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Hip Hop

Joell Ortiz: 'I Refuse To Compromise Me'

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Brooklyn rapper spoke to Microphone Check about the music business, the old neighborhood, the kids and a theoretical campaign to be Mayor of New York City.

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First Listen: Mapei, 'Hey Hey'

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The rapper turned pop singer's accessible, soaring voice is propelled by genuine charisma and heart, as she constructs her savvy, sweet pop out of sonically irresistible ingredients.

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All Things Considered

Remembering Biggie Smalls And 'Ready To Die' 20 Years Later

Friday, September 12, 2014

The writer dream hampton knew the rapper personally, and sat in on the studio sessions for his debut album.

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A Rational Conversation: Nostalgia, DJ Shadow And Afrika Bambaataa

Friday, September 05, 2014

The DJ and producer best known for an album he released in 1996 on sampling, preservation, history and progression.

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Souls Of Mischief: 'It's Like Catching Lightning In A Bottle'

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Oakland group most widely known for the ageless "93 'til Infinity" has made a new concept album based on a true story. To make it, they went old school.

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BadBadNotGood On World Cafe

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The instrumental hip-hop band's third record is their first of completely original material.

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KEXP Presents: Shabazz Palaces

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Shabazz Palaces' music sounds like nothing else. Watch Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire bring an interplanetary vibe to "They Come In Gold" during their recent visit to KEXP's studios in Seattle.

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Hip-Hop In Print: Brooklyn Publisher Looks To 'Reverse Gentrify' Literature

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Prodigy, one half of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, is the curator of Infamous Books, an imprint of Brooklyn-based independent publisher Akashic Books. His debut novel H.N.I.C. was published in 2013.

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The Underachievers: 'We're Still Young'

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Now is the time that I'm actually thinking of myself as a musician," says Issa. "Things are hitting me like, 'Oh, damn, you have this responsibility.'"

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PRI's The World

Iraqi-American rapper TIMZ faces his hardest task yet — writing about ISIS

Thursday, August 07, 2014

There are more than five million Iraqis living outside Iraq — immigrants and, increasingly, refugees. From all over the world, they're watching helplessly as their country is coming under new attack by the Islamist extremist group ISIS. Now, an Iraqi American rapper is using his voice to tell the world what's happening.

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First Listen: The Underachievers, 'Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium'

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Issa Gold and AK move words and beats so deftly on their new album, it can be difficult to keep up. But they're saying it's OK if you don't catch every word; if, right now, you don't know everything.

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Cormega: 'I Just Want To Be A Soldier For My Culture'

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The New York rapper on the music industry — from sitting on the shelf, to refusing deals, posthumous releases to sales expectations — music journalism and taking risks, personal and professional.

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Soundcheck

These Summer '94 Songs Defined An Era

Thursday, July 31, 2014

All summer long, Soundcheck has been turning back the clock 20 years, and revisiting the big hit songs, the important albums and more from the summer of 1994. Relive that era and its music with a giant Spotify playlist featuring Weezer, Nas, Jeff Buckley, Lisa Loeb, and so much more.

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YG: 'I Gave Y'All What I Seen'

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Los Angeles rapper tells Microphone Check the true stories behind his debut album and the rise of his partner, DJ Mustard.

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A Rational Conversation: The Sound Of TDE's Success

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One of the biggest and developing stories in hip-hop is the Los Angeles label Top Dawg Entertainment. The company employs an in-house production team responsible for its best and best-loved songs.

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Soundcheck

That Was A Hit?!?: Warren G, 'Regulate'

Monday, July 21, 2014

In our occasional series That Was A Hit?!? pop chart analyst and contributor to NPR Music and Slate Chris Molanphy returns to our studio to tell the story of 1994's summer smash "Regulate" by Warren G and Nate Dogg.

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Soundcheck

Relive Summer '94: Weezer And 'Regulate'

Monday, July 21, 2014

In this episode: Soundcheck's Summer ‘94 retrospective continues: Comedian Hari Kondabolu looks back on an album so near and dear to his heart that it that inspired his very first AOL screen name – Weezer’s self-titled debut, known to most as the "Blue Album."

Then: Also that summer: hip hop met yacht rock, when Warren G and Nate Dogg sampled Michael McDonald’s hit slow jam “I Keep Forgettin’” on their song “Regulate.” It was a match made in heaven. We feature the song in our occasional series “That Was A Hit?!?”

And: Hear Dum Dum Girls perform music from its latest album, Too True, in the Soundcheck studio.

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First Listen: Shabazz Palaces, 'Lese Majesty'

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lese Majesty is MC and producer Ishmael Butler's most relentlessly noncommercial chapter yet. No hits, no singles; just raw, graceful tunes from the inventive former leader of Digable Planets.

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All Things Considered

Unlocking The Eclectic: A Conversation With Shabazz Palaces' Ishmael Butler

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The enigmatic leader of Shabazz Palaces says his process is instinctive, non-linear and, sometimes, beyond his own understanding. Read Ishmael Butler's extended interview with All Things Considered.

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Soundcheck

Soundcheck Smackdown: Ace Of Base; Beastie Boys' 'Ill Communication' At 20; John Fullbright Plays Live

Monday, July 14, 2014

In this episode: Mario Correa and Julia Cunningham, co-hosts of Entertainment Weekly Radio on SiriusXM, debate the merits of Ace Of Base's huge hit, “The Sign” -- the Swedish pop nugget from 1994.

Then: In May 1994, the Beastie Boys released its fourth studio album, Ill Communication, and took the country by storm on the bill of the Lollapalooza festival. Grantland staff writer Amos Barshad looks back at “Get It Together,” “Sure Shot” and the legendary Spike Jonze-directed video for “Sabotage.”

And: The Oklahoma native John Fullbright picked up a Grammy nomination a few years back for his debut album From The Ground Up. Now he’s back with a new album, simply called Songs. Hear him perform in the Soundcheck studio.

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