Brandon Soderberg



  • 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.

  • Young Thug

    Young Thug's Weirdo Warbling, Isaiah Rashad's Scrappy Lyricism, and Eight More New Rap LPs

     Album of the Month: Young Thug & Bloody Jay, Black Portland (Self-Released)Between the haunting, silly "Danny Glover" and the gonzo collaborative mixtape Black Portland, yelping-and-flailing-about rapper Young Thug has owned early 2014. For an older generation of rap fans — along with those young folks still cluelessly parroting the views of an older generation — this has basically triggered one long conniption fit from anyone who fails to understand that hip-hop's millennials tend to coat their pain and pleasure alike in heaping helpings of AutoTune. Everybody is advised to just chill out, however, because this 21-year-old street eccentric isn't going anywhere.Outside of "Danny Glover" — undoubtedly the hottest track in rap right now — Black Portland is a purposefully low-stakes collaboration with Bloody Jay, a Gunplay-in-shout-mode-only rapper, also from Atlanta.

  • Isaiah Rashad / Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images

    Tennessee Rapper Isaiah Rashad Proves Himself Worthy of Black Hippy on 'Cilvia Demo'

    The natural rapport that exists between Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock (collectively known as Black Hippy) is a sore thumb of sincerity within the cynical mainstream. See, most rap crews these days are pretty much just tiny corporate conglomerates, and when Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group or Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music scoop up a new artist, it feels like they're franchising — extending their reach to another region they're hoping to wrap their brand around. Consequently, when a posse cut appears, it's just a handful of jerks who weren't in the same room together lobbing rhymes right past one another.Whereas the Black Hippy guys actually seem to enjoy each other's company, so when they rap together, it's an organic event that oozes both sheer skill and actual enthusiasm.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Cam'ron and A-Trak Take It Back to Crack-Rap's Heyday

    Rap Songs of the Week: Cam'ron and A-Trak Take It Back to Crack-Rap's Heyday

    Blaqstarr, "Hands Up, Thumbs Down"In which a hearty, batshit Baltimore club track that's more than a decade old and got sampled by M.I.A. on 2007's "World Town" is cleaned up and declared "unreleased," and thus starts popping up on all of the blogs that never touched this freaky stuff back in the day. Then again, all of the Bmore manipulations flying through the post-anything world of dance have yet to match this aggro-zen simplicity: fractured acid squelches, scary-as-hell slurred vocals grunting and screaming, and a constant percussive thud that marches to the front of the track for a hypnotic breakdown.

  • Hear Shabazz Palaces Member Chimurenga Renaissance's Hypnotic 'The B.A.D Is So Good'

    Hear Shabazz Palaces Member Chimurenga Renaissance's Hypnotic 'The B.A.D Is So Good'

    Chimurenga Renaissance is a fractured hip-hop project from Baba Maraire of rap duo Shabazz Palaces, and his output is what you'd expect from one of those Pacific Northwestern poets. Sprawling, loosely structured beats valiantly explore the worlds of electronica, dub, jazz, and other rhythmic environments we've yet to name, all of them anchored by firm, in-the-pocket, and instructive rhymes delivered in a voice that merges KRS-One's dancehall cadences with the chanted lyricism of the Last Poets or Watts Prophets.On "The B.A.D Is So Good," Maraire addresses hip-hop and street life's attractively seedy side. Like a more wizened take on Notorious B.I.G.'s infamous lament — "You're either slinging crack rock or you've got a wicked jump shot" — the track connects the often dangerous aspirational spirit of hip-hop (and the "black American dream") to the addictions of the country at large.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Nicki Minaj Dominates YG's 'My Niggas' Remix

    Rap Songs of the Week: Nicki Minaj Dominates YG's 'My Niggas' Remix

    Kari Faux, "House of Avalon"Little Rock, Arkansas' Kari Faux discovered a way to merge cloud rap and hip-house on this go-for-it rap — over and out in just two minutes, with a diversified flow that finds room for the varied styles of La Chat, Kimya Dawson, and Queen Latifah. It moves from swaggering shit-talk to fall-apart not-really-even-rapping rapping to impeccably on-point and metered-out spitting: "Because when you told them you had a dream, no one wanted to believe / I know how that can be / But I keep the jams coming like a factory / Now they watch my every move like a gallery / With the low fixed-income salary / Me? I'm trying to ball like a debutante / Fix my lipstick after I hit the blunt / Can't stop until I have everything I want."Raka Rich, Shark Sinatra, Sin Que, and D.A.

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