Microphone Check

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Microphone Check

From NPR

Microphone Check is a voice for hip-hop at NPR. We cover the music and the culture with knowledge, heart and experience. Conversations are hosted by Ali Shaheed Muhammad, DJ, producer and one-third of the legendary group A Tribe Called Quest, and NPR Music editor Frannie Kelley.More from Microphone Check »

Most Recent Episodes

Vince Staples onstage in Sacramento in May.

Vince Staples onstage in Sacramento in May. Tim Mosenfelder /Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Tim Mosenfelder /Getty Images

Vince Staples: 'My Job Is To Keep My Sanity'

The Long Beach, Calif., rapper made his debut album, Summertime '06, so that people who hear it will know how he felt then. "That's when we understood the power we had in fear," he says.

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1:25:49
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Ali Shaheed Muhammad onstage during Microphone Check's live interview with Father in Atlanta in May

Ali Shaheed Muhammad onstage during Microphone Check's live interview with Father in Atlanta in May Amanda Greene for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Amanda Greene for NPR

Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Part 2: 'We Still Have The Forgotten People'

The musician and NPR host on his motives, his rituals, Lucy Pearl and his one regret.

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1:05:44
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Microphone Check onstage with Organized Noize in Atlanta. From left to right: Frannie Kelley, Ray Murray, Rico Wade, Sleepy Brown and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

Microphone Check onstage with Organized Noize in Atlanta. From left to right: Frannie Kelley, Ray Murray, Rico Wade, Sleepy Brown and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Amanda Greene for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Amanda Greene for NPR

Microphone Check Live: Organized Noize

We went to Atlanta to talk to the three-man production team behind some of the greatest songs ever: Ray Murray, Rico Wade and Sleepy Brown.

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1:47:56

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Ali Shaheed Muhammad at NPR's New York City studio in March.

Ali Shaheed Muhammad at NPR's New York City studio in March. Polina Yamshchikov for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Part 1: 'I Walk A Different Walk'

We put our legendary co-host in the hot seat and he spoke on how he evaluates music, how his faith influences his work ethic and how much he cares about getting credit. And that's just the first half.

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47:54

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Julian Petty.

Julian Petty. Courtesy Nixon Peabody hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Nixon Peabody

Industry Rules No. 1-4079: A Conversation With Lawyer Julian Petty

Once he was an aspiring rapper, now he represents Ali, Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples and the estate of Biggie Smalls. He's also worked with Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder.

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52:01
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Iamsu in NPR's New York studio in March.

Iamsu in NPR's New York studio in March. Polina Yamshchikov for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Iamsu: 'I Heard That Beat Totally Different'

When we sat down with Iamsu, the Bay Area rapper had just as many questions for Ali as we had for him.

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1:09:47
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Amber London spoke with Microphone Check in Austin, Texas, during SXSW in March 2015.

Amber London spoke with Microphone Check in Austin, Texas, during SXSW in March 2015. Katie Hayes Luke for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Amber London: 'I'ma Show You How It's Done'

The Texas rapper's experiences as, at once, a member of an all-girl posse, the only woman in the room and a person strangers underestimate are fundamental to her formidable style.

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48:47
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Video Still from Overdoz with Microphone Check during SXSW Music Festival in March 2015.

Video Still from Overdoz with Microphone Check during SXSW Music Festival in March 2015. NPR Music Video hide caption

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OverDoz: 'It Just Showed Us How Much Power We Had'

A lighthearted chat with the four-man crew at SXSW 2015 turns into a deep conversation about social responsibility and self-determination for black artists.

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47:57
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Hank Shocklee, member of Public Enemy and The Bomb Squad, at Backstage Design Studios in Austin, Texas, for an interview with NPR Music's Microphone Check.

Hank Shocklee, member of Public Enemy and The Bomb Squad, at Backstage Design Studios in Austin, Texas, for an interview with NPR Music's Microphone Check. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Hank Shocklee: 'We Had Something to Prove'

Public Enemy producer Hank Shocklee talks about hip-hop's often overlooked influence on technology and the current state of the genre with Microphone Check.

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1:07:09
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Heems at SiriusXM New York City Studios in March.

Heems at SiriusXM New York City Studios in March. Robin Marchant/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Heems: 'If Someone's Got To Do It, It Should Be Me'

"It's when you step out of the community that you get to look at it through a lens where you might be able to help," says the Queens rapper. "But then you're so far out of it, how do you get back in?"

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1:13:55
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