Microphone Check Microphone Check

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Father onstage at Terminal West in Atlanta May 18. Amanda Greene for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Amanda Greene for NPR

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

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

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

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Julian Petty. Courtesy of Nixon Peabody hide caption

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

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Amber London during her interview with Microphone Check during SXSW in March 2015. Katie Hayes Luke for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Video still from a Microphone Check interview featuring OverDoz. Shot during SXSW Music Festival in March 2015. NPR Music Video hide caption

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Hank Shocklee, of Public Enemy's production team The Bomb Squad, in Austin, Texas for an interview with Microphone Check. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

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

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

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Jean Grae in Brooklyn. Polina Yamshchikov for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

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

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans /NPR

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

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Leila Steinberg at a benefit for A.I.M., the organization she founded that produces workshops meant to foster emotional literacy, in 2008. Brian To/FilmMagic/Getty Images hide caption

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Big Sean at NPR's Los Angeles bureau. Emily Berl for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Berl for NPR

The panel at our screening of The Spook Who Sat By The Door (from left to right): Dr. Greg Carr, Jamilah Lemieux, Cedric Shine and K. Nyerere Ture. Frannie Kelley for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Frannie Kelley for NPR

DJ Quik onstage at his album release party at SOB's in New York City on Oct. 7, 2014. Polina Yamshchikov for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

AraabMuzik at work. Erez Avissar/Courtesy of Distrolord hide caption

itoggle caption Erez Avissar/Courtesy of Distrolord

Black Milk in his hometown, Detroit. Rick Williams/Courtesy of Black Milk hide caption

itoggle caption Rick Williams/Courtesy of Black Milk

J Cole, whose mother supported him as a postal worker when he was a kid. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Rick Ross. Courtesy of Def Jam Records hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Def Jam Records