Brandon Soderberg

writer

Biography

  • Riffin' and Samplin': Danny Brown Raps Bob Dylan, and Jimmy Page Remixes Biggie

    Riffin' and Samplin': Danny Brown Raps Bob Dylan, and Jimmy Page Remixes Biggie

    On Friday, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page released “Ramblize,” a remix/mashup of the Notorious B.I.G.'s “Hypnotize" and Led Zep's "Ramble On," with Page's guitar and Robert Plant's vocals sliced up into little pieces to make a lithe, serviceable, boom-bap-suggestive hip-hop beat, with scratching and everything. But given the famous name involved, no one is willing to state the obvious: It stinks. Soundcloud is filled with these sorts of slightly-above-amateur remixes.Then again, whether or not “Ramblize” is any good is besides the point: The very idea of a world-famous Guitar God rearranging one of his own songs and sticking a classic rap a cappella over it is still a pretty big deal in terms of how and where hip-hop can stick its head.

  • Juicy J in Los Angeles, August 2013

    Rap Songs of the Week: Juicy J Goes Back to His Roots on Da Mafia 6ix's 'Body Parts'

    CREEP ft. Dark Sister, "Jessica King"Echoes, the way-too-long-in-the-making album from Brooklyn cool-goth duo CREEP, finally arrived this week, and woah, it kind of sounds like a melted Popol Vuh record remixed by two Kate Bush fans and assisted by every dark-arts-dabbling Brooklynite! That's a good thing, by the way. On "Jessica King," they're paired with Memphis white-girl rap group Dark Sister, unabashed KORN fans and period-blood provocateurs doing their own take on the evil-whispering flow of Satan-summoning hometown heroes Triple Six Mafia, here delivering an obsessive, incantation-like, astral-plane-traveling rap from the beyond the grave that imagines Christina Rosetti ghostwriting for Gangsta Boo.

  • G-Side at SPIN@Stubb's, Austin, March 16, 2012

    G-Side Reunite on New Track, 'Forever'

    G-Side, the Huntsville, Alabama regular dude space-rap duo of ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova are back together. Last fall, they announced their break-up days after ST appeared at the Hopscotch Music Festival performing solo. Interviews with SPIN suggested that the split seemed fairly amicable. The group had hit something of ceiling in terms of success ("It was time to go elsewhere creatively," ST explained), especially because they seemed unwilling to sign to a major label. "It seemed like we were close to a deal," Clova told SPIN, a little frustrated. The grind of generating a steady amount of press (like a feature in SPIN's November 2011 "hip-hop issue"), doing plenty of shows, and still not exactly making enough money to rap full-time can be frustrating.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Eminem Turns Joe Walsh into Slim Shady on 'So Far...'

    Rap Songs of the Week: Eminem Turns Joe Walsh into Slim Shady on 'So Far...'

    Brenmar & Matic808, "High Art"Mykki Blanco beatmaker and all-over-the-place producer Brenmar here joins Matic808, the Baltimore club kid who remixed the entirety of Kanye West's Yeezus and made it even more noisy and frenetic, for this ripped-apart remix of The-Dream's "High Art." Changing shape every 30 seconds or so, it begins as an Art of Noise "Moments in Love" homage (and adds some of Jay Z's dorky aww exhortations), then bloops and slinks along at a Terius pace, then quickly turns on the nitro-boosters Stallone-in-Cobra style and embodies big dumb corporate Bmore club by way of Las Vegas, then downshifts into a typical Bmore remix — which of course isn't typical at all, all malfunctioning stutters and apocalyptic cries. And then, just when you think you've figured out its rhythms, it stops for a moment and returns as something just shy of twerk-friendly.

  • Action Bronson Keeps the Trashy-Yet-Classy Foodie-Rap Ball Rolling on 'Blue Chips 2'

    Action Bronson Keeps the Trashy-Yet-Classy Foodie-Rap Ball Rolling on 'Blue Chips 2'

    My job in high school involved driving from shithole supermarket to shithole supermarket with my supervisor, Mark, a husky, thirtysomething bruh with a big, red mustache and a chip-on-his-shoulder gait. He claimed that he had spent too much time in school "fawkin' 'round with puss-eee" to get a better job; he cat-called "hot moms," laughed at his own jokes (and laughed harder if you didn't), took frequent sushi breaks, loved David Lynch and Charles Bukowski, and once burned down his own sun porch when he fell asleep holding a lit cigarette (he laughed hard at that, too). I have no idea whether he's an Action Bronson fan or not.

  • Tracking the Problematic Path of Lorde's 'Royals' to Rap and R&B Radio

    Tracking the Problematic Path of Lorde's 'Royals' to Rap and R&B Radio

    A telling bumper occasionally pops up on our No. 1 radio home for hip-hop and R&B here in Baltimore. It identifies the station and then proudly announces that the playlist features "all shades of R&B." Usually, that's followed by Justin Timberlake's Mike Jack pastiche "Take Back the Night," or Robin Thicke's Pharrell and T.I.-assisted Marvin Gaye and/or Funkadelic mash-up "Blurred Lines." The inclusion of these crooning white boys on the station isn't new, but the decision for black radio, yes black radio, to advertise that it isn't segregated gives off some Twilight Zone vibes, you know?

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Rick Rubin Rescues That Whole Linkin Park/Steve Aoki Thing

    Rap Songs of the Week: Rick Rubin Rescues That Whole Linkin Park/Steve Aoki Thing

    Grip Plyaz, "Ray Lewis"These past few years, Atlanta freakazoid Grip Plyaz has figured out how to blur the lines between earworm and meme, releasing don't-box-me-in-bruh lash-out "Fuck Dat Hipster Shit," the ridiculous "Stuntman Mike" (in which he compares himself to the Kurt Russell-played killer-car jerk in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof), and the transcendently vulgar "Died (In Yo Pussy)," a Richard Pryor-sampling slab of Atari minimalism. Now, there's "Ray Lewis," named after the recently retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker, known for his "dirty bird" pre-game dance and Bible-thumping (and batshit-crazy) locker-room missives.

  • Decoding Jay Z's Botched Barneys Statement

    Decoding Jay Z's Botched Barneys Statement

    So the moderately fancy department store Barneys New York is now weathering two separate accusations of racial profiling. Both involve African-American customers who made a purchase on their own credit cartds, but were confronted by the police and accused of fraud anyway. Because this is how things work in this country, the controversy immediately landed on the shoulders of a notable African-American celebrity: namely, Jay Z, who has a promotional deal with Barneys through the Shawn Carter Foundation to release a line of clothing, with all the proceeds going to charity — helping kids get to college, that kind of thing. A Change.Org petition demanded that he speak out, and the New York Daily News stuck his picture on the cover with the typically over-the-top headline “Jay Z under pressure to drop his business deal with Barneys or else he'll have...

  • Kelela, this is happening

    Kelela: D.C.-Bred Dynamo Crafts Futuristic Soul With U.K. Producers

    Who: Kelela Mizanekristos, a Los Angeles-based vocalist (and Solange collaborator) who was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Maryland ("Gaithersburg, kind of like a ghetto suburb"). Her free download album CUT 4 ME, pins sophisticated, searching vocals over production from leftfield sound-stackers connected to the bleeding-edge label Fade To Mind, creating futuristic soul that gains its power from "taking really forward-thinking production, but making it sound very pop," as Kelela says. More jazzy than most current R&B, thanks to her restrained, controlled delivery, the tracks become more abrasively challenging with the remixes, edits, and instrumentals from her friends.

  • Rap Songs of the Week: Step Brothers Starlito & Don Trip Stand Up to School Bullies

    Rap Songs of the Week: Step Brothers Starlito & Don Trip Stand Up to School Bullies

    Armand Hammer, "Shark Fin Soup"A collaboration between rappers Elucid (a through-his-teeth syllable-slinger) and Billy Woods (an all-topic-sentence shouter), Armand Hammer is thoroughly bugged-out underground stuff.

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