Glass Popcorn: Is This High School Rapper "Destroying Hip-Hop?"
In this week's issue of Phoenix New Times, we profiled 10 new(ish) bands we expect to dominate Phoenix iPods and boomboxes this long, hot summer. We'll be focusing more deeply on those artists over the next couple of days on Up on the Sun.
See the entire list: 10 Phoenix Bands You Should Be Listening to This Summer
Correction: We mistakenly reported that Clams Casino "approved" of Glass Popcorn, when in fact the track "Glass Like Me" is simply a remixed version of "She's Hot," which appeared on a free mixtape from Clams Casino. We regret implying that Casino has approved or endorsed Glass Popcorn, and Neibergall has not stated so in our interviews.
Will Neibergall, a junior at McClintock High in Tempe, talks a lot about brand alignment. Onstage, when he repeatedly chants over club synths, "I go hard in my Ed Hardy," it starts to sound less like a simple diss on the bro-clad and more like a meditation on Madison Avenue masculinity.
Neibergall has been working with a number of producers on a forthcoming EP called Deal With It, which will be available for free in mid-June. Also coming soon is a video for his brand-new single, "Going Hamburger."
Neibergall says Glass Popcorn began when he was 13, making elementary beats on Garage Band recording software and eventually deciding to start composing rhymes. He says he first started using social media when he was only 12, even though the major networks prohibit registration by anyone younger than 13. "I've been lying about my age on the Internet since AIM," he says (that's short for America Online Instant Messenger, grandpa).
He eventually found his way into what he calls "new media art communities" on the Internet, esoteric playgrounds where artists and web-trend early adopters share content, some of which rises to the shallow meme surface. Neibergall was most active on the .gif-heavy image-based chat website Dump.fm, where he was by far the youngest member on the site.
His music, which he was now sharing online, got the attention of site's founder, Internet artist Ryder Ripps, who eventually booked Glass Popcorn to play a showcase last year at the Museum of Modern Art PS1 Gallery in New York. Avant multi-media art website DIS Magazine hosted the party, where Neibergall chanted his song "Ed Hardy" next to a voluptuous grinding dancer and a Cadillac SUV. The performance was covered by the New York Times and CBS News.
One of his live staples is a track called "Monster Energy," a trill ode to the neon-green taurine swill. "I'm obsessively discussing this whole brand that is completely associated with crazy competitive masculinity, where the design theme is really forward and intense," he says. "It's almost intentionally off-putting in its lurid masculinity."