Archives

Black Thought Speaks About His Mother’s Murder & How Hip-Hop Saved Him (Audio)

Black Thought gives one of the best interviews of his career while speaking to Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito for their What's Good podcast. The iconic Hip-Hop hosts and their guests know one another. It was 24 years ago this month that Tariq Trotter got into a car in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania... Read more

Rakim Reveals What He Hates About How He Recorded His Verses (Audio)

For their third episode of Season 2 of What’s Good With Stretch & Bobbito, the hosts welcome Rakim. The highly-venerated rapper is widely considered one of the greatest lyricists of all time. His four albums with his partner Eric B. are considered part of the gold standard of Hip-Hop, while... Read more

Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko Don’t Need Bells And Whistles To Annihilate A Set (Video)

NPR’s "Tiny Desk Concerts" have steadily forced musicians outside of their comfort zones for years. On paper, the series’ latest display, the oft-bigger than life Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko seem like outlandish candidates for the intimate show, but the Strange Music pair proved they don’t get uncomfortable. Over the... Read more

Erykah Badu Reminds That Live Music Is Supposed To Sound BETTER Than The Record (Video)

Erykah Badu is the latest guest at the Tiny Desk. With some gold-accented fronts in, the veteran singer brought her grace, style, and showmanship right along with her singing gifts to the Washington, D.C. bureau. The Dallas, Texas native also brought her incredible band. The ensemble includes a flutist (Dwayne... Read more

Mac Miller Makes His Great New Album Larger With A Tiny Performance (Video)

NPR's Tiny Desk concerts have been remarkable in recent months. While the cramped performances have historically been something that Hip-Hop Heads keep an eye on, June, July, and August's shows have been especially impressive. Heads will surely want to check out the summer installments from Rakim, The Midnight Hour (Ali Shaheed... Read more

Black Thought Assists Roots Affiliate Mumu Fresh In A Moving Tiny Desk Concert (Video)

For the latest in their Tiny Desk series, NPR recruits DMV artist Mumu Fresh who, despite her name, is already a seasoned veteran when it comes to the local cubicle concert. In February, Mumu teamed up with August Greene, the super-group featuring Common, Karriem Riggins, and Robert Glasper, in a... Read more

Rakim Performs With A Live Band & It Sounds INCREDIBLE (Video)

Rakim's making his most recent return to Hip-Hop in a big way. The Long Island, New York legend's latest release was a song called "King's Paradise" which is being used for Marvel's Luke Cage Season 2 soundtrack. Now, the oft-praised God MC has decided to participate in NPR's "Tiny Desk... Read more

GoldLink Is In “I Told You So” Mode. His Tiny Desk Concert Shows It. (Video)

GoldLink is seemingly playing it cool everywhere he goes. Since his breakout 2016 hit "Crew" was certified double-platinum (and notably, spawned a standout remix with Sly Glizzy and Gucci Mane that has more than 20-million YouTube plays), GoldLink has been enjoying a gleeful walk into stardom. Of course, a few meticulously placed... Read more

Jorja Smith Sings From The Soul About Love, Loss & Police Brutality (Video)

Just days after Toronto native Daniel Caesar delivered a brilliant, Gospel-driven set as a part of NPR's Tiny Desk series, enter 21-year-old English singer/songwriter Jorja Smith. Jorja has already received co-signs and work alongside the likes of Drake, Kali Uchis, and, most recently, Kendrick Lamar on this year's #1-charting Black... Read more

Roy Ayers’ Tiny Desk Performance Shows Why He’s 1 Of Hip-Hop’s Biggest Influences (Video)

Vibraphonist Roy Ayers is a legend of Jazz, Funk, and Soul music that collectively has had a tremendous impact on Hip-Hop. A product of Los Angeles, California, Ayers would work with flutist (and another prominently-sampled artist) Herbie Mann by the mid-1960s, before going off on his won. In the '70s,... Read more

GZA Slices Through The Tiny Desk To Perform Liquid Swords With A Brass Band (Video)

It's been a decade since Wu-Tang's GZA released his sixth studio album, Pro Tools. Among the projects he has dropped in the years previous, it is almost no contest which album has garnered the Genius more accolades than his 1995 platinum sophomore LP, Liquid Swords. Following recent, individual performances from... Read more

Big K.R.I.T.’s First Recording Proves He’s Always Had Soul For Real (Video)

Big K.R.I.T. brings his double-LP 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time (deemed the best 2017 Hip-Hop album by the readers of Ambrosia For Heads) to NPR's Washington, D.C. offices. There, the Meridian, Mississippi MC/producer put on a Tiny Desk concert that is anything but small. Performing “Mixed Messages,” “Keep The... Read more

Tyler, The Creator’s Best Rap Album Contender Sounds Even Better Live (Video)

Two weeks ago, Tyler, The Creator's Flower Boy album was nominated in the Grammy category for "Best Rap Album." The nod marks a first for the 26-year-old MC/producer. In 2013, Tyler was part of Frank Ocean's Channel Orange cast that received an "Album Of The Year" nomination. Looking into next... Read more

Wyclef Jean’s Tiny Desk Concert Shows His In-Your-Face Guitar Skills (Video)

Following The Roots' appearance on NPR's "Tiny Desk" last week, another genre-bending Hip-Hop veteran hits the Washington, D.C. platform. Wyclef Jean, joined by his band and latest protégé vocalist Jazzy Amra, perform. The three-song jam session concert comes on the heels of Carnival III: The Rise and Fall of A... Read more

The Roots’ Tiny Desk Concert Is BIG, Brassy And Beautiful (Video)

The Roots are the latest musicians to perform at NPR's Tiny Desk concert series. Questlove, Black Thought, and the rest of the legendary band brought Bilal along for a moving rendition of 2017 single, "It Ain't Fair." The performance of the song from the film Detroit is bold and brilliant.... Read more

Thundercat’s Guitar Gently Weeps On NPR’s Tiny Desk In This Soulful Set (Video)

Thundercat brought his guitar and his latest album Drunk into NPR's Washington, D.C. offices. At the Tiny Desk, the Brainfeeder artist, the Los Angeles, California native born Stephen Bruner joined his band for several selections, including 2015 crossover hit, "Them Changes." This song, including its innovative homage to The Isley... Read more

Q-Tip Explains Why The Institutionalization Of Hip-Hop Is A Good Thing (Audio)

In March of 2016, A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip was named Artistic Director of Hip-Hop Culture at Washington, D.C.'s famed Kennedy Center. With fellow Queens, native LL Cool J already confirmed as a center honoree for December, Tip spoke with NPR and explained why the looks are validations at a... Read more

Stretch & Bobbito Are Back To Show A Whole New Audience What’s Good About Music & Life

Stretch & Bobbito changed lives. Their 1990s New York City radio show (via Columbia University's WKCR) had legions of fans staying up to all hours of the night, with fingers on tape recorders. On air (and off) DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito The Barber were perhaps Hip-Hop's greatest A&R men.... Read more

Run The Jewels Discuss Homophobia In Hip-Hop With Stretch & Bobbito (Audio)

During Hip-Hop's formative years through the 1990s, homosexuality was a taboo topic that held little to no real estate in the culture. For years, highly regarded MCs used facets of gay lifestyle as emasculating punchlines. But, during the past two decades, popular artists like Kanye West, Murs, Macklemore and Lil... Read more

Stevie Wonder Drops Keys To Songs & Life In A Chat With Stretch & Bobbito (Audio)

Starting with the extra-melodic strains of “Golden Lady” taken from his 1973 masterpiece, Innervisions; a drum-roll and then lots and lots of laughter; these sounds set the interview with Stevie Wonder, broadcast on the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito's What's Good show on NPR today (August 30). Stretch & Bobbito, the legendary... Read more

Mahershala Ali Says His Role In Roxanne Shanté Biopic Is His Toughest Yet (Audio)

Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, best known for his iconic roles in Moonlight and Netflix’s Luke Cage series, started his career as a Hieroglyphics affiliate named Prince Ali and has definitely been outspoken about his love for Hip-Hop music. Starring in the highly-anticipated, critically-acclaimed 2017 Roxanne Shanté biopic alongside Chanté Adams... Read more

Dave Chappelle Tells Stretch & Bob The Back-Story Of Hosting SNL After The Election (Audio)

Hip-Hop radio icons Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia have returned to the airwaves, though in a different format. Bringing their decades of experience and expansive breadth of music knowledge to National Public Radio (NPR), the two men largely responsible for breaking the likes of The Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, and... Read more

Chance The Rapper Gives A Big Performance From A Tiny Desk (Video)

Chance The Rapper is the latest MC to stop by the NPR office in Washington D.C. to put on an intimate performance for their "Tiny Desk" series. The multi-faceted artist rocks an unexpected set with his band, The Social Experiment, proving he’s more than just “The Rapper,” but also a... Read more

Nick Grant Shows Musicality & Lyricism Live Strong In Hip-Hop In His Tiny Desk Concert (Video)

Much of the well-deserved acclaim surrounding rapper Nick Grant's steady rise in Hip-Hop relates to the South Carolina MC's high-energy delivery and live performances. He recently tore down showcases at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, and his January appearance as the musical guest on The Late Show with... Read more

It Might Cost A Lot More To Hear Hip-Hop On The Internet Without Net Neutrality

Today (May 18), the Federal Communications Commission enacted its latest round in the fight against net neutrality, a somewhat nebulous issue that hasn't become as much of a household name as, say, Russiagate. However, outside of climate change, there may not be another issue that directly affects the daily lives... Read more

Killer Mike Interviews George Clinton. They Keep It All The Way Funky (Video)

Killer Mike bought and launched the SWAG Shop when his music career was gaining momentum as a retail and real estate investment. Once an admitted hustler, Mike Bigga saw he and his wife's shop as a lasting, legal venture that would also keep him connected to his Atlanta, Georgia community.... Read more

Mike Will Made It Explains Why Kendrick Lamar’s “DNA” Sounds So Crazy

The second official single to Kendrick Lamar's #1  new album is "DNA." Besides some audio from Geraldo Rivera, the second song on the album is a complete collaboration between Lamar and veteran producer Mike Will Made It (who also produced the first single, "HUMBLE.") Mike, known for producing such hit... Read more

Stretch & Bobbito Are Returning To Make Hip-Hop Radio Great Again (Video)

Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito The Barber are two juggernauts of Hip-Hop radio. As the 2015 Radio That Changed Lives documentary showed, these two New Yorkers played critical roles in the careers and subsequent success of Nas, Jay Z, Biggie, Eminem, Big L, Wu-Tang Clan, Pharoahe Monch, MF DOOM, Company Flow,... Read more

Tank & The Bangas Combine The Soul Of Jill Scott With The Chemistry Of Run-D.M.C. (Video)

New Orleans, Louisiana has been a musical hot-bed for as long as it's been a cultural destination. This melting pot made Jazz an institution, and took that same free-form musicality and threaded it through Funk, Soul, and Bounce. From Louis Armstrong to Fats Domino, Juvenile to Jay Electronica, this soul... Read more

Preventable Environmental Hazards Are Killing 1.7 Million Kids Each Year

In the first report of its kind, the World Health Organization has published some horrendous statistics: every year, more than one-million children under the age of five are dying as a direct result of hazards in our environment. That figure translates to roughly 25% of all deaths of children in... Read more

Oddisee Goes Beyond the Surface of the Muslim Experience in America (Audio)

Born Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, producer and rapper Oddisee is a Muslim African-American whose unique experiences with identity and race influence in large part his phenomenal new album, The Iceberg. During a time in U.S. politics when the term "Muslim ban" has become commonplace, Islamophobia and our perceptions of Muslims... Read more

What Happens When Robots Become Judges? A New Study Examines The Question (Audio)

It's everywhere. From the self check-out aisles at the grocery store to the self-driving vehicles appearing on roadways across the country. Artificial intelligence is moreso the technology of today than it is the technology of the future, but there are still aspects to it we have not quite yet grappled... Read more

A Debate About Law Enforcement & Social Media Is Redefining Policing In the Internet Age

The deaths of Philando Castile and Korryn Gaines brought into sharp focus a national conversation about social media's real-time capabilities and their relationship to operations of law enforcement. In each case, video of a police-involved incident was made available for mass consumption, effectively turning what would otherwise be reported into... Read more

Anderson .Paak & Free Nationals Transport NPR’s Offices To “Malibu” (Video)

Having one of the most exciting albums of the year is one thing. To see Anderson .Paak perform live is another world in of itself, which takes the album Malibu and casts a new shade entirely on the rich Empire-released LP. On the road, the Southern California native plays the... Read more

A Proposed Tax on Soda Is Proving There’s No More Room for Sugar-Coating

Sugar has developed a bad rap in recent months. While it's always had its fair share of critics, its negative effects on health seem to populate more headlines today than they have in previous years, particularly to those who don't closely follow health-related topics in the media. But even for... Read more

Unsettling Animal-Human Hybrids Are Being Proposed To Provide Cures for Common Disease (Audio)

The pursuit of wellness knows no bounds. Throughout history, human beings have relied on remarkably innovative (although perhaps not always effective) techniques to address illness - like the ancient Egyptian toothache cure made up of ground mice, the 18th-century treatment of stuttering through cutting off half the tongue, and the use of... Read more

Witness The Talent Dr. Dre Saw In Anderson .Paak, As He Lights Up The Stage In A Full Concert (Video)

Anderson .Paak's rise in 2015 was nothing less than meteoric. The singer/songwriter/rapper/musician worked with DJ Premier, 9th Wonder and a host of others, and was the cornerstone of Dr. Dre's Compton album, participating on nearly half of the LP's songs. He also released The Anderson .Paak EP, with Blended Babies,... Read more

Anthony Hamilton Sings The Kind Of Soul Music That Makes You Say “AMEN” (Video)

Over the last few years, NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series has become one of the richest platforms for showcasing great music, in its purest form. The franchise allowed artists like Oddisee and Rapsody to demo the richness and depth in their song-making, and completely re-introduced T-Pain to the world as... Read more

Forget Presidential Candidates. Are Our Computers Also Racist and Sexist? (Audio)

Austin, Texas is currently the place to be for music industry insiders, with a whole host of artists performing across a spectrum of genres. However, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival is not just a place to get put up on the next hottest artist; it's also a well-established platform... Read more

The War On Drugs Failed. Now It’s a War For Recovery (Audio)

When President Richard Nixon made the war on drugs one of his signature domestic campaigns, his administration set into motion one of the most unpopular cycles of American social change. Effectively criminalizing all drug-related activities - from the high level trafficking to the pedestrian smoking of a joint - the... Read more

Hear How Muhammad Ali & Malcolm X Met And Why They Parted Ways (Audio)

Today marks the anniversary of former heavyweight champion boxer Sonny Liston's 1964 defeat at the hands of Cassius Clay, a young boxer who boasted that he would "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Later changing his name to Muhammad Ali, the new heavyweight champion would go on to... Read more

Rapsody’s Tiny Desk Concert With A Full Band Is Must Watch Music (Video)

Rapsody kicks off NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts" series for 2016. Joined by mentor 9th Wonder (on the drum/sample pads) and a full band, Rapsody pulls three songs from different places in her discography. With Howard University students in attendance, Rap' performs "Godzilla," "The Man," and "Hard To Choose." There is... Read more

Kendrick Lamar Witnessed His First Murder When He Was 5 Years Old (Audio)

Kendrick Lamar recently spoke, at length, with NPR. While fans of Kendrick likely have heard bits and pieces of a number of the subjects Kendrick addressed in the interview, he reflected on a number of deeply personal topics in greater detail than he often does, outside of his most introspective... Read more

Affirmative Action in Education is Eliciting Heated Debate by the Supreme Court (Audio)

Earlier today, the Supreme Court presided over a discussion about affirmative action within the jurisdiction of higher education. For many years, the issue of race has played a large role in the process of college and university admissions, and as any Heads who have applied to such a school can... Read more

Pharrell’s NYU Conversation Dissects “Geek Chic” & Native Tongues’ Inspiration (Video)

Earlier this week, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts hosted Pharrell Williams, after naming him their Artist in Residence as part of the school's 50th anniversary. As part of his residency, P visited Tisch for an in-depth talk with host Jason King a part of NPR's "In Conversation"... Read more

The Internet’s Live Show Sets Them Apart From All…Even From A Tiny Desk (Video)

As much as a crew mentality can help a family tree of talent get on (see: Wu-Tang Clan, N.W.A., or Diggin' In The Crates), sometimes an entity supersedes an affiliation. In the case of The Internet, Syd tha Kyd, Matt Martians and company played a background in OFWGKTA's 2011 breakthrough.... Read more

A Violinist & Violist Are Combining Hip-Hop & Classical in Amazing Ways (Audio)

Throughout history, musical worlds have always collided as cultures and influences blend together to form new and exciting sounds. Now, with the digital era, the bridging of worlds has become far more frequent, and the resulting amalgamations continue to impress with ingenuity and creativity abounding. Violinist Kevin Sylvester and violist... Read more

‘GO:OD AM’ Aims to Wake Up Anybody Still Sleeping on Mac Miller (Album Stream)

Since breaking onto the Hip-Hop scene with the mixtape K.I.D.S. in 2010, Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller has dealt with his share of detractors, many relegating him to the genres of "frat boy" or "pop rap," but his fans have maintained their strident loyalty and his latest album is proof that... Read more

Check Out the Big Brain on Brett: Here’s How Sounds Evolved It (Audio)

Earlier today, NPR aired a segment on its Health program "Shots" during today's "Morning Edition" that explored the role of auditory experiences on the development and evolution of the animal brain. In fact, there is an entire school of scientists devoted to the field, and they are called "acoustic biologists."... Read more

The Politics of Rap: Political Hip-Hop’s Long & Outspoken History Didn’t Begin or End with N.W.A. (Audio)

The marriage of political engagement and Hip-Hop culture has been a permanent fixture ever since artists began using the mic as a means of delivering dispatches from inner-city life, where systemic problems of economic disparity, educational inequality, poverty, and racism remain far too common for far too many. For many,... Read more