Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • With Comeback 'Gz II Godz,' G-Side's Trippy Trap Thrives on the Other Side of Hype

    With Comeback 'Gz II Godz,' G-Side's Trippy Trap Thrives on the Other Side of Hype

    In retrospect, those embattled late '90s underground cats had it pretty good, what with Rupert Murdoch money fueling indie hip-hop staple Rawkus Records by way of Mr. Fox News' son James Murdoch, and hip-hop becoming a proper corporate entity big enough to support "alt"-leaning "conscious" lifestyle rap alongside the money-flaunting mainstream fare. Contrast that underground hip-hop moment with rap's Internet underground resurgence of the past five years and you'll see that shit is bleak for an independent type in 2014. Das Racist have broken up. Big K.R.I.T. and other regular guy types like Curren$y signed deals that got them nowhere near the radio and squashed their buzz.

  • Iamsu! Almost Escapes Bay Area Rap Vortex with Immersive 'Sincerely Yours.' Almost.

    Iamsu! Almost Escapes Bay Area Rap Vortex with Immersive 'Sincerely Yours.' Almost.

    Empowered by guest appearances on recent hits like Loverance's "Up," E-40's "Function," and fellow HBK gang talent Sage the Gemini's "Gas Pedal," Bay Area rapper/producer Iamsu! parlayed his raised profile into a series of whip smart solo mixtapes (Kilt, Suzy 6 Speed, and Kilt II) and a pair of infectious collaborative projects (Stoopid with Jay Ant and Million Dollar Afro with Problem) that took a bendy, less restricted approach to the West Coast's spare sound of the moment.

  • Deniro Farrar

    Stream Deniro Farrar's Confessional 'Rebirth' EP

    The opening, title-song to Charlotte-based rapper Deniro Farrar's forthcoming Rebirth EP uses a floating beat as the base for real talk and laments about his family. "Rebirth" is immediately answered by the fervid, melodramatic "Hold On." Together the tracks fuse into one bipolar opener ("Rebirth/Hold On") that exemplifies Farrar's histrionic attitude on a track. His nagging reality, where he owns up to his responsibilities, adds even more down-to-earth stakes to the rapper's personalty; Farrar has always excelled at down-in-it street tales delivered with a scrappy maturity.

  • Ed Schrader's Music Beat

    Stream Ed Schrader's Music Beat's Brooding, Bouncy 'Party Jail' LP

    Baltimore duo Ed Schrader's Music Beat, comprised of Ed Schrader and Devlin Rice, don't waste time getting to the point on their forthcoming release, Party Jail. Their sophomore album, a follow up to 2012's Jazz Mind, elbow-drops in with "Pantomime Jack," a slow-building, rumbling rocker of a track that builds for about thirty seconds before exploding into a screeching, soaring chorus.

  • ProbCause

    Stream ProbCause's Ambitious, Zooted 'WAVES' EP

    Earlier this year the chatterboxing Chicago rapper ProbCause was featured alongside Chance the Rapper on Hood Internet's trippy, crate-digging remix of "LSD." Now he returns to drop his own, similarly zooted WAVES EP. The release includes the speed-rap stylings of Twista on "Chicago Style," who delivers one his most snarling verses in quite some time, and another appearance by Chance. Features aside, ProbCause nimbly rides fusion-friendly hip-hop tracks; there's the DJ Screwed-up dubstep buzzer "Ego Trip" and the ecstatic rap-rock track "Neon Dreams." (The latter of which was produced by Exmag, the band from electro-turntablist, Gramatik.) Although WAVES is presented as an EP, the ten tracks span 30-plus minutes, showing that its ambitions are bigger than the sampler that "EP" suggests.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Travi$ Scott Rips Up the 1975 and Starts Again on 'Don't Play'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Travi$ Scott Rips Up the 1975 and Starts Again on 'Don't Play'

    Antwon, "Cold Tears"Bust out the dirt bikes, y'all, because we've got booming-voiced softie Antwon playing the role of DMX, and rather wavy producer Matrixxman pulling out cheapo Swizz-Beatz-in the-Ruff-Ryders-era synths, and together, knocking out a dreary lo-fi tunnel banger like it's 1998 all over again. Seriously, slap some barky DMX vocals over this one and you'd think it was some loosie that never made it onto Ryde Or Die Vol. 2.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Danny Brown Assists ZMoney on the Jittery 'Jug N Finesse'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Danny Brown Assists ZMoney on the Jittery 'Jug N Finesse'

    Big K.R.I.T., "Mt. Olympus"Here is Big K.R.I.T. pouring out more of that platonic country rap thing he does very, very well, with some added collegiate strings on the beat and important, if not exactly entertaining inside baseball industry talk. In short, he is frustrated with the goal post-moving nature of next big thing hip-hop, as defined by the major labels that signed him and then didn't do that much for him after that: "Rap shit's about as real as Santa / Now I'm lyrical all of a sudden?/ Well, last year they claimed they didn't understand me!" And hey, he's certainly allowed to indulge this for a little while because he kind of got a raw deal, you know?

  • Gucci Mane and Young Thug Join Forces, Drag Feet on Phoned-In 'Young Thugga Mane La Flare'

    Gucci Mane and Young Thug Join Forces, Drag Feet on Phoned-In 'Young Thugga Mane La Flare'

    Presumably cobbled together using old recordings from back when waning trap hero Gucci Mane wasn't in jail, and released now to capitalize on the 2014 buzz surrounding bizarro baby talk rapper-on-the-verge Young Thug (thanks to street hit "Danny Glover" and radio oddity "Stoner"), Young Thugga Mane La Flare is as half-assed as its ugly-as-hell cover.For grizzled veteran Gucci Mane, Young Thugga Mane La Flare doesn't even rise to the level of the umpteenth "I'm still standing" declaration like last year's mixtape series, Lean, Molly, and Gas. Sure, as the anchor of the tape, Gucci still stacks words like few others, but he's pretty much checked out, his delivery Fox Mulder-bland and unaffected.

  • Abdu Ali

    Watch Noise-Rap MC Abdu Ali's Frenzied Video For 'Machete Warz'

    Baltimore's Abdu Ali is an abstract, poetic screamer with a penchant for beats that nod to both his hometown's frenetic club music scene and the digi-grinding skronk of Internet-fueled noise-rap. As an openly gay MC, Ali's work will inevitably be categorized with talents like Le1f and Mykki Blanco, but stuffing those artists into an invented, nonsensical genre like "queer rap" does them no favors. The rapper's 2013 release Push + Slay was stunning and versatile on its own; in Abdu's music you can hear everybody from James Brown to Waka Flocka Flame.On the single "Machete Warz," produced by Schwarz — the producer was also responsible for 2013 SPIN favorite "U R Beautiful" and VH1-friendly, ratchet remix project Real Trap Shit Mix Vol 1: Ratchet Muthaz (1992-2002) — there's even some of the aggravated stylings of Schoolly D and early Beastie Boys.

  • ISSUE

    Bay Area Rapper Issue Reps #Based Experimentalism and His Dad, E-40

    "When I first came out with my music, people thought I was on hardcore drugs," explains the mysterious, mask-rocking rapper Issue. "But that was just me being natural and based." Issue's embrace of the Lil B-branded "#BASED" is a natural fit for for the rapper’s free-associative, experimental, damn-near-ambient take on rap music. Like the catch-all term, Issue began in the Bay Area and now floats freely across the Internet.The youngest son of legendary Vallejo, California rapper E-40, whose rubbery gangsta rap has inspired an entire generation of musicians, Issue (born Emari Stevens) credits much his open-eared, hard-scrapping musical worldview to his father. "[My father] taught me game in general, the basics of life and then some," Issue says.

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