Microphone Check

Microphone Check NPR hide caption

itoggle caption NPR

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

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.

listen

Loading…

47:54

listen

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.

listen

Loading…

52:01
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/406173856/406174037" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

listen

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.

listen

Loading…

1:09:47

listen

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.

listen

Loading…

48:47
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/402822744/402822800" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

listen

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

itoggle caption NPR Music Video

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.

Listen to the Story

Loading…

47:57
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/401265563/401266246" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Listen to the Story

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.

Listen to the Story

Loading…

1:07:09
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/400122180/400122441" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Listen to the Story

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?"

listen

Loading…

1:13:55
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/399316654/399316729" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

listen

Malcolm Spellman after an interview with Microphone Check in Austin, Texas, during SXSW 2015.

Malcolm Spellman after an interview with Microphone Check in Austin, Texas, during SXSW 2015. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Malcolm Spellman: 'The Real, You Just Can't Beat It'

A writer and producer of Empire spoke to Microphone Check about which subplots on the TV show come from hip-hop history and the ways its central storyline is particularly American.

listen

Loading…

47:19
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/397737822/397737841" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

listen

Jean Grae in Brooklyn.

Jean Grae in Brooklyn. Polina Yamshchikov for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Jean Grae: 'It's Not Just For Me. It's For You Guys.'

Jean Grae is a rapper, a singer, a writer, a comedian and an actress. She doesn't run out of ideas. Her most recent album is called That's Not How You Do That: An Instructional Album For Adults.

listen

Loading…

1:13:33
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/396271504/396271588" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

listen

Earl Sweatshirt in Austin, Texas, during SXSW March 21, 2015.

Earl Sweatshirt in Austin, Texas, during SXSW March 21, 2015. Mito Habe-Evans /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans /NPR

Earl Sweatshirt: 'I'm Grown'

"This is the first thing that I've said that I fully stand behind, like the good and the bad of it," says the 21-year-old rapper. "I've never been this transparent with myself or with music."

listen

Loading…

59:47
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/395006280/395006303" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

listen

Back To Top