No Trivia

Archive for the ‘XXL’ Category

No Trivia in XXL’s 100 Best Hip-Hop Websites


Comments have been disabled so this doesn’t seem like some kind of back-patting party or something. Finally held the new XXL in my hands and read the very kind comments on my blog (“Better known as No Trivia, Soderberg’s blog gives rap the kind of intellectual, analytical respect is deserves.”) and the other ninety-nine picks. It’s a different thrill than seeing my byline in-print and we’re all supposed to be too cool about this stuff, but damn, I’m honored.

XXL, besides being a magazine I actually read from time-to-time–there was a time when my sanity was kept by the routine of picking up XXL, Wax Poetics, and Film Comment after work on the days they came out–is one that’s sorta active in the blogging world, so the list means a bit more? And not just because I’m in it. But because a big, giant, alphabetical list of dope blogs and websites is the proper way to advise someone on how to figure out the rap-blog world. The magazine’s also always printed kindly letters from inmates and for a while, I was shipping out copies of the magazines to prisons, helping the children, wives, and girlfriends of the incarcerated help their in-fucking-jail loved ones…so in some weird way, my stupid name being in the magazine in any form means a lot on that level too. Thanks to XXL and Ben Detrick.

Written by Brandon

December 3rd, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Lists, XXL

Why Hip-Hop Won’t Suck More in 2009 Than Any Other Year…

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Dukes over at The Full Clip posted a pretty muddled and ultimately sorta safe but still worth discussing entry on XXL’s latest batch of “Freshman” and how it’s evidence of the negative influence of blogging on hip-hop. His biggest conflict is one that nearly anybody could agree with, at least at first: Very few of these guys have proven themselves and only a couple of them seem all that spectacular.

Dukes’ point is one about a frustration with the immediacy of the internet and shortening attention spans and lots of other stuff. It’s best defined by a concern he expresses when he implicitly compares these guys to rappers of the past. All the rappers on XXL’s latest cover are not spectacular–except, his totally subjective support of Kid Cudi, Blu, and Wale–and that their (relative) fame “seems more hustle than art…”, as if the 1991-equivalent of internet hustle wasn’t being employed by every rapper that blew up in the next couple years after that. It’s verging on nostalgia without coming out and saying it or maybe, not really knowing it?

The quickest rebuttal to Dukes’ blog blame is this: Look at last year’s cover. It’s certainly less “blog rap”-oriented and even though the number of artists on each list that I like is about the same, this year’s is a way more promising list. Simply put: You’ll have to defend this year’s list to less rap fans. It’s harder to dislike say, Charles Hamilton than Lil Boosie (even though Boosie’s way better in every way really). Interestingly, last year’s group is actually more representative of varying tastes in rap and a wider spectrum, but that’s another point, we’re apparently talking about rap music as a whole. So, if this year’s list is what the blogs created and last year’s list was something else, then blogs are not going to destroy hip-hop next year.

How or who or what led to last year’s choices is unknown and while this year’s list is a bit more on the side of the kind of dudes bloggers have been bigging-up than last year’s, that seems more of a sign of how rappers use media outlets to get their names out there than anything else. These are not a bunch of rappers who got a song posted on some sorta-popular blog like this one or anything, these were guys with enough press or pull or clout or whatever to get their music to a bunch of powerful “bloggers” and rap websites and from there, it trickled down and then back up.

These guys all maintained a hype and were able to capitalize on the rap blog world’s obsessive quest for the newest leak, freestyle, or whatever, but every one of them were “established” in the sense of having a solid team of people blowing them up before they actually blew-up.

It still seems baffling how a semi-talented turd with a white people-baiting bit as deep-rooted as Sarah Palin’s “Joe Sixpack” routine like Asher Roth went from being nobody to being hyped by XXL, sucked-off by NahRight, and on this cover, but it didn’t have a whole lot to do with bloggers, it had to do with the same fucking connections and superficial “hustle” that’s broken your favorite and least favorite rappers. If there’s something to blame the bloggers for, it’s not really questioning or analyzing any of these up and comers and just sort of accepting them and instead, dropping 75 words on how this song samples ‘Adventures of Dizzy’ for NES or how this guy performed at that one FADER after-party and rapped on old-ass Franco Battiato tracks or how this guy’s really taking it back to 1994 or whatever else.

Dukes’ piece is giving the blogs way too much credit. Unless of course by “blogs” you just mean the frequently updated section of every print magazine’s website or NahRight which really isn’t a simple blog anymore (and has always had tight industry connections). And if that is what Dukes means by “blogs”, then his frustration’s misdirected because these “blogs” and semi-corporate websites have picked up where lagging magazines sales dropped off. It has very little do with this blog or most of the blogs I read…

Written by Brandon

October 24th, 2008 at 2:28 am

Posted in Wale, XXL, hipster, the internets

Fuck a Block Talk!

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So, the XXL Blogs or at least some of their bloggers are no more? Not that XXL’s blogs were much to begin with, but you at least learned something from Noz and Dallas, er- Billy X. Sunday. Shed a few tears, give a moment of silence, peruse Noz’s greatest hits, keep reading CocaineBlunts and and whatever you do, don’t join XXL’s blog-replacement ‘Block Talk’.

‘Block Talk’ is a crappy magazine’s crappy website cutting corners under the illusion of Web 2.0 buzzword junk like “user-generated”. It’s your office building upping the A/C to 77 degrees because they’re “going Green” when they don’t even recycle. It’s your company putting in a vending machine and allowing you the “freedom” to check whether you want cheese or peanut-butter crackers or maybe even both! It’s SOHH’s now weekly game of summarizing the dopey arguments on their message boards and presenting is as a fucking news story, times 100 (and the less said about the involvement of “indie” rap artists like 9th Wonder in this whole fucking thing, the better…).

A dude in his twenties, white-T, fresh jeans, and too-big shades, approached me at my bookstore job and rattled off a list of hip-hop magazines he was looking for (Scratch, Mass Appeal, O-Zone, Murder Dog). I told him we didn’t carry the last two, that ‘Scratch’ had been shut-down for awhile now and ‘Mass Appeal’ was on its final issue. He maybe kinda looked like he was going to cry?

His near-teary eyes fell on the latest XXL– you know, the one with a shirtless Rick Ross poorly photo-shopped together with a bunch of other hip-hop turds—and shook his head: “Fuck a XXL man, what is this? How’m I gonna even bring this up to the register?” As we walked back to the register, I nodded in agreement and along with his change for the issue of ‘Don Diva’ he finally settled on, I gave him a brief list of URLS and keywords to search that might fill the gap. “XXL Block Talk” didn’t make my list and I don’t think the possibility of having his own personal blogging space would appeal to him much anyways- especially one that totally rips the design of MySpace. Come on XXL, really now…

Written by Brandon

May 27th, 2008 at 3:05 am

Posted in XXL, the internets