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

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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Terrace Martin: 'Everything Got A Little Bit Of Funk In It'

The producer and multi-instrumentalist on the Kendrick Lamar album he's working on, Snoop and love.

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DJ Quik: 'Flamboyant? Every Now And Then'

After 24 years in the music business, the producer and rapper from Compton, Calif., knows what's going on. He told Microphone Check studio secrets, a Rick James story, and all about the funk.

Listen1:35:18

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AraabMuzik: 'I Have So Much Music, It Doesn't Make Sense'

The Rhode Island-born producer and DJ tells the story of the father/son talk he once had with Cam'ron, delineates EDM and hip-hop and calls out the whole music industry for being flaky.

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Black Milk: 'It's Not Really A Cakewalk'

The Detroit rapper and producer on trying to impress J Dilla, transforming his music for live shows and always improving. "Each song, I want it to have a purpose," he says.

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J. Cole: 'It Ain't Enough Of Us Trying'

"I want to get whatever's on my chest off my chest when it feels right," says the rapper, who makes songs that turn the personal into the political.

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