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

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

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

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?"

listen1:13:55

Loading…

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.

listen47:19

Loading…

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 1:13:33

Loading…

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."

listen59:47

Loading…

listen

ASAP Ferg in New York City in February.

ASAP Ferg in New York City in February. Polina Yamshchikov for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

ASAP Ferg: 'I Want This Moment To Last Forever'

The pillar of New York's ASAP Mob speaks about his aesthetic choices, the way he imagines our far off future and what he's learned from Missy Elliott.

Listen1:08:16

Loading…

Listen

Leila Steinberg: 'With Earl, It's A Journey'

Steinberg began managing Tupac Shakur in the late '80s and stepped away from that role in 1993. She didn't manage another musician for almost 20 years, until she started working with Earl Sweatshirt.

Listen59:09

Loading…

Big Sean: 'I Stuck With My Gut'

"I made a promise to myself," says the Detroit rapper. "I would never ever not follow my heart again. That way if I rise or fall, sink or swim, it's by my own choice and my own decisions."

Listen1:17:33

Loading…

Microphone Check Live: 'The Spook Who Sat By The Door' Screening

In honor of Black History Month we went down to NPR's Washington, D.C., headquarters to show Sam Greenlee's 1973 film and host a conversation about its resonance.

Listen59:45

Loading…

Back To Top