Timmhotep Aku

Timmhotep Aku is an NPR Music contributor and occasional guest host for our +1 podcasts. This week he talks with Matt Martians and Syd of the soul band The Internet.

The Internet is greater than the some of its parts. The Internet I'm referring to in this case is the band consisting of founding members Matt Martians and Syd, as well as guitarist Steve Lacy, bassist Patrick Paige II and drummer Christopher A. Smith, a group of millennials in love with the traditions of R&B and soul.

Timmhotep Aku is an NPR Music contributor and occasional guest host for our +1 podcasts. This week he talks with writer, comedian and hip-hop lover Neal Brennan.

Comedy and hip-hop have a lot in common: Both are balms for the sting of the everyday struggle and both hold up a mirror to society's excesses, absurdities and injustices. These two worlds come together in the work of writer and comedian Neal Brennan.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: This week's +1 podcast is hosted by NPR Music contributor Timmhotep Aku.


Hannibal Buress is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor loved for his brand of irreverent comedy and his gift for finding absurdity in the seemingly mundane. It's an audacity that informs not only his sense of humor, but also his taste in music.

On this week's +1 podcast, NPR Music contributor Timmhotep Aku talks with singer and rapper Anderson .Paak and producer Knxwledge about their new collaboration under the name NxWorries.

The music the LA-based duo makes exists at the intersection of soul and raw, sample-based hip-hop ballads over beats. Anderson .Paak lends his inimitable voice, songwriting and slick tongue to NxWorries, while Knxwledge is the quieter half with a talent for finding and flipping samples into transfixing loops.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Advisory: This interview contains profanity.

On this week's All Songs +1 podcast, I'm taking the host chair usually occupied by Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton for a conversation with Danny Brown about the Detroit rapper's upcoming album, Atrocity Exhibition, his admiration for contemporaries like ScHoolBoy Q and what Brown calls his all-time favorite rap song, Nas' "The World Is Yours." In our talk, Brown also explains how he hooked up with South African singer/producer Petite Noir for the new song we're premiering in the podcast, "Rolling Stone."

Rap and Christmas have always been strange bedfellows. Whereas genres like pop, country and R&B lend themselves to the saccharine sentiment of holiday cheer, hip-hop prides itself on being rooted in bittersweet reality — especially that of America's black underclass. So the all-good/Jesus'-birthday pretensions of holiday spirit feel somewhat disingenuous in its songs. Which is why, as a lifelong rap fan, I have always loved what I consider the greatest hip-hop humbug of all time: OutKast's "Player's Ball."

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


"[We'll bring them here through either isotopic] teleportation, transmolecularization, or better still—teleport the whole planet here through music."

Note: NPR's Audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Rapper and producer Travis Scott, 23, is one of the most polarizing and intriguing figures in hip-hop today. Born Jacques Webster and hailing from a suburb of Houston, Scott was first known for his relationship with two megastars: rapper T.I., whose label imprint puts out his music; and Kanye West, his mentor and a frequent collaborator.

A good songwriter knows that you can say more with less, and rapper-turned-singer Phonte Coleman understands a thing or two about the economy of words. A top-notch MC, he shined in the now-disbanded hip-hop trio Little Brother, full of witty lyrics and in-pocket flows; while giving fans a taste of his singing ability on comical skits and choruses.

Mick Jenkins' 2014 release The Water[s] helped establish him as one of the stronger voices in Chicago's vibrant, diverse (and crowded) hip-hop scene. While the locally popular drill and bop music often associated with that city's rap are visceral expressions of youthful energy, Jenkins' music is the decidedly cerebral and emotive other side of the same coin. It might be tempting to throw the conscious label his way, but that's reductive, especially in an era where the term is used pejoratively and associated with self-righteous and pedantic MCs.

Though his presence is felt every time we see those ubiquitous Beats-branded headphones and hear stars he ushered into the mainstream, like Kendrick Lamar and Eminem, Dr. Dre the musician, the creator has recently been absent from the music world.

"They want to know if he's still got it..."

Vince Staples is used to playing the bad guy. Since he was first introduced as a fringe Odd Future affiliate the 22-year-old rapper has established himself as a calm, sinister presence—in sharp contrast to the sometimes shocking, but mostly innocuous, hijinks of Tyler and company. His calling card has been the scene-stealing guest verse, the content of which ranges from villainous to downright vile (e.g.

J*Davey knows what it's like to be early to the party. The L.A. duo of producer Brook D'Leau and singer-songwriter Jack Davey made its debut a decade ago with a sound that drew from electro and new wave as much as it did hip-hop and pop. Back in the days of MySpace music discovery, the duo developed a cult following online and later signed a deal with Warner Bros. that would prove fruitless. After putting out a handful self-released EPs and a full-length, the duo stepped out of the spotlight.