Louder Than A Riot: The Collision of Rhyme and Punishment Bobby Shmurda. Nipsey Hussle. Mac Phipps. DJ Drama. What happens when hip-hop stars come into contact with the criminal justice system? In Louder Than A Riot, a new podcast from NPR Music, hosts Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden explore the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration through the stories of artists at the center.
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Louder Than A Riot: Coming Thursday, October 8

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Louder Than A Riot: Coming Thursday, October 8

Louder Than A Riot: Coming Thursday, October 8

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  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: You guys ready for him?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Yeah.

SIDNEY MADDEN, HOST:

Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR UNLOCKING)

MADDEN: What's something people don't know about you that you feel they should?

BOBBY SHMURDA: I'm not a criminal (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MADDEN: From NPR Music, this is LOUDER THAN A RIOT.

RODNEY CARMICHAEL, HOST:

The podcast that traces the collision of rhyme and punishment in America. I'm Rodney Carmichael.

MADDEN: I'm Sidney Madden.

CARMICHAEL: Man, this intersection between rap and mass incarceration, it practically fueled the soundtrack of our generation.

MADDEN: And it still gives us the language for experiences that are often ignored. We're going to break down stories of rap, race, infamy and injustice.

CARMICHAEL: With the artists caught up in it all.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT BOY")

BOBBY SHMURDA: (Rapping) Broad daylight and we gon' let them things bark.

MADDEN: We answer questions, like how did RICO laws turn Bobby Shmurda from hot boy to convicted felon?

BOBBY SHMURDA: We done jumped in front of guns for each other, all type of shit like - when one of us go, we all going.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT BOY")

BOBBY SHMURDA: (Rapping) Fuck with us and then we tweaking, ho.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I think the way we characterized him was a driving force.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MURDA, MURDA, KILL, KILL")

MAC: (Singing) Murder, murder - murder, murder - kill, kill - kill, kill.

CARMICHAEL: The bias against rap lyrics sealed the fate of No Limit's Mac Phipps.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: This guy shouldn't be incarcerated. And I know that his music got him incarcerated, but they got the wrong guy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MURDA, MURDA, KILL, KILL")

MAC: (Rapping) ...Soldier. Mama will tell you I never was fake. I was real. I'm camouflaged...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Across the country, young men of color are having their rap lyrics introduced as evidence in criminal cases.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DAMN (REMIX)")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: Gangsta grizz-illz (ph).

YOUNGBLOODZ: (Rapping) If y'all don't give a damn, we don't give a fuck.

LIL JON: Yeah.

MADDEN: And how did the Gangsta Grillz mixtape raid criminalize the game forever?

DJ DRAMA: The labels wouldn't know what was coming next if it wasn't for mixtapes. It's the veins of the culture.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DAMN (REMIX)")

LIL JON: What?

LUDACRIS: Remix.

DJ DRAMA: And then I go to jail for it.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORD SCRATCH)

DJ DRAMA: Everything changes overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: There's always something criminalized in trying to recognize a Black experience.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CARMICHAEL: We'll unpack America's obsession with race and criminality, how hip-hop has played into the stereotypes and pushed back.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: Think about the music industry. There's really, like, only five labels in the world. Who owns them? Old white men funding Black toxicity.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: When it comes to Nipsey Hussle, he exceeded the expectations of what society thought.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: I owe my community by creating revolutionary art. I just want us to dream a little bit bigger than reform.

CARMICHAEL: Listen to LOUDER THAN A RIOT starting Thursday, October 8 in podcast feeds everywhere.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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