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

Masta Ace in New York in July.

Masta Ace in New York in July. Polina Yamshchikov for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Masta Ace: 'I'm Still Trying To Prove Myself'

Masta Ace had his first drink at a Cold Chillin' Christmas party. He began his career surrounded by the greats, and he continues to push himself to operate on a higher level.

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1:40:46
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Large Professor earlier this year

Large Professor earlier this year Sun Bronx/Courtesy of Distrolord hide caption

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Large Professor, Part 2: 'I Really Live Through This Music'

The Flushing native on Nas' first sessions, the making of Illmatic and Paul C's role in his career.

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1:06:11
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Large Professor at an event in New York City in April, 2013

Large Professor at an event in New York City in April, 2013 Cindy Ord/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Large Professor, Part 1: 'We're Living In The World of Hip-Hop'

Last spring we sat down with Large Professor, partly on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, but mostly because he's the reason for much of the New York rap we both love so much.

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48:10
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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

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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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