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What We Talked About When We Talked About Hip-Hop In 2013

We all listen to music differently. What we hear is shaded by our history, our knowledge, our equipment, our mood, our taste. But every year there are moments when everybody who lives and breathes hip-hop is talking about the same thing.

In June, when Jay's Samsung/Magna Carta Holy Grail ad aired during game 5 of the NBA Finals. A Thursday in April when Pusha T's "Numbers on the Boards" dropped. A Friday night in May, when Kanye's face appeared on buildings all over the country. The middle of September, when Drake's Nothing Was the Same leaked. The evening in August when Funkmaster Flex dropped — complete with bomb sound — Kendrick Lamar's verse on Big Sean's "Control."

For this episode of Microphone Check co-hosts Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley are joined by their social media manager, Cedric Shine. All three of them experienced those disruptions differently — and their opinions of both their meaning and the quality of the music at their root are not unanimous. The conversation ranges from Ali's inside track on Magna Carta to Troy Ave, ASAP Ferg, music journalism's involvement in Kanye's year and how the quality of life in New York City is affecting the music being made there.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Frannie Kelley is co-host of the Microphone Check podcast with Ali Shaheed Muhammad.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad is a world-renowned producer, songwriter and musician, and a founding member of A Tribe Called Quest, Lucy Pearl and production group The Ummah. He cowrote D'Angelo's "Brown Sugar" and has worked with John Legend, Maxwell, Mint Condition, Angie Stone, Mos Def and Gil Scott-Heron among many others.