Frannie Kelley

Frannie Kelley is an Editor for NPR Music.

In this position, Kelley is responsible for editing, producing and reporting NPR Music's coverage of hip-hop, R&B and the ways the music industry affects the music we hear, on the radio and online. She is co-editor of NPR's music news blog, The Record, and co-host of NPR's rap stream Microphone Check, with Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

Since joining NPR in September of 2007, Kelley has worked on a variety of projects including running a series on hip-hop in 1993 and overseeing a project on women musicians. She also ran another series on the end of the decade in music and web-produced the Arts Desk's series on vocalists, called 50 Great Voices. Most recently, her piece on Why You Should Listen to Odd Future was selected to be a part of the Best Music Writing 2012 Anthology.

Prior to joining NPR, Kelley worked in book publishing at Grove/Atlantic in a variety of positions from 2004 to 2007. She has a B.A. in Music Criticism from New York University.

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The Record
12:18 am
Thu May 1, 2014

'Illmatic': The Making Of A Classic

Nas in 1994, the year Illmatic was released.
Danny Clinch Courtesy of Sony Legacy

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 4:53 am

This summer Nas is traveling the world performing his debut album, Illmatic, in full. The crowds coming out to see him — in Texas, Germany and California — are turning up because the 20-year-old record is an acknowledged classic.

In the early '90s hip-hop was just beginning its takeover of popular music. It was landing on the charts, but more often than not, the songs there were novelties (see: MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice).

For the people who took hip-hop seriously, and especially the fans in rap's hometown of New York City, this was a problem.

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The Record
11:59 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Minya Oh: 'I Was Never Gonna Not Want To Listen To This'

Minya Oh, who reviewed Illmatic in The Source in 1994 under the pen name Shortie and is now a radio personality on New York's Hot 97 who goes by Miss Info. Here she poses for a portrait backstage at a vitaminwater Fader uncapped event in 2012.
Roger Kisby Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:12 am

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The Record
3:24 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Reunited And It Feels A Little Awkward: OutKast At Coachella

Big Boi (left) and Andre 3000 perform on stage at Coachella during the first stop on OutKast's reunion tour.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 3:42 pm

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Microphone Check
2:30 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

E-40: 'I'm On The West Coast, Eating'

E-40.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 6:28 am

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Microphone Check
1:38 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

ScHoolboy Q: 'I Call Myself All-American'

ScHoolboy Q onstage at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City two days before his major label debut dropped.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:21 pm

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Music
9:03 am
Tue February 11, 2014

First Listen Live: ScHoolboy Q, 'Oxymoron'

ScHoolboy Q onstage at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on Sunday, February 23rd.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 12:03 pm

Within Black Hippy, the Los Angeles-based crew consisting of Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q is the fun-loving middle child who taunts you with a straight face but can't always help cracking a smile. He's a wildcard who put out two highly-regarded independent albums and has become a reliable source for bracing guest spots. Sometimes he's incisive, sometimes he's callous. He's always charismatic and perceptive and forthright.

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The Record
2:42 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Rap From Memphis: The Outtakes

The Pyramid Sports Arena in Memphis in 1998.
Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images

During the reporting of our story about the legacy of Comin' Out Hard in Memphis rap, we spent time in the city with MJG, Young Dolph and Drumma Boy. We met Yo Gotti in New York and got Eightball in a studio in Atlanta. We didn't have enough time to talk to everybody who's made Memphis rap what it is, like Gangsta Boo, or DJ Paul, Juicy J, Project Pat, or even Gangsta Pat.

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The Record
9:02 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Eightball, MJG And Rap From Memphis 20 Years On

MJG (left) and Eightball in an early, undated photo.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 1:08 pm

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Microphone Check
5:40 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Starlito And Don Trip: Writers First, Rappers Second

Starlito (left) and Don Trip, in their video for "Caesar & Brutus."
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 11:04 am

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Music
3:44 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Yes, Yeezus Dominated 2013 Hip Hop, But Many More Gems Were Made

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

All this week, we're looking back at the year in music with our friends at NPR Music as our guides. Every year, they round up their favorite 50 albums, some mainstream, some more obscure and some completely unavoidable, like "Yeezus" from Kanye West.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BOUND 2")

BRENDA LEE: Uh-huh, honey.

KANYE WEST: (Rapping) What you doing in the club on a Thursday? You said you only here for a girl birthday. They ordered champagne but still look thirsty. Rock Forever 21 but just turned 30.

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