Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • From Simon Reinhardt's 'At the DJ Screw Museum'

    No Trivia's Friday Five: An Artisanal Tribute to DJ Screw

    1. Simon Reinhardt's At the DJ Screw Museum: Based on the Donald Barthelme short story "At the Tolstoy Museum," cartoonist Simon Reinhardt (who also runs the rap Tumblr, BASIC FACTS U SHOULD ALREADY KNOW) presents a screenprinted hip-hop dork fantasy that imagines an epic Screw museum with glass floors and giant war propaganda-sized images of the DJ and his pals. Meanwhile, Trae freestyles in the lobby, and syrup-sloshed attendees are whisked away by security. Reinhardt even finds room for some curt rap criticism: "I was listening to the 'Wanna Be a Baller' flow from Southside Still Holdin', the Fat Pat R.I.P. tape...Screw briefly mixed '25 Lighters' into the Original Lil' Troy beat. I was in awe of the song and its menace and mystery"; "Some people found his style annoying or boring...but to me it was vivid and mournful.

  • Juiceboxxx / Photo by Miri Matsufuji

    Watch Juiceboxxx's 'Pump It (Remix)' Video Featuring Antwon, Kool A.D., More

    Juiceboxxx's "Pump It Remix" is an Internet-rap posse-cut event. Antwon compares himself to Congolese baller Dikembe Mutombo and eventually rhymes the finger-wagging NBA center's name with um, "butthole"; Kool A.D delivers one of his deceptively brilliant,  half-assed, super-tight raps (see also, the recent "Hood Party" cut from Fat Tony). Speaking of Fat Tony, he expertly rides a thumping funk-beat change-up, and Issue does Issue, which, well, no one else on the planet can do, really. Finally, Juiceboxxx channels Check Your Head's sunny, silly, punch-you-in-the-face aggression. It's a gathering of people trying really hard not to sound like they're trying.

  • Grande Marshall/ Photo by Shanty Dorm

    Rap Release of the Week: GrandeMarshall's 'Mugga Man'

    Philadelphia-born, Fool's Gold-signed rapper GrandeMarshall's new mixtape Mugga Man nods to a number of still-effective, though well-worn rap styles, without narrowcasting, pandering, or just sitting there getting all fat and comfortable on immediate nostalgia.

  • Diddy

    No Trivia's Friday Five: Diddy Performed at 'Wrestlemania,' Enough Said, Right?

    There's a new Jay-Z song out about Cuba or something? Don't even worry about it, though. We've got RiFF RAFF out-Franco-ing James Franco, Diddy hanging out with the wrestling riff-raff, a Drake and Amanda Bynes mini-comic, an Antwon fan shredding on a bass guitar, and the quiet return of Mannie Fresh.1. RiFF RAFF Is Going to Be on a Soap Opera: Is RiFF RAFF seeking the ultimate revenge on James Franco and Spring Breakers for not properly crediting him? Yes, the character of Alien isn't entirely jacked from the absurdist sincerity of Jody Highroller, but the moviemakers' decision to downplay his importance to the characterization is unfortunate.

  • Dawn Richard

    Rap Songs of the Week: Dirty Money Lives On!

    Nice to see Kalenna, the other member of Diddy's Dirty Money project showing up on a radio-ready song with Rich Boy (who also hasn't really gotten the second chance he deserves). And Dawn Richard returns the major-label cast-off favor by spotlighting Eve! Meanwhile, Tyga panders, James Blake gets in over his head with the RZA, and a should-be-buzzing producer, Tony Gardner, puts himself in front of the mic.Dawn Richard, feat. Eve "Northern Lights (Remix)""Northern Lights," from Richard's album Goldenheart, now featuring Eve, is like a gathering of the perpetually underrated. Richard, formerly of Danity Kane and Diddy Dirty-Money, is making some of the most fulgent R&B right now, though it neither codes as "alt" or "mainstream," and as a result doesn't grab that many ears.

  • Ammbush / Photo by Marcus Ubungen

    Rap Release of the Week: Ammbush's 'Ammbaataa'

    There's not much information out there on Oakland producer-rapper Ammbush. He has made beats for DaVinci ("Champion," "Quit Playin'") and Main Attrakionz ("Wings"), and his mixtape Ammbaataa, is out on SWTBRDS, one of many savvy labels aware that weirdo street-rap and all-over-the-place Internet hip-hop have become one. But that's all we've really got, and that's pretty refreshing. Here is some relatively unmarked rap territory to explore.Ammbush can get very serious ("Fool'n With You" is a game-kicking love song plus drug-abuse admission) and also very silly ("Kick it like Pele with Sheneneh extensions" he boasts on "Keep Going"), but you never feel like he's trying to be anybody other than himself, even when he wanders into Tumblr-esque curating.

  • LL Cool J and Brad Paisley/ Photo by Getty Images

    Dissecting Brad Paisley and LL Cool J's Politely Toxic Dud 'Accidental Racist'

    Country-rap conversation-starter "Accidental Racist," from Brad Paisley's new album Wheelhouse (out tomorrow), is a plastic-sounding Nashville facsimile fitted with rudimentary nods to hip-hop production — electronic drums tug along the almost six-minute song, while its studio effects-soaked sound vaguely nods to record scratching. That's the best you can say about it. The worst: A heretofore rational Paisley haplessly misreads America's racist past, then LL Cool J drops a guest verse addressing "Mr. White Man," presumptuously voicing the effects of that racist past.

  • Young Jeezy / Photo by Getty Images

    No Trivia's Friday Five: Young Jeezy Goes Hyphy, Leaves the Trap to Everybody Else

    1. Mykki Blanco Live @ the Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD 3/30: At this point, the only reason why Mykki Blanco isn't getting all-over-the-Internet love for picking up where Lil Wayne left off in 2008 or so is because of, well, you know why. That's a shame. Witnessing Mykki live at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore last Saturday was like a flash-forward to hip-hop's wonderfully freaked-out, outsider-inviting afterfuture. The show began with audio clips from the X-Men cartoon and Mykki raced to a fogged-up glass window and began scratching at it, acting out the mutant unleashed steez all up inside his songs. When "Wavvy" dropped, the whole crowd was asked to jump on the stage, and when the mic went out, Mykki kept rapping, staying on beat, just in case the mic decided to work again. It did for a few seconds.

  • Gunplay/ Photo by Getty Images

    Rap Songs of the Week: Gunplay Plus Dubstep Minus Lil Wayne Equals Everything

    This week's five songs are all over the place. We've got a bass remix, a #BASED club song, a rappin'-ass hero and problematic human being owning a dubstep beat, post-screw Tumblr rap from Texas, and a sober cautionary tale to bring you back down to earth. Enjoy.Ciara "Body Party (Remix by Kutcorners & Marvel)"With the Mike Will Made It-produced, Future co-written "Body Party," Ciara finally gets the type of song she deserves. See, it's been a rocky few years for the mid-2000s Crunk&B singer, and though her last two albums had some highlights (Fantasy Ride's black-out drunk anthem "I Don't Remember"; Basic Instinct's too-club-for-the-club "Gimme Dat"), both albums were pretty much subsumed by the unsubtle anti-ballad moves of EDM. "Body Party," however, is a tender, inviting, doin'-it song that matches the attitude and vulnerability found on 2004's Goodies.

  • Childish Major & Rome Fortune

    First Spin: Childish Major & Rome Fortune's 'Rights for Wrongs'

    Which beat from producer Childish Major first grabbed your ears? It was presumably the stunning work he did on Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O." — a slowly molting Basinski-like loop of decaying synths — which was subsequently overwhelmed by two lunkheaded lines from Rick Ross. Or maybe it was the production he did for fellow New ATLien (and SPIN Best New Artist for April) Rome Fortune, on the mixtape Beautiful Pimp. Just to name a few from that low-key highlight of this young year: There's "Balcony," a rising and falling loop of squeaks, stutters, and grunts; the space-age then underwater Ennio Morricone take on "Art of Art"; and the Atari glitch riff on Art of Noise, "Small VVorld."Well, add another quietly avant production to that list of favorites. "Rights For Wrongs" is the first single from Childish Major's upcoming mixtape of the same name.

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