a final lyrical turbo boost, perfectly complementing Euro's intensity. The title of this track alone is enough to nail the song's tricky tension between glitzy swagger and grimy atmospherics."Gold Chain" is a song supported by narcotic, street rap peripherals: It was produced by Skhyehutch (Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me, Dying Of Thirst") and MP Williams (A$AP Rocky's "Ghetto Symphony"), and features Pain In Da Ass (who you may recall from the intro to Jay Z's "Brooklyn's Finest" off Jay's 1996 classic, Reasonable Doubt).

  • Rick Ross / Photo by Krista Schlueter

    Rick Ross Runs Out of Self-Mythologizing Steam on the Dull-Witted 'Mastermind'

    Rick Ross' sixth album dishes up more of the consequence-free, projected-in-IMAX, "real" street shit the Miami boss built his name banging out, but he's running on autopilot now. His best work, as flaunted on 2009's Deeper Than Rap and 2010's Teflon Don, benefited from low stakes and low expectations: The beats sounded great, and he was actually trying to rap well, and he actually succeeded sometimes.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: James Blake's Trippy Remix of Kendrick Lamar's 'm.A.A.d city'

    Rap Songs of the Week: James Blake's Trippy Remix of Kendrick Lamar's 'm.A.A.d city'

    DENA, "Bad Timing"Bulgarian rapper and singer DENA is a faux-naive chanteuse, like Nico if she were raised on the conversational, occasionally bleating bombast of M.I.A. In 2014 and hip-hop's anything-goes mindset, viewing DENA as an "outsider" makes no sense at all, even if her introspective rattling, "skillz"-be-damned spitting probably troubles the genre's gatekeepers. What DENA has is a quiet pop ambition, R&B melodicism, and a whole lot of singer-songwriter-type sincerity mixed with wizened real talk. Ex.

  • Schoolboy Q / Photo by Getty Images

    ScHoolboy Q's 'Oxymoron' Both Transcends and Succumbs to Gangsta Rap's Baser Impulses

    ScHoolboy Q, the most unambitious and conventional member of Southern California's ambitious, unconventional Black Hippy crew, drops scrunched-up, novelistic raps about street life over sizzurp-dipped, purp-clouded production. But when you consider Kendrick Lamar's whirling narratives about gang violence's effects on the regular guy, Ab-Soul's wild-eyed raps about DMT and Twin Towers conspiracy theories, Jay Rock's tough-guy tone poems, and Isaiah Rashad's harrowing tales of self-injury and family strife, a little conventionality can be refreshing: Q cuts through all his buddies' heady bullshit and just tells it like it is. That's the point of gangsta rap, right?Oxymoron, the rapper's third full-length and first for Interscope, is powered by the sturdy widescreen hedonism of Dr.

  • Nicki Minaj's Malcolm X Controversy: What Her Critics Got Wrong

    Nicki Minaj's Malcolm X Controversy: What Her Critics Got Wrong

    Last week, when Nicki Minaj released her new song, "Lookin' Ass Nigga," she got two completely different reactions. Her fans were excited by the prospect of a new rappity-rap song from their heroine, complete with a music video that trolled the rap patriarchy and ambitiously commented on hip-hop objectification. But her detractors quickly denounced the "unofficial" single art — a famous photo of Malcolm X with a rifle in his hands, peering out a window in his home — as deeply, unforgivably offensive. The art was unwise — even the Malcolm X estate itself took issue — and Nicki apologized just one day after posting it, though on Hot 97 a few days later, she defended her use of the image, which she viewed as “a parallel” for the way women are attacked in hip-hop culture.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Kanye West Brings the Right Kind of Corniness to 'Drunk in Love'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Kanye West Brings the Right Kind of Corniness to 'Drunk in Love'

    Antwon, "In Ecstasy" Porno pounding, vibrantly drunk trumpet, and a Rick Rubin-like boom-splat power this track from producer DJ Sexplay, featuring coy raps from Antwon ("I cannot lie, the booty made me eyes cry") and a hook that finds the San Jose rapper getting his Luther Vandross on, coughing out a melody that might as well be cribbed from some lost quiet storm classic. Gone in just 90 seconds, it feels more like a promising but abandoned scrap than a fully formed song; nevertheless, it's a surprisingly non-dread-filled ode to fucking from an MC almost obsessively preoccupied with both death and doin' it.Beyoncé ft. Jay Z and Kanye West, "Drunk In Love (Remix)" So there are good-bad rap verses, and just plain bad rap verses. Jay Z's appearance on the original "Drunk in Love" definitely falls in the latter category, because... well, where to begin?

  • Watch Yung Gleesh's Haunting Video for 'Water'

    Watch Yung Gleesh's Haunting Video for 'Water'

    Yung Gleesh is a Washington, DC rapper who is part of a new strain of moody trap music, the kind ushered in by askew MCs Chief Keef and Young Thug. In particular, thanks to fellow District of Columbia personality Shy Glizzy, the style appears to have taken hold in the Mid-Atlantic as an even more eccentric type of trap-rap. And if you consider that Gleesh has collaborated with Sweden's Lil B-informed teen oddity Yung Lean (on "Its Sad Boy"), where the rapper falls in the increasingly messy world of Internet-tracked-rap is both fuzzy and confusing.On "Water," the lead single from his forthcoming Cleadsides Finest III, Gleesh chants and shouts over a springy, gothic beat from producer Scottie Rob.

  • Double Duchess

    Hear Electro-Rap Duo Double Duchess' Queer Posse Cut 'Top Bitch'

    San Francisco electro-rap duo Double Duchess, consisting of dancer and visual stylist Krylon Superstar and producer/vocalist DavO, are part of a performance-art informed, high energy, party-music fueled queer scene. Their pair's newest track "Top Bitch," a single off the duo's Nocturnal EP (due March 18), brings together a number of out-of-the-closet MCs in celebration of cross-regional collaboration.

  • Nocando

    Hear Nocando's Smooth, Dam-Funk-Produced 'Lucid Dream'

    Los Angeles rapper Nocando is the host of the incredibly influential trippy hip-hop night Low End Theory and founder of Hellfyre Club, a label and collective of oddball rap picking up where Freestyle Fellowship left off. On his newest release, the rapper teams up with '80s boogie retrofitting hero Dam-Funk for "Lucid Dream," a smoothed-out single from his upcoming album Jimmy the Burnout. Featuring Dam's signature slowly stumbling drums, a warm bed of spacey, sexy synthesizers, and accompanied by a honeyed hook from Piatra Hawkins, "Lucid Dream" could sneak by without Nocando's rhymes. And so, it takes a special kind of eccentric talent to stuff rhymes inside this retrolicious groove, a feat which Nocando does expertly.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Pearls Negras Serve Up Teen-Energized Baile Funk on 'Mr. President'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Pearls Negras Serve Up Teen-Energized Baile Funk on 'Mr. President'

    Kitty, "285"Kitty Pryde's wizened tribute to 285 Kent —  that dead Brooklyn spot you're probably tired of hearing about by now — sounds like EDM's histrionic angst gone micro. Uffie-esque in delivery and alt-lit-like in terms of its lyrics — which feel oddly universal and generation-defining, but with a teasing, thrilling T.M.I. aspect, too — it relies on an almost soaring and definitely dorky rave-hop pulse. Even at its most spiteful, it oozes a need for acceptance (“I’ll never get another chance / I wish, but all i wanna do is make you dance to this”), and the hook-after-the-hook is pretty heartbreaking: “I'll never weigh you down / We say goodbye, I guess / I will see you around / I will clean up my mess.” In short, she met a dude, they liked each other, it got screwed up, and she feels fucked up about it.

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