Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Juicy J Refuses to Pander to Wiz Khalifa's Taylors on 'No Heart No Love'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Juicy J Refuses to Pander to Wiz Khalifa's Taylors on 'No Heart No Love'

    Eminem, "Berzerk"With the new Rick Rubin-produced Eminem single, we are sonically looking back, po-faced, to License to Ill-era Beastie Boys (a record that they wanted to call Don't Be a Faggot, remember) with a rapper who has spewed plenty of hateful nonsense himself. Who needs this kind of aggro-comfort food? Rap fans afraid of where hip-hop is right now, that's who. The story that rap has become "soft" is a persistent complaint, as is the observation that it lacks "lyricism" (which Em courts here by whining out, "Let's take it back to straight hip-hop and start from scratch"). And so, a hard-hitting Billy Squier beat with a whole bunch of words bouncing over top of it satisfies the desires to return to when rap music was just plain different, no better or worse, than it is now.

  • Stream Lee Bannon's Eccentric Drill'N'Bass Banger 'LR/AD (Garden Blocc Edition) F'

    Stream Lee Bannon's Eccentric Drill'N'Bass Banger 'LR/AD (Garden Blocc Edition) F'

    Producer Lee Bannon, a SPIN Best New Artist back in July, can't sit still.

  • Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards

    Miley Cyrus Matters

    The Miley Cyrus twerktastrophe is important shit, man. Yes, it's important even at this exact moment, when it looks like we're about to start another war with another country, and your Facebook feed is full of condescending suggestions that we've got bigger problems than Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter (dressed in flesh-colored underpants) grinding up against Alan Thicke's son (dressed like Beetlejuice). We do have bigger problems, it's true. But we can compartmentalize, and not entirely ignore this one.This is a knotty, vital issue, spanning from racial appropriation to feminist concerns over the ugly, casual rhetoric of slut-shaming.

  • Fabo

    Fabo, Atlanta's Original Molly Maniac MC, Returns With, Yes, 'Catch Me on That Molly'

    What is hip-hop's all-out dive into Molly Mania missing? The dancing and singing and scatting and sometimes even rapping of Fabo, Atlanta's preeminent popping-pills-before-it-was-cool MC. Best known for his eccentric work with D4L (they of the 2006 hit "Laffy Taffy"), he also enjoyed a brief but kind-of-classic solo run soon thereafter, built on a mesmerizing mythology of pill popping, screwball partying, and the shenanigans of a pervasive dealer named Scotty (birthed on a D4L track by the same name), all hovering around the word "gik" (as in, "geeked up").

  • ST 2 Lettaz

    Watch ST 2 Lettaz's Touching Video for 'Flashlight'

    "Flashlight," off March album The G...The Growth & Development by ST 2 Lettaz, formerly of G-Side, slowly builds and then rings out like an earnest Explosion in the Sky song, all inward-gazing, epic-in-the-mind grandeur, perfect for ST's small scale confessions: "This ain't living and I don't know where I'm going this Thanksgiving." The track serves as a half-maudlin epilogue to the Huntsville rap story, finding hope in community and creativity, no longer in search of fleeting blog love.

  • Frank Ocean performs on 'Saturday Night Live'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Frank Ocean Shows Up Earl Sweatshirt on 'Sunday'

    Cities Aviv, "☮☮☮"From .Avi, an odds-and-sods mixtape collecting a bunch of in-transition tracks that show Memphis rapper Cities Aviv's move from the chillwave-tinged, Justus League-informed clutches of 2011's Digital Lows to the pigfuck hip-hop darkwave bad romance of late 2012's Black Pleasure. Featuring lumpy island vibes and on-point rapping that also doesn't give much of a shit, it finds Cities priggishly telling y'all, "Peace" over and over again, using "vacay" with a smirk, and making stoned-and-alone in-jokes between verses. ("It's really sunny, we're going steady, feel me.") It all trollishly ends a good minute before it should, just as those orchestrated pop strings really get going and the blunted, Walker Brothers-sounding beat settles on an elegantly looped bass line.Earl Sweatshirt ft.

  • Rich Homie Quan

    Rich Homie Quan's 'Type of Way' Is a Springy Street-Rap Hit

    In 2013, all the truly significant mainstream rap lurks at the bottom of the 'Billboard' Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, not the top.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Danny Brown's Guest Verses Are Pretty Great, Too

    Rap Songs of the Week: Danny Brown's Guest Verses Are Pretty Great, Too

    Black Milk, "Perfected on Puritan Ave."Nostalgic bells, an expanding and contracting drone reminiscent of the THX soundcheck, and a few tricks from the orchestrated pop playbook of Philly-soul icon Thom Bell comprise the majority of this Black Milk beat. Then a beautiful little swarm of horns comes humming in, lulling you into an underground-rap-comfort-food head-nodding reverie. Then he cuts the horns short for an acoustic-guitar interlude, only to throw that out of the way and drop in a guitar-skronking, saxophone-squawking free jazz explosion. And finally, the original, much more pleasant beat returns, now with a little bit of headfucking flanger on it. Black Milk's upcoming album is titled No Poison, No Paradise; this jagged jumpcut of a beat leans toward the latter via disparate samples and a collage-like, Donuts-era Dilla approach.

  • Johnny Rain

    See Johnny Rain's Brooding 'Jericho' Video

    The hypnotic video for "Jericho," a stand-out from the Southern California singer's album L.O.M. (Lullaby Of Machine), released earlier this year, is like a hip-hop visionary Hype Williams remaking some ritualistic short by '60s fall-out film freak Kenneth Anger: A woman writhes in slow motion in front of an ominous sunset; Rain himself rests on a throne, in near dark. It's all appropriately moody yet a little bit hard to fully grasp the goings-on. That fits the producer/singer's intimate vision of R&B, though. Signed to Tricky Stewart's Redzone Entertainment as a producer, but unsigned as an artist, Rain's work on "Jericho" balances 2013 R&B expectations (which are grow increasingly ambitious and experimental in and of themselves), with the searching, do-whatever values of an artist who doesn't have to cater to expectations.

  • Kendrick Lamar

    Kendrick Lamar's 'Control' Verse: Not as Impressive as It Seems

    Last night, Big Sean released "Control," a track that won't make his upcoming album, Hall of Fame, due to sample-clearance issues. It's a seven-minute epic pulled along by a squeaky Spanish-language sample, with guest verses from a terse, confident Jay Electronica and an acrobatic Kendrick Lamar.

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