Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • Eve / Photo by Getty Images

    No Trivia's Rap Release of the Week: Eve's 'Lip Lock'

    Finally, after 11 years, we've got a new Eve album. Her first since 2002's Eve-Olution, it actually lives up to the buggy, nervy promise offered via a half-decade of underrated and unfairly maligned singles like "Tambourine” (air-raid siren meets a Soul Seachers sample yammer-rap), "Me N' My" (a dubstep-pop track before everybody was doing them), and "Coolin'" (a scream of squeak-synths from producer Swizz Beatz). Although none of those tracks ended up on Lip Lock, most of the record — save for an unfortunate collaboration with Cobra Starship vocalist Gabe Saporta called "Make It Out of This Town" — works off that same blueprint of rap-rave weirdness.

  • Chief Keef

    The RIAA's On-Demand Stream Policy Is Hostile to Hip-Hop

    As SPIN reported via Billboard last week, the Recording Industry Association of America announced that it will now count the number of streams an album receives towards its gold and platinum status. The services whose streams will be considered are MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, and Xbox Music. Also, video views from MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music, and YouTube are going to be factored in. A hundred streams will count as one download, because, well, the RIAA says so.Although this looks like an aging-out aspect of the industry acknowledging the present, it will have devastating effects for hip-hop and, ultimately, may leave the genre further out on the margins of the pop mainstream.

  • Action Bronson / Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty

    No Trivia's Rap Songs of the Week: Action Bronson Is About to Get His Axl Rose On

    Ab-Soul - "Back Then"In which Ab-Soul, one of XXL's 2013 Freshman (even though he's been flirting with the mainstream going on two years now, and is bros with everybody's big-time rap hero Kendrick Lamar), bleats over a skittering, half-evil Harry Fraud beat that nods to both exploitation movie synth-trash, and throbbing strip-club bangers. “Back Then” makes a case that Ab-Soul, the most eccentric Black Hippy member, could become a radio-friendly rapper run amok. Between this and Ab's appearance on Chance the Rapper's "Smoke Again," is he molting into some kind of weirdly nimble booty-club lyricist? Wale, watch out!

  • Riff Raff, from 'One Life to Live'

    Riff Raff Trolls James Franco, Channels Brando, on Surreal Soap Opera 'One Life to Live'

    Yesterday, Riff Raff appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live as a menacing art dealer straight out of Miami named Jamie Franko. This stunt, it seems, was inspired by James Franco's own stint on General Hospital, and fueled by Franco's steady refusal to acknowledge the influence of Riff Raff on the character of Alien in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers. Although this is an absurdist coup for Riff Raff (and some stellar trolling of a Hollywood superstar), it is also important to point out that this shit is beyond low-stakes. One Life to Live is a long-running soap opera now relegated to being shown only on Hulu. It isn't exactly Franco doing General Hospital for, like, three years. Riff Raff is just creating another jokey-not-jokey layer to this whole James Franco vs. Riff Raff pseudo-tiff that Jody Highroller seems intent on milking and mocking for as long as possible.

  • Chance the Rapper / Photo by Gabriella DeGirolami

    No Trivia's Rap Release of the Week: Chance the Rapper's 'Acid Rap'

    Last week's rap release of the week was Rittz's sturdy The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant. Mostly because the obvious pick, Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap, was going to get a thorough evaluation thanks to a SPIN review (it was named an "Essential," read the review here). That Rittz album is special — the kind of thing you'll end up coming back to way more than you expect — but it doesn't possess the inspired sprawl of Acid Rap by any stretch of the imagination.This week, there are a couple of notable releases. Scotty, an Atlanta traditionalist wise enough not to saddle his rhymes with a savior complex, just released F.A.I.T.H, a confident step up from 2011's quite-good Summer Dreams (RIYL: Kevin Gates' The Luca Brasi Story).

  • DJ Mister Cee at Webster Hall, New York City, 2011 / Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

    Mister Cee, Arrested Again for Soliciting a Prostitute, Tries to Defend Himself

    On Saturday, Hot 97 DJ Calvin "Mister Cee" LeBrun was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. This is Mister Cee's third arrest for solicitation (most notably, in 2011. when he was arrested for receiving oral sex in his car from a man), and as a result, it resurrected the discussion of Cee's sexuality. But this time the DJ decided to address the situation directly, appearing this morning on Hot 97's morning show (hosted by Peter Rosenberg, K Foxx, and Cipha Sounds), along with Hot 97 program director Ebro Darden. He explained that the prostitute he solicited on Saturday was actually female, not male as previously reported, and confessed that he has an "an addiction...to prostitution." When he was asked whether he was gay, Mister Cee insisted that he was not, and acknowledged that this has been a rumor about him for years.

  • ST 2 Lettaz

    Watch ST 2 Lettaz's 'Green Light District' Video

    The third single from ST 2 Lettaz's March album, The G...The Growth & Development (following "Trillmatic" and "The Crown") is "Green Light District," an ode to "weed and drink" fitted with an appropriately foggy video. Like the best impulses of ST's former group G-Side, who broke up in September, it makes a lot out of a little. Set in one room, ST is surrounded by his friends, plus some evil college-dorm party atmosphere,  thanks to plenty of smoke, frantic rays of light, and everybody turn-up-hands-ing to the squishy, trap-tinged Block Beattaz production. In between the weed shout-outs (and zingers about how wack your stuff is), ST jokes that he was rejected from the kind of colleges that now pay him to perform, and boasts about how full his Gmail inbox is at the moment. Also, the way he says "garbage" when he raps, "That shit you got is garbage" is really rewarding.

  • Chance the Rapper / Photo by Gabriella DeGirolami

    Chance the Rapper, 'Acid Rap' (Self-Released)

    There are way too many ideas on Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap mixtape, but that's a good thing. Woozy, collage-like tracks don't stay one way for long, and lyrical conceits are held together by impulsive tangents and "woah, dude" thought experiments. On "Everybody's Something," a quasi-romantic though mostly real-talk evaluation of how and why we learn to care for one another, the 20-year-old Chicagoan mentions that God doesn't seem to answer his calls, imagines Jesus' Twitter account, wonders if he would even bother to follow that Twitter account, and while you're catching up with that Web 2.0 faith crisis, reminds you of his hometown's hallowed blues tradition. Then he zings the Rolling Stones for being mad late on co-opting that stuff.His new mixtape's best moments gain their power from such good-idea/bad-idea indulgences and batty risk-taking.

  • chris kelly kriss cross obituary

    Chris Kelly, Mac Daddy of Teen Rap Duo Kris Kross, Dead at 34

    Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly — who, with Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith, formed the early '90s teenaged rap group Kris Kross — was found dead in his Atlanta home Wednesday, May 1. His cause of death is unknown at this time, but the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office told reporters an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday. Kelly was just 34.An early experiment by Jermaine Dupri, who would go on to a successful career producing youth rap (see also Da Brat, Lil Bow Wow), Kris Kross were fitted with street-pop production and a goofy conceit. Yes, they wore their shirts and pants backwards, but they actually managed to do a whole lot with that.

  • Chance the Rapper

    No Trivia's Rap Songs of the Week: Chance the Rapper Calls Out 'That Fool Matt Lauer'

    Chance the Rapper, feat. Nate Fox & Lili K. "Pusha Man""Pusha Man" is two songs (maybe even three) working off that Kendrick Lamar-specific mix of empathy and frustration from the first-person perspective of a d-boy. The first song's a light chest-beating boast, complete with "nah nah nah nah" taunts, mocking those living the straight and narrow. The second song is more somber and insular, tapping into the existential vacuum that is hustling: "I was riding around with my blunt on my lips / With the sun in my eyes and my gun at my hip / Paranoia on my mind / Got my mind on the fritz." Then, in a surfer drawl that invokes Kool A.D. or some other arch stylist like that, he demands to know where the hell Matt Lauer is when it comes to covering the violence in his hometown of Chicago, and proves that he's adding to the Good Kid, M.A.A.D. city blueprint.

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