NPR Music & Concerts

The Record
3:57 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

On 'The Pinkprint,' Nicki Minaj Speaks The Language Of Love

Nicki Minaj, in a still from her video for "Only."
Courtesy of the artist

The Pinkprint is just a record, as far as hip-hop is concerned. Nothing more, nothing less. But for Nicki Minaj, it's a career-defining moment. Even after she weathered a storm of rap critic scolds unhappy with her for completely crossing over the line she once straddled so well, the dance-pop successes of her last album, Roman Reloaded, overshadowed her artistic credibility. How would she bounce back? As Nicki well knows, hip-hop will only take it so far.

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The Record
3:11 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Redman On Music And Marijuana: Now Is The Time For Some Action

Redman onstage at the Best Buy Theater in New York City on November 26th, 2014.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:23 pm

Quick survey: you're going to the Word Wide Rollers Tour, presented by a group of weed connoisseurs called the Smoker's Club. Among the featured performers is a rapper named Berner and a DJ named TreeJay. The tour poster shows a Smokey the Bear type blunting in the woods. What do you pack?

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The Record
11:58 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Listen To 'The Eye,' A New Song By Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile's fifth studio album, The Firewatcher's Daughter, will be out on March 3.
David McClister Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:45 pm

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Music Articles
2:03 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Charli XCX's Stockholm Scream Led To One Big 'Sucker'

"I just sort of screamed into a microphone for ages," the British pop singer Charli XCX says of the time leading up to Sucker.
Bella Howard Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 2:50 pm

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The Record
10:43 am
Fri December 12, 2014

In 2014, Pop Followed Beyonce's Lead

Beyonce's performance during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in August included clips of a speech about feminism by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Kevin Winter/MTV1415 Getty Images for MTV

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 5:12 pm

2014 was a divisive time in popular music, with no single album or song seeming to capture the year's mood and no trend pointing clearly toward the future. But most music lovers could agree on one thing: Beyoncé was flawless. The 33-year-old powerhouse set every standard by which pop music and celebrity are judged.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:05 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Best Classical Albums Of 2014

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Become Ocean by John Luther Adams is one of NPR Classical's favorite albums of 2014.
Cantaloupe

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 10:59 am

Most years, Tom Huizenga and I spend a lot of time after Thanksgiving and well into December battling over — or, more truthfully, having many friendly but spirited discussions about — which recordings should comprise our 10 favorites of the year. We each come up with a list of 10, and then we start hammering things out in some amount of exquisite music-nerd agony. Some albums we agree upon, some are our individual picks.

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Microphone Check
12:29 am
Fri December 12, 2014

J. Cole: 'Ain't Enough Of Us Trying'

J Cole, whose mother supported him as a postal worker when he was a kid.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:03 pm

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The Record
2:53 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

The Political Folk Song Of The Year

Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff.
Joshua Shoemaker Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 10:52 am

When Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff wrote the song "The Body Electric," she knew it would make its way into the world, and hoped its effects would be palpable. Horrified by the rapes that have made tragic news from India to America's college campuses, the singer-songwriter noticed that her own people — music makers and music lovers — would regularly sing along with choruses about killing women, comfortably accepting gender-based violence as part of the ballad tradition.

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Microphone Check
5:28 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Rick Ross: 'It Was Just So Powerful To Me'

Rick Ross.
Courtesy of Def Jam Records

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 12:16 pm

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The Thistle & Shamrock
4:42 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

The Thistle & Shamrock: Music Migration

Bruce Molsky.
Joel Didriksen kingpinphoto.com

Host Fiona Ritchie recalls the connections that captured her attention when she first traveled in the U.S. in the early 1980s by exploring what ties her world to the music of the Southern Mountains.

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