NPR Music

On this week's quick run through some of the best new albums out on April 20, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton chats with NPR Music's Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson about the primal pop of Kimbra, dark and majestic songs from Exitmusic, Nashville veterans The Old Crow Medicine Show, the rock-and-soul of Shuggie Otis and more.

Forget that old adage about hip-hop being a product of the streets. Nowadays, if you really want to keep your finger on the pulse, you better follow the tweets.

Consider the events this week in rap as exhibits A, B, C and D: In the last five days, three of the biggest, most elusive names in rap have taken to social media to tease fans with forthcoming album release dates, while rap's reigning G.O.A.T. collected the big cheese.

A couple of years ago, Bernie Dalton was a strong, physically fit, 40-something-year-old surfer. Every morning, he would get up at 4 A.M. to watch the sunrise in Santa Cruz, Calif. Bernie wasn't a musician at the time, but he was passionate about music. His lifelong dream was to record an album.

The Echo Awards — Germany's equivalent to the Grammys — is facing widespread censure after this year's prize for best hip-hop album was given to a duo whose lyrics include boasts about how their bodies are "more defined than Auschwitz prisoners" and that they will "make another Holocaust, show up with a Molotov."

At the award ceremony, which took place on April 12, rappers Kollegah (Felix Blume) and Farid Bang (Farid El Abdellaoui) took home the prize for their album Jung, brutal gutaussehend 3 (translated: Young, Brutal, Good-Looking 3).

Sam Baker On Mountain Stage

Apr 19, 2018

As guest-host Kathy Mattea says in her introduction of Sam Baker, this singer-songwriter in particular is a true Renaissance man. We use the term commonly to describe multi-faceted artists such as Baker — artists who create in multiple mediums, like painting, poetry and photography.

The U.K. plans to ban plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday at a meeting of Commonwealth nations.

"Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world," May said in a statement, in which she called the U.K. government "a world leader on this issue."

An attorney for Carver County, Minn., announced today that no charges will be brought in connection with Prince's death and that the musician likely had no idea the vicodin pills he overdosed on were laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl.

"There is no evidence that any person associated with Prince knew that Prince possessed counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl," attorney Mark Metz said during a news conference. "Prince likely had no idea he was taking fentanyl pills that could kill him.

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