NPR Hip-Hop’s Microphone Check

If you love Hip-Hop, culture or artistry you should be listening to NPR Hip-Hop’s Microphone Check with Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelly.

In a genre who’s headlines are frequently submerged in Jesus piece size rankings, booty clap competitions and fake beefs, Ali Shaheed and Frannie not only provide historical context and expertise, but expertly craft the kind of deep, personal discussions other NPR shows like This American Life are known for.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Two great episodes to start with: J. Cole and Dante Ross.

Kings, Queens and Jokers

Everybody was saying, “This is the worst year for hip-hop. Hip-hop is terrible this year. Nobody’s selling.” And that — forget the sales. “Nobody’s good. The albums are trash.”

J. Cole on NPR Hip-Hop’s Microphone Check

Every year is the worst year in the history of Hip-Hop. Every year is the dumbest year in tech. Every year culture hits a new low and we can find 100 songs or shows or products or anything to confirm our suspicions that the sky is falling.

But our worsts don’t matter.

Our trivialities don’t stick.

They may have a bad odor, but the wind blows them away.

Our greatness is what endures and our quality is all that transitions into timelessness. Today’s trivialities rarely even make it into tomorrow’s trivia.

So if you want to see what’s important. If you want to know where things are going. Or if you want to judge the state of a scene or an ecosystem:

We shouldn’t judge our quality by our jokers, but by our queens and kings.