Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • Chance the Rapper

    Chance the Rapper Is SPIN's Rapper of the Year

    On the cover of Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap, the 19-year-old rapper is lost in the woods, purple sky looming, his eyes wide, mind contorted. This is what one of hip-hop's most elite word-for-word, bar-for-bar rappers looks like in 2013: incredibly young, existentially confused, undoubtedly tripping balls, and rocking a tie-dye tank top. He's from Chicago — the notorious South Side, to be exact — rather than the traditional spitter center of New York City, and he is, along with a number of other youthful word nerds (and long-gestating veterans), pulling "lyricism" out of the codified pit of "real hip-hop" cliché and throwing it across every nook and cranny of the rap landscape.Acid Rap (no.

  • Mack Wilds

    Mack Wilds: Brash Soul Crooner, 'Wire' Alum, Channels '90s New York

    Who: Tristan Paul Wilds, 24, most immediately recognizable as Michael from David Simon's Dickensian drug trade epic, The Wire, or, if you prefer lighter TV fare, as Dixon on the new 90210. In the recording booth, though, Tristan is "Mack" Wilds, a boom-bap crooner and melodically attuned MC working closely with legendary beatmaker Salaam Remi, best known for his pop-leaning work for Amy Winehouse, Nas, and many others. "Salaam is like my big brother, man," Wilds says, proudly. "He was a fan of mine from The Wire and recognized me and we started talking and it went from there." Wilds cannily mentioned to Remi that he was also pursuing music, and the producer decided to workshop with him. "Last December, he brought me out to Miami, like, 'Let me see what you can really do," Wilds says, still a little incredulous.

  • Da Mafia 6ix

    Da Mafia 6ix Hypnotize, Yo Gotti Surprises, Death Grips Flip, and 8 More New Rap LPs in No Trivia

    ALBUM OF THE MONTH Da Mafia 6ix, 6ix Commandments (Hypnotize Minds)So here's a reunion record actually worth getting behind: Da Mafia features every original member of Three 6 Mafia save for Juicy J (so DJ Paul, Crunchy Black, Koopsta Knicca, Lord Infamous, and Gangsta Boo) doing Satan-stomping beats and knives-in-their-teeth scary-movie spitting, outdoing the "evil" regional-polygot garbage that's in vogue right now thanks to A$AP Schlocky and others.It's hard not to be moved by all these middle-aged maniacs getting back together. Even considering Juicy's mainstream coup — turning into the go-to crossover-pop rapper somehow, dirty-talking over a "Moments in Love" facsimile with Katy Perry and chilling out with Miley Cyrus — Three 6 never got to truly cash in.

  • In Praise of Macklemore's Racial-Profiling Speech at the American Music Awards

    In Praise of Macklemore's Racial-Profiling Speech at the American Music Awards

    At the American Music Awards Sunday night, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' The Heist took the award for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album.

  • peggy sue, idle, video

    See Peggy Sue's Unsettling 'Idle' Video

    Brighton trio Peggy Sue's "Idle" splits the difference between the lost soul tradition of country-blues and the self-loathing slacker vibes of indie rock, going so far as to mention troubled guitar legend Robert Johnson ("I will make like Robert Johnson swap the truth out for a song") and invoke the mythic, otherworldly influence of pop's menacing muse: "Let the devil make work for my idle hand s/ Let the devil teach his tune to my tasteless tongue." The found footage video for "Idle" sets the song to leering footage of women dancing, and cuts in conjunction with the track's rumbling drums and ringing guitars. It is fitting for a band who has scored Kenneth Anger's iconic, biker-themed underground film classic, Scorpio Rising, and even released an EP inspired by the 1964 short. "Idle" comes from Peggy Sue's Choir Of Echoes, out January 28 on Yep Roc Records.

  • twist, where to lie

    Watch Twist's Heartening 'Where to Lie' Video

    Laura Hermiston of jangly noise-pop group The BB Guns, and Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck and Dusted, are Twist, a lonely lo-fi duo creating drifting, sun-faded songs that suggest the psychedelic avant-folk of Lee Hazlewood. "Where To Lie" is based around a guitar riff that excitedly jumps forward (and then dejectedly falls behind) and Hermiston's naif, regret-filled vocals. "I'm not gonna hurt them again / And I'm not gonna be their friends," Hermiston sings. "Instead of my masterful lies / I'm gonna try and be more wise." The video, from William Eggleston-evoking director and photographer Brittany Lucas, puts the duo outdoors to timidly play the song, then interrupts the private performance with home video footage from the '70s that is heartening at times and haunting at others. See the clip above and grab a free download of the track below.

  • Stream Five Hours Of H-Town Hip-Hop Curated by 'Houston Rap' Author Lance Scott Walker

    Stream Five Hours Of H-Town Hip-Hop Curated by 'Houston Rap' Author Lance Scott Walker

    Sinecure Books' Houston Rap is a photographic dive into the city's close-knit, multitude-filled hip-hop scene, one that spends time with its rappers, producers, DJs, and community leaders, as well as the artists' family — in the studio, in their neighborhoods, and at the club. With text from writer Lance Scott Walker, and nine years worth of stunning, intimate photographs from Peter Beste (previously, he worked on True Norwegian Black Metal) the city's MCs are afforded an image beyond the conventional syrup and cars visuals that Houston presumably conjures up for those whose knowledge doesn't go quite so deep. (Though there's plenty of sizzrup and caddies, too; that stuff is important).

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Migos Step Into the '90s-Sports-Nerd Arena With 'Emmitt Smith'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Migos Step Into the '90s-Sports-Nerd Arena With 'Emmitt Smith'

    Caddy Bay, Gucci Mane vs. Boards of CanadaWell, we've gotten to the point in this Internet Rap thing where an album-length project that gently places Gucci Mane raps over Boards of Canada songs isn't even all that much of a WTF moment anymore. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. That said, Gucci Mane vs. Boards of Canada — released back in August, but discovered by come-lately dinks like me thanks to FACT posting it earlier this week — is actually really inspired. On some level, the move here is “cloud rap,” but it also highlights the blissy qualities of plenty of Atlanta production — most overtly, the Tim Hecker-like drone-swing of Rocko's “U.O.E.N.O.” Actually, I'll just defer to Soundcloud commenter 'astigmatic' on this one: “super fun, on some multidimensional pimp shit.” Of course, because no one can just let something be, Caddy Bay promises a Wu Tang vs.

  • Kim Kardashian in 'Bound 2'

    Kanye West's 'Bound 2' Video Is Better (and More Progressive!) Than You Think

    Let's not worry about whether Kanye West's video for "Bound 2," featuring our blue-screened hero sexing Kim Kardashian on a motorcycle amid SyFy Channel-grade special effects, is a visual disaster, albeit possibly an intentional one. Because more importantly, this very public love letter of a promotional device is a fascinating new chapter in how Kanye West, conflicted misogynist and dude who should just plain know better, presents women in his music videos.A walk through his videography offers a more sophisticated and nuanced presentation of Ye's conflicted feelings about the opposite sex than you can find in his songs.

  • Riffin' and Samplin': Danny Brown Raps Bob Dylan, and Jimmy Page Remixes Biggie

    Riffin' and Samplin': Danny Brown Raps Bob Dylan, and Jimmy Page Remixes Biggie

    On Friday, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page released “Ramblize,” a remix/mashup of the Notorious B.I.G.'s “Hypnotize" and Led Zep's "Ramble On," with Page's guitar and Robert Plant's vocals sliced up into little pieces to make a lithe, serviceable, boom-bap-suggestive hip-hop beat, with scratching and everything. But given the famous name involved, no one is willing to state the obvious: It stinks. Soundcloud is filled with these sorts of slightly-above-amateur remixes.Then again, whether or not “Ramblize” is any good is besides the point: The very idea of a world-famous Guitar God rearranging one of his own songs and sticking a classic rap a cappella over it is still a pretty big deal in terms of how and where hip-hop can stick its head.

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