Rodney Carmichael Rodney Carmichael is NPR Music's hip-hop staff writer.
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Rodney Carmichael

Last week, the Fulton County District Attorney in Atlanta charged rapper Young Thug (pictured) with an indictment for allegedly participating in street gang activities and violating RICO law. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

The charges against Young Thug build on a growing trend of criminalizing rap crews

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Kendrick Lamar uses his grief-fueled new album to reveal just how human he is

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Digital Underground, led by Shock G, shown here in 1990, was one of the early rap groups to follow the example — in sound and energy — set by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images hide caption

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Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Rapper DMX Is On Life Support At New York Hospital After Heart Attack

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Mac Phipps, the rapper formerly signed to No Limit Records, has been granted clemency after 21 years in prison. Dale Edwin Murray for NPR hide caption

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Dale Edwin Murray for NPR

McKinley "Mac" Phipps at Lousiana's Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in 2011. Courtesy of the Phipps family hide caption

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Courtesy of the Phipps family

Rapper Mac Phipps, After 20 Years In Prison, Is One Step Closer To Freedom

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Bobby Shmurda at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Oct. 30, 2014. Taylor Hill/Getty Images hide caption

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Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Bobby Shmurda Is Coming Home. What Happens Next?

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In Podcast Finale, 'Louder Than A Riot' Looks At Prison Reform

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Rapper Noname and activist and organizer Mariame Kaba joined Louder Than A Riot to discuss hip-hop's role in a prison-free future. Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images and Giancarlo Valentine hide caption

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Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images and Giancarlo Valentine

Nipsey Hussle is part of a mural painted by Moses Ball featuring other local notable people on the wall of a bank in the rapper's Hyde Park neighborhood. In the wake of Hussle's March 2019 death, many murals of the beloved Los Angeles musician were painted in the Hyde Park neighborhood near his Marathon Clothing store. Tara Pixley for NPR hide caption

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Tara Pixley for NPR

Bobby Shmurda at BET's year-end special 106 & Party on Dec. 12, 2014 in New York City. Just days later, the rapper and his entourage would be arrested in an NYPD raid. Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET hide caption

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Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET