Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Le1f's Bold Banger, and Jay Z's Mystifying Daft Punk Team-Up

    Rap Songs of the Week: Le1f's Bold Banger, and Jay Z's Mystifying Daft Punk Team-Up

    100s ft. Redinho, "Ten Freaky Hoes"The "hipster Iceberg Slim" snarl of 100s' Ice Cold Perm appeared out of nowhere back in 2012, with cloud-rap pimp-slap vibes and an album-cover tribute to Snoop Dogg's Tha Doggfather that forecasted its ephemeral fuck-with-it-for-a-few-weeks-and-forget-it qualities. But here we are, two years later, and this creeper from Berkeley, CA, has knocked out a masterful '80s-funk sprawler with IVRY, full of Zapp vocoder inhales and grind-friendly electro basslines.

  • macklemore & ryan lewis, billboard, hot rap songs chart, thrift shop

    Billboard's Hot Rap Songs of All Time List: A Baffling Nerd Out

    To mark the 25th anniversary of their Hot Rap Songs Chart, Billboard released their "Top 100 Songs of All Time" list and, unsurprisingly, it's both fascinating and frustrating. Let's begin by calling attention to how this list was constructed: It is "based on on actual performance on the weekly Hot Rap Songs chart," with some adjustments for "various changes in chart rules, chart length and methodology throughout the years."That is to say, it is not a list that concerns itself with the quality of these songs. So, for example, Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" is at #1 because it dominated the Hot Rap Songs charts longer than say, Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa," which sits at #8 — not because it is the "better" song.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Migos Stay Transcendently Repetitious with 'Antidope'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Migos Stay Transcendently Repetitious with 'Antidope'

    KIT ft. Jeremiah Meece, "Cinnamon & Gold Teeth"Hey there, ScHoolboy Q, I'm gonna let you finish, but this KIT character from Chicago, connected to the broken-R&B crew JODY, is making the best pill-addled, druggy, art-gangsta music right now, despite Oxymoron being the no. 1 album in the country and all that good stuff.

  • Big K.R.I.T.

    Stream Big K.R.I.T.'s Howling Anthem 'Wolf On Wall Street'

    In preparation for his second studio album Cadillactica, out this fall, country rap tunes resurrector Big K.R.I.T. has been releasing potential album tracks as part of an ambitious free music giveaway he's calling "Week of KRIT." Today we have "Wolf On Wall Street," a breezy boastful banger produced by K.R.I.T. and Childish Major, the ambient-trap maestro best known for Rocko's haunting "U.O.E.N.O.," and a number of tracks on Atlanta rapper Rome Fortune's Beautiful Pimp mixtape series. The "Wolf On Wall Street" beat is a knotty collaboration, with K.R.I.T.'s unmistakeable Southern hip-hop pulse and some crying blues guitars propelling the production forward, while atmospheric electronica and the eerie sampling associated with Childish Major moves in the background. The track proudly bridges the gap between Dirty South traditionalism and "New ATL" futurism.

  • Rome Fortune

    Rome Fortune Thinks Outside the Trap, Shoots Dolphins With Laser Guns

    Who: Open-eared Atlanta rapper Rome Fortune, 22, whose latest mixtape, Beautiful Pimp II, a follow-up to last year's Beautiful Pimp (SPIN's #23 Best Hip-Hop Album of 2013), mixes stoic raps with expressive beats. Rome says that the former is "strictly mood-driven," and indeed, at 11 tracks over 29 minutes, it feels more like a single cut — or a futuristic suite — than a mere well-curated collection of songs. The first single, "I was on one, I can't lie.," for example, mixes smooth R&B vocals with Boards of Canada-like synths and halcyon record scratches. Beautiful Pimp II also features Rome's grandfather, a jazz musician, on vibraphone. With the interludes, Fortune says, "You're just seeing the music in my bloodline. And jazz is pretty much parallel to hip-hop in my eyes."Trash Rappers: Thanks to his grandfather, Fortune's introduction to music as creative expression began early.

  • Euro League

    Hear Euro League's Atmospheric Bronx Banger, 'Gold Chains In a Dungeon'

    Bronx rapper Euro League and his featured guest Doley Bernays are members of the New York collective ReeLife. (You may have heard Bernays' verses on producer and SPIN-favorite Brenmar's High End Times Vol. 1 earlier this month.) On Euro's "Gold Chains In a Dungeon" Bernays appears again, with a vicious verse that gives the track a final lyrical turbo boost, perfectly complementing Euro's intensity. The title of this track alone is enough to nail the song's tricky tension between glitzy swagger and grimy atmospherics."Gold Chain" is a song supported by narcotic, street rap peripherals: It was produced by Skhyehutch (Kendrick Lamar's "Sing About Me, Dying Of Thirst") and MP Williams (A$AP Rocky's "Ghetto Symphony"), and features Pain In Da Ass (who you may recall from the intro to Jay Z's "Brooklyn's Finest" off Jay's 1996 classic, Reasonable Doubt).

  • Rick Ross / Photo by Krista Schlueter

    Rick Ross Runs Out of Self-Mythologizing Steam on the Dull-Witted 'Mastermind'

    Rick Ross' sixth album dishes up more of the consequence-free, projected-in-IMAX, "real" street shit the Miami boss built his name banging out, but he's running on autopilot now. His best work, as flaunted on 2009's Deeper Than Rap and 2010's Teflon Don, benefited from low stakes and low expectations: The beats sounded great, and he was actually trying to rap well, and he actually succeeded sometimes.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: James Blake's Trippy Remix of Kendrick Lamar's 'm.A.A.d city'

    Rap Songs of the Week: James Blake's Trippy Remix of Kendrick Lamar's 'm.A.A.d city'

    DENA, "Bad Timing"Bulgarian rapper and singer DENA is a faux-naive chanteuse, like Nico if she were raised on the conversational, occasionally bleating bombast of M.I.A. In 2014 and hip-hop's anything-goes mindset, viewing DENA as an "outsider" makes no sense at all, even if her introspective rattling, "skillz"-be-damned spitting probably troubles the genre's gatekeepers. What DENA has is a quiet pop ambition, R&B melodicism, and a whole lot of singer-songwriter-type sincerity mixed with wizened real talk. Ex.

  • Schoolboy Q / Photo by Getty Images

    ScHoolboy Q's 'Oxymoron' Both Transcends and Succumbs to Gangsta Rap's Baser Impulses

    ScHoolboy Q, the most unambitious and conventional member of Southern California's ambitious, unconventional Black Hippy crew, drops scrunched-up, novelistic raps about street life over sizzurp-dipped, purp-clouded production. But when you consider Kendrick Lamar's whirling narratives about gang violence's effects on the regular guy, Ab-Soul's wild-eyed raps about DMT and Twin Towers conspiracy theories, Jay Rock's tough-guy tone poems, and Isaiah Rashad's harrowing tales of self-injury and family strife, a little conventionality can be refreshing: Q cuts through all his buddies' heady bullshit and just tells it like it is. That's the point of gangsta rap, right?Oxymoron, the rapper's third full-length and first for Interscope, is powered by the sturdy widescreen hedonism of Dr.

  • Nicki Minaj's Malcolm X Controversy: What Her Critics Got Wrong

    Nicki Minaj's Malcolm X Controversy: What Her Critics Got Wrong

    Last week, when Nicki Minaj released her new song, "Lookin' Ass Nigga," she got two completely different reactions. Her fans were excited by the prospect of a new rappity-rap song from their heroine, complete with a music video that trolled the rap patriarchy and ambitiously commented on hip-hop objectification. But her detractors quickly denounced the "unofficial" single art — a famous photo of Malcolm X with a rifle in his hands, peering out a window in his home — as deeply, unforgivably offensive. The art was unwise — even the Malcolm X estate itself took issue — and Nicki apologized just one day after posting it, though on Hot 97 a few days later, she defended her use of the image, which she viewed as “a parallel” for the way women are attacked in hip-hop culture.

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