Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • Jay-Z

    Jay-Z and Samsung Are Selling the Concept of Selling Out

    When you're watching the three-minute teaser for Jay-Z's upcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail, it is easy to forget that it is really just a lengthy commercial for Samsung. A mostly hand-held, Fade to Black-like snapshot of Jay in the studio recording and attempting Ray Lewis-like speeches to his crew of producers and engineers is sorta exciting if you don't think about it too hard. Rick Rubin, Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz, and Timbaland are all there! That one beat almost sounds like the theme song to River's Edge or something, and then it goes dubstep, but, like, real U.K.

  • Iamsu/ Photo by Arturo Torres

    No Trivia's Rap Songs of the Week: Angry Russian Trap Rap; Iamsu! Shouts Out Stevie

    2Eleven, feat. Freddie Gibbs "Listen"Atlanta producer Tony Gardner is usually mentioned along with Compton Brick Squadder Ice Burgandy. The majority of Ice's Rhythm & Burgandy tape from last year was helmed by Gardner, who takes oft-flipped samples and rediscovers their animal-brain appeal. He exploits the cheap thrill of familiarity, and thrives on the precarious balance between know-your-history homage and straight-up derivative. In that sense, Gardner is the opposite of Tree, the Chicago producer who renders classic soul samples unrecognizable like an even more obsessive Dilla. On "Listen," Gardner molds Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" into a half-chopped, half-hobble with each percussive element crashing down like a RZA snare.

  • DJ Mustard

    Rap Release of the Week: DJ Mustard's 'Ketchup'

    DJ Mustard is best known for producing two radio-rap hits that stand out because of their considered use of just a few sounds and their animal brain-appealing, to-the-point minimalism: Tyga's "Rack City" and 2 Chainz's "I'm Different." Many of the songs on Ketchup, the compilation mixtape from Mustard, nod to those hits (the polite piano "I'm Different" is all over these tracks, as is the ominous gurgle of "Rack City"), though it feels less like a producer out of ideas than a self-referential, worker-bee creative type who trying to stretch his stalwart formula as far as possible. That's the appeal of these kind of utilitarian hip-hop styles: How much creative freedom can be found in such a confined space?Mustard's take on "ratchet music" turns out to be surprisingly flexible, as well as daring and experimental.

  • What So Not

    What So Not Get Wild-Eyed With Action Bronson on Bass-Wobbling 'The Quack'

    Queens tough guy Action Bronson has built his reputation on his ability to proffer slightly askew New York traditionalism, the gritty novelistic details of, say, Kool G Rap bent inward and used to, say, describe a real nice plate of veal cutlets or to eloquently and ridiculously compare his physique to Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime.What is often forgotten about Bronson, though, is his impressive talent for finding the pocket in any kind of beat put in front of him. He isn't restricted to his hometown's sound much at all.

  • Kanye West at Governor's Ball 2013 / Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage

    Kanye West's New 'I Am a God': 'Difficult' Art Rap for Art's Sake?

    As the release date of Kanye West's next album Yeezus nears, rap radio has taken to resurrecting recent Kanye West singles. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's "Monster" seems to be back in quasi-rotation and Cruel Summer cut "Clique," which never quite went away, has also returned with a vengeance. No doubt this is a way of feeding the demand for Kanye music until there are proper versions of any of the Yeezus tracks that have popped up in the past month or so. Though it's also hard to imagine that any of the songs he's teased so far — the prison-industrial-complex cry "New Slaves," the noisy rap-rocker "Black Skinhead," and the few tracks he played at the Governor's Ball NYC Festival Sunday evening — getting anywhere near the radio anyway.

  • Snoop Lion on 'One Life to Live'

    Snoop Lion Tells You to Take Care of Your Seed on Out-There Soap Opera 'One Life to Live'

    So, it's pretty apparent that the HULU soap opera One Life To Live, which just last month, allowed absurdist rapper Riff Raff to make an appearance as a lecherous baller named Jamie Franko, realizes that it's got absolutely nothing to lose. The main thrust of the show's casting decisions seems to be, "What weird stunt can we pull that gets people talking?" And recently, the show has been using big, eccentric hip-hop personalities to garner interest. Snoop Lion has been popping up on the show since May 28th, but his final appearance, on today's episode, was the strangest. He showed up to give advice to character Matthew about being a father who needs to stick around and raise his child: "A real man don't run.

  • 2 Chainz/ Photo by Getty Images

    No Trivia's Rap Songs of the Week: 2 Chainz Rides That Daft Punk 'Get Lucky' Wave

    2 Chainz, feat. Pharrell "Feds Watching"Here's how a hip-hop hit comes about in 2013. 2 Chainz, ubiquitous rapper, puts out a new single with a little bit of Pharrell in there, because that Pharrell Williams is soooo hawt right now, thanks to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." For real, there's just no way this wasn't some not-deserving-of-a-bonus-track chilling out in the vaults somewhere, resurrected just to tap into that "Get Lucky" zeitgeist, right? It would be nice to not have to think of new rap singles as completely calculated moves determined entirely by forces that have nothing to do with hip-hop, but that's how it works right now. Pharrell's beat is something else, though.

  • Young Jeezy / Photo by Getty Images

    No Trivia's Rap Release of the Week: Young Jeezy's '#ItsThaWorld' EP

    For a very long time, Young Jeezy's success was based on something really, really simple: He knew precisely what he could do well and wisely avoided everything else. Namely, he could shout and bray coke-dealer platitudes (with just enough of the dark stuff mixed in there to resonate) over damn-near-Wagnerian production. His debut, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, and the follow-up, The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102, were perfectly executed, operatic trap music. His third album, The Recession, was a sly political-ish album that found a new use for Jeezy's mean-mugging production: He began to voice a frustration outside of his own d-boy disappointments.

  • Cam'ron, who popularized 'No homo' / Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen for Getty Images

    Roy Hibbert, 'No Homo,' and How Hip-Hop Fits Into This

    After uttering the hip hop-derived phrase "no homo" at a press conference on Saturday night, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers was fined $75,000, though not suspended from tonight's seventh game of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Hibbert spoke after the Pacers' Game 6 victory, evaluating his defensive play by saying. "There was Game 3 here that I felt I let [Pacers swingman] Paul [George] down in terms of having his back when LeBron [James] was scoring in the post or getting into the paint, because they stretched me out so much — no homo." He chuckled and kept talking about the game.Quickly, let's explain the phrase "no homo" because the sports media is doing a terrible job with this mini-controversy: "No homo" is a phrase culled from mid-2000s hip-hop, popularized by the notoriously absurd Harlem rappers Cam'ron and Dipset.

  • The 40 Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2013 So Far

    The 40 Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2013 So Far

    Thanks to Baauer's "Harlem Shake," a phony-baloney, Google-bomb banger forced down our throats, 2013 will go down as the year the major labels and kinda-like-a-big-deal tastemakers cracked the Internet buzz-machine code. But to kick against that cynical maniplation, here are 40 songs (primarily hip hop, or at least, hip hop-enough) that, for the most part, have sneaked under the radar: Dick-game advice from a couple of Bay Area braggarts; tough guys who love Nicholas Sparks; the year's three big radio-rap hits that don't stink; a new-age Fatman Scoop tribute; and 34 more.

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Now Playing
  • 1 Stalley — Jackin' Chevys (Prod. by Rashad) " 03:26
  • 2 Emile Haynie — A Kiss Goodbye (feat. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Devonté Hynes, Sampha) " 03:46
  • 3 Rusko — I Wanna Mingle (ft Pusher) " 02:37
  • 4 Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL — U KNOW " 03:57
  • 5 Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL — WHITECAPS " 03:43

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