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  • Busta Rhymes On ‘Extinction Level Event 2’ And Hip-Hop As A Daily Practice

    Enlarge this image Busta Rhymes' latest album is Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God. Flo Ngala/Courtesy of the artist Flo Ngala/Courtesy of the artist When it comes to the most enthralling rappers, there's no one like Busta Rhymes. At 19 years old, he famously made a scene-stealing guest appearance on A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario." A few years later, in 1996, he started releasing the string of solo albums and singles that made him world famous — not just for delivery and flow, but as a showman. The music video for "Gimme Some More," from 1998's E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, is a case in point: Busta swaps costumes and characters over and over for the camera, rapping as a boxer, a cowboy and a zoot-suited gangster over a beat that samples ...

  • KEM: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

    Credit: Courtesy of the Artist The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space. Recorded in his hometown of Detroit, KEM's Tiny Desk performance is light, welcoming and beautifully decorated. So is his music. After almost 20 years of recording R&B hits like "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Love Calls," he still comforts my soul with his sultry voice and simple, yet satisfying melodies. Fans have been waiting since 2014 for a new album and it finally dropped earlier this year. Love Always Wins is filled with his signature romantic style. With accompaniments by veteran musicians, Michael "Nomad" Ripoll on guitar and David McMurray on saxophone, we get to hear three songs from the album in ...

  • ‘The Last Shall Be First’: A Lost Chapter Of Gospel, Saved From Extinction

    Enlarge this image Pastor Juan D. Shipp is the radio personality responsible for The Last Shall Be First: The JCR Records Story, Vol. 1, a new collection of old gospel songs. Courtesy of the artist Courtesy of the artist This fall brings a new collection of some old spirituals and gospel music, first recorded back in the 1970s. The Last Shall Be First: The JCR Records Story, Vol. 1 aims to give a second life to some memorable performances that almost disappeared forever. It's a story that really begins with a close cousin of gospel music: the blues. In the late 1940s and into the '50s, radio station KWEM in West Memphis, Ark., featured live broadcasts of future legends like B.B. King, Johnny Cash and Howlin' Wolf. Eventually the station changed its call letters to KWAM, moved ...

  • Musicians Turn To New Software To Play Together Online

    Enlarge this image The members of New York-based brass quartet The Westerlies are rehearsing together thousands of miles apart, thanks to Audio Movers. Courtesy of the artist Courtesy of the artist Whether for work, school or doctor's appointments, almost everyone has used Zoom. But for musicians who want to play together online during the pandemic, the popular conference call platform doesn't cut it. Musicians and scientists on opposite coasts have been trying to find solutions. The eclectic brass quartet The Westerlies shares its experiences with Audio Movers and Jack Trip software. Hear the radio version at the audio link. YouTube Let's block ...

  • Rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s Year In Music

    NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with pop culture and music writer Taylor Crumpton about the artist's year in music and her debut album Good News. AILSA CHANG, HOST: 2020 has been a lot. And among the many things it has been, it has also been the year of the Stallion. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAVAGE") MEGAN THEE STALLION: (Singing) I'm a savage, yeah - classy, bougie, ratchet, yeah. CHANG: That is Megan Thee Stallion, the rapper from Houston. Her hit "Savage" attracted a remix featuring Beyonce, and it was followed by her appearance on an even bigger song. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAP") MEGAN THEE STALLION: (Rapping) Now get your boots and your coat for this wet, wet, wet. He bought a phone just for pictures of this wet, wet, wet. CHANG: That is her on the gloriously explicit song "WAP" from Cardi B. Megan Thee Stallion has been pretty hard to miss lately. She started the year on the cover of Rolling Stone, and she was just named GQ's rapper of the year. And now her debut album is out today. It's called "Good News." Pop culture and ...

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