Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • 120120-tyga-2.png

    Tyga's 'Rack City' Is the Best Song on the Radio Right Now: Here Are 10 Reasons Why

    1. It sounds like it's from 6 years ago. Producer DJ Mustard's maddeningly catchy combo of hums, snaps, grunts, and claps is an affront to the cacophony of over-production currently in-vogue. It's got nothing to do with the Uncle Luke and MC Hammer fusion of Big Sean's "A$$," the mash-up idiocy of J. Cole's "Work Out" (Kanye's "The New Workout Plan" plus Paula Abdul's "Straight Up"), or Flo Rida's "Good Feeling," which crumples up an Etta James sample and everything else from Aviici's "Le7els" and adds some mom-friendly rapping. Instead, "Rack City" is a welcome throwback to the mid-2000s, gulping 808s of Ying Yang Twins' "Wait (The Whisper Song)," the cheapo synth stabs of D4L's "Laffy Taffy," and the yammering minimalism of the Pack's "Vans." 2.

  • The Weeknd, 'Echoes of Silence' (Self-released)

    The Weeknd, 'Echoes of Silence' (Self-released)

    Neither as relentlessly hooky as March's House of Balloons nor as noisy and hatefuck-filled as August's Thursday, the third 2011 mixtape from Internet-driven phenom Abel Tesfaye nonetheless continues his mastery of the druggy/lovey/loathing Weeknd thing. So isn't it about time we just declare this guy a straight R&B act? He's on Drake's Take Care; devotees of Trey Songz are listening to him, too. The hipster accusations just don't hold. And this is his most straightforward take on radio R&B yet. Echoes of Silence begins with a goofy, gutsy remake of Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana," mysteriously titled "D.D" so as to not spoil that first-listen, "Oh-no-he-didn't-just-cover-MJ" moment. Replacing the original's heavy-metal signifying with mournful Requiem for a Dream strings is both inspired and predictable. And by singing the song straight, Tesfaye doesn't hedge his bets.

  • 50 Mixtapes You Need Now

    50 Mixtapes You Need Now

    You won't find most of the year's important or just plain entertaining hip-hop releases in any store. You'll find them right here (in alphabetical -- not ranked!order). More From SPIN's December 2011 Issue: -- Live from the New Underground: SPIN Celebrates Hip-Hop's DIY Moment -- Photos: A Close-Up Look at Rap's New Underground -- G-Side Launch a Hardscrabble, Regular-Dude Revolution -- An Insanely Obsessive Infographic Tries (in Vain) to Diagram the Hip-Hop Galaxy 01. 2 Chainz Codeine Cowboy Member of the Ludacris-backed Playaz Circle (remember "Duffle Bag Boy"?), formerly known as, um, Tity Boi, crafts a more-diverse-than-it-needs-to-be collection of syrupy swagger. 02.

  • Drake, 'Take Care' (Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic)

    Drake, 'Take Care' (Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic)

    Perhaps "Headlines" had you thinking Take Care would be Drake's humble moment. On that relatively upbeat single, he raps, "I might be too strung out on compliments, overdosed on confidence," and, later, expresses appreciation for the fans who told him he "fell off" between his hit 2009 mixtape So Far Gone and his star-packed 2010 debut Thank Me Later. And even though "Headlines" is pretty much a rewrite of a previous hit — the "6 Foot 7 Foot" to "Over" 's "A Milli" — that hardly matters because Drake is consciously lapping himself, returning to the same topic and style with another year of experience, making his conflicted approach to being richer than you just a little more lived-in. An appropriately absurd cover depicting a despondent Drizzy, five o'clock shadow-sad, looking like a decadent Baba Booey, also foreshadowed a hard, if melodramatic, look in the mirror.

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    An Insanely Obsessive Infographic Tries (in Vain) to Diagram the Hip-Hop Galaxy

    As the galaxy of hip-hop stars shrinks, the industry realigns, creating a dynamic New Underground of fresh MCs and producers, plus a crew of wizened veterans who are filling the Internet-era vacuum of power. The various scenes are almost impossible to keep track of, or, God forbid, diagram, which is why we decided to try. Here's a handy (or baffling) guide to what's happening right now. More From SPIN's December 2011 Issue:• Live from the New Underground: SPIN Celebrates Hip-Hop's DIY Moment• G-Side Launch a Hardscrabble, Regular-Dude Revolution• Odd Future: The New Underground's Loud Family Goes on the Road Infographic by Pop Chart Lab (Click to enlarge)

  • Live from the New Underground: SPIN Celebrates Hip-Hop's DIY Moment

    Live from the New Underground: SPIN Celebrates Hip-Hop's DIY Moment

    Goodbye, big-money bollocks and big-city trappings. Hello, tireless Internet hustlers taking their futures into their own hands. Welcome to hip-hop's DIY moment. More From SPIN's December 2011 Issue:• G-Side Launch a Hardscrabble, Regular-Dude Revolution• Odd Future: The New Underground's Loud Family Goes on the Road• An Insanely Obsessive Infographic Tries (in Vain) to Diagram the Hip-Hop Galaxy Rail-thin in skinny jeans and engulfed by a white T-shirt, one side of his hair shaved, the other long, straightened, and dangling in front of his face, Danny Brown steps to center stage. As a cluster of hard drums and groaning psychedelic guitars drops, he yells, "What?!" Throwing up his arms and sticking out his tongue, Brown reveals a significant gap where his front teeth should be, then doles out high-fives to a mob of hip-hop heads, hipsters, and dance-music dorks.

  • Black Milk and Danny Brown, 'Black and Brown!' (Fat Beats)

    Black Milk and Danny Brown, 'Black and Brown!' (Fat Beats)

    On Danny Brown's recent XXX mixtape, the Internet-beloved MC moved beyond his Detroit hometown's hardhead style, rapping over Hawkwind and This Heat samples in a voice that simultaneously invoked Waka Flocka Flame and Eminem. Here, the "Adderall Admiral" forces fellow Motor City undergrounder Black Milk to bug out and break his mold, as well. On ten songs in just 20 minutes, Black twists prog and BBC radio samples into hissing, even "hypnagogic" hip-hop, then hands the results over to Brown, who shouts suicidal thoughts and sex boasts with wild abandon. One song is called "WTF," which, um, yeah, exactly.

  • Black Milk and Danny Brown, 'Black and Brown!' (Fat Beats)

    On Danny Brown's recent XXX mixtape, the Internet-beloved MC moved beyond his Detroit hometown's hardhead style, rapping over Hawkwind and This Heat samples in a voice that simultaneously invoked Waka Flocka Flame and Eminem. Here, the "Adderall Admiral" forces fellow Motor City undergrounder Black Milk to bug out and break his mold, as well. On ten songs in just 20 minutes, Black twists prog and BBC radio samples into hissing, even "hypnagogic" hip-hop, then hands the results over to Brown, who shouts suicidal thoughts and sex boasts with wild abandon. One song is called "WTF," which, um, yeah, exactly.

  • The Field, 'Looping State of Mind' (Kompakt)

    The Field, 'Looping State of Mind' (Kompakt)

    Sample-slicing producer Axel Wilner followed up the mini-Moroder intensity of 2007 debut From Here We Go Sublime with 2009's Yesterday & Today, a much-too-considered-for-the-dance-floor sea change that wasn't quite beautiful enough to stand on its own. His latest nods back to his earlier style ("It's Up There," "Arpeggiated Love"), but even when it does ease up and get all contemplative (the syrupy, modern-classical groove of "Then It's White," enigmatic album-ender "Sweet Slow Baby"), the results are even more immersive than the stuttering microhouse rhythms on which he built his reputation originally.

  • 111003-hip-hop.png

    J Cole's Starry Eyes vs. Phonte's Long View

    Phonte Coleman, one half of electronic R&B duo the Foreign Exchange, and formerly of defunct Durham, North Carolina, rap group Little Brother, declares at the start of his solo debut Charity Starts At Home: "I do this all for hip-hop." Then he pauses and laughs, "I'm lying like shit, I do this for my goddamn mortgage." The album title makes clear that lofty goals like changing the world, one conscious rhyme at a time, have been replaced with something more practical.

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