Brandon Soderberg



  • 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 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.

  • Rittz

    No Trivia's Rap Release of the Week: Rittz's 'The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant'

    Last August, Rittz signed to Tech N9ne's Strange Music Imprint. Strange is an independent label that's become massively successful with little assistance from the major-label system. It's often associated with the Insane Clown Posse's similarly DIY label Psychopathic Records and, indeed, there is some crossover, with Tech playing the Gathering of the Juggalos and frequently collaborating with ICP. If you wanted to understand Rittz's approach, too, well, he rests somewhere between Strange and Psychopathic: The dexterous, fast-rap, Geto Boys-loving intensity of Tech rubbing up against the goofball sincerity and the DGAF poor-white-boy-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder nuttiness of Violent Jay and Shaggy 2 Dope.Consider Rittz's come-up, for a moment.

  • Gene the Southern Child/ Photo by Jameah Sullivan

    Stream Gene the Southern Child & Parallel Thought's 'Artillery Splurging'

    Artillery Splurging, from Muscle Shoals-based rapper Gene the Southern Child and New Jersey-based production bros Parallel Thought, is one of the year's best small-stakes rap albums. In particular, Parallel Thought's flattering though challenging production is very good at providing focus to on-the-cusp-of-great MCs. There's an aggressive, almost ridiculously soft feeling that assists Gene's mealy-mouthed, melody-packed raps.

  • De La Soul / Photo by Robbie Jeffers

    Rap Songs of the Week: De La Soul Get Cranky Gracefully

    De La Soul "Get Away (feat. the Spirit of the Wu)"De La Soul's brand new, totally oldhead track, "Get Away," samples the Wu Tang Forever skit "Intro" (the imminently quotable one that kicks off disc two and hypes up "Triumph") and proceeds to tell listeners what they are already know: Hip-hop sucks right now. At least, that's what you already know if you're checking for a new De La track in 2013, right? There is of course, some knotty levels of history to this song that keep it interesting: On Forever, when the RZA and GZA spoke out against "rap & bullshit," they were referencing the term De La had founded back in 1991, on De La Soul is Dead, so this is a nice nod back, more than 20 years later.

  • Tink & Beautiful Lou

    Watch Western Tink & Beautiful Lou's 'Drawn' Video

    Around this time last year, SPIN premiered the video for Western Tink & Beautiful Lou's "Fancy Schmancy," a lurching Terminator soundtrack-sounding rap with a video that included a stripper pole in the most dorm room-ish of apartments, complete with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posters on the wall. This March, the duo's collaborative mixtape Mobbin' No Sobbin' was finally released. Worth the wait, it's one of 2013's strangest and best pieces of work.

  • Black Milk

    Rap Release of the Week: Black Milk's 'Synth or Soul'

    This novelty from Detroit producer Black Milk is an all-instrumental experiment in two styles of beatmaking: Electronics that nod to the guys-in-labcoats era of synthesized computer music, and good old-fashioned, always-stalwart soul-sampling. In the hands of lesser producers, this may have been just a cheap hard-drive dump, but Black Milk is one of the most sensitive producers still working in the world of "real hip-hop," today. He seems to be purging his old-head tendencies here, and moving further toward the post-true school underground fusion first perfected on his beat for Slum Village's "Reunion," back in 2004.Better yet, Black's vision for "synth" and "soul" beats gets blurry, so there's not that stark of a difference between the A-side and B-side.

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