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 interviews podcast, 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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Front Row
11:13 am
Sat March 21, 2015

Boogie, Live In Concert: SXSW 2015

Compton rapper Boogie kicked off NPR Music's SXSW showcase at Stubb's on Wednesday, March 18, 2015.
Adam Kissick for NPR

The first voice we heard when Compton rapper Boogie took the stage Wednesday night wasn't his. It was Darius, Boogie's five-year-old son, booming out the speakers and making occasional appearances throughout his set. This is Boogie's first SXSW, among his first concerts and the beginning of a career that will have to be built on the road, which will mean stretches away from his son, stretches when his son's voice will have to be piped in just like it was at Stubb's.

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Microphone Check
5:47 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Big Sean: 'I Stuck With My Gut'

Big Sean at NPR's Los Angeles bureau.
Emily Berl for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 4:47 pm

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Microphone Check
12:37 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Terrace Martin: 'Everything Got A Little Bit Of Funk In It'

Terrace Martin.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 4:47 pm

Last year you heard Terrace Martin's work on YG's album, Ninth Wonder's compilation, Big K.R.I.T.'s Cadillactica and, just this week, a new song by Kendrick Lamar, called "The Blacker The Berry." In the space of less than six months in 2014, the LA-based producer and multi-instrumentalist also put out a full solo album, 3Chor

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Microphone Check
8:33 am
Fri January 30, 2015

DJ Quik: 'Flamboyant? Every Now And Then'

DJ Quik onstage at his album release party at SOB's in New York City on Oct. 7, 2014.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 3:33 pm

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Microphone Check
2:17 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

AraabMuzik: 'I Have So Much Music, It Doesn't Make Sense'

AraabMuzik at work.
Erez Avissar Courtesy of Distrolord

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 4:48 pm

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Microphone Check
3:16 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Black Milk: 'It's Not Really A Cakewalk'

Black Milk in his hometown, Detroit.
Rick Williams Courtesy of Black Milk

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 8:54 pm

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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 Tue March 3, 2015 4:49 pm

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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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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

First Listen: Ghostface Killah, '36 Seasons'

Ghostface Killah's new album, 36 Seasons, comes out Dec. 9.
Stan Oh Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 10:42 am

It's fair to wonder why anybody would make an album today, much less a group of musicians who've proven themselves several times over. There isn't much money to be had, and what little there is can be got by other, less exhausting methods than touring to break new songs. Kool G Rap doesn't need to do this – everybody you respect wishes they could be like him when they grow up. Pharoahe Monch dropped an album this year that leveled whole tiers of his competition. AZ, when he cares to, rhymes circles around 99.99 % of the rapping population.

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First Listen
11:33 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

First Listen: Your Old Droog, 'Your Old Droog'

Your Old Droog's self-titled new album comes out Nov. 25.
Seher Sikandar Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 4:28 pm

If this is the first time you're hearing of somebody called Your Old Droog, don't even trip. Some people know the name; those people spent the spring and summer speculating if an unknown entity who posted a better-than-it-should-be debut EP on Soundcloud was in fact Nas, our (hip-hop's) Jeff Buckley, minus the tragedy.

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Microphone Check
8:35 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Run The Jewels: 'I'm Taking This Life'

El-P (Jaime Meline) and Killer Mike (Michael Render) are Run the Jewels.
Timothy Saccenti Courtesy of Biz 3 Publicity

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 6:59 pm

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Microphone Check
4:19 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Dante Ross: 'We Wanted Our Own Universe'

Dante Ross at an Anthony Hamilton performance in New York City in 2006.
Ray Tamarra Getty Images

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Tiny Desk Concerts
11:18 am
Wed October 29, 2014

T-Pain: Tiny Desk Concert

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 4:06 pm

T-Pain's fingerprints are all over pop and R&B and hip-hop. He wasn't the first musician to use Auto-Tune as an instrument — he noticed it on a Jennifer Lopez remix, and remembers "Deep" well — but it was, as he says, his style. For a while, in the mid-2000s, he lived at the top of the charts. He dominated that brief moment of our lives when ringtones were a thing.

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Microphone Check
8:32 am
Tue October 21, 2014

T.I.: 'We Make Music That Come From The Heart'

T.I. at NPR's New York City bureau.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:36 am

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The Record
2:28 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Outkast And Atlanta: Until They Close The Curtain

Two dope boys on a Cadillac: Andre 3000 and Big Boi in the early days.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 4, 2014 12:37 pm

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Microphone Check
10:57 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Microphone Check Live: The Stories Of The Notorious B.I.G.

Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 4:51 pm

On Sunday, Sept. 14, 20 years and one day after Biggie Smalls' debut album, Ready to Die, was released, Microphone Check gathered four of the musician's friends in Brooklyn to recall the man they knew.

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Microphone Check
3:00 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Joell Ortiz: 'I Refuse To Compromise Me'

Joell Ortiz at a DJ Booth cypher in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in September.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 6:09 pm

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Field Recordings
1:15 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

KING Makes A Record Lover's Paradise Even Better

NPR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 2:52 pm

On a steamy morning upstairs in a record lover's paradise KING laid down a gorgeous version of one of the songs that lit up Twitter three years ago and put the trio on Prince's radar. Sisters Paris and Amber Strother and partner Anita Bias couldn't believe it when he asked to meet them, but now they think nothing of calling up the legend while they work on their first full-length album.

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Microphone Check
8:08 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Souls Of Mischief: 'It's Like Catching Lightning In A Bottle'

Souls of Mischief are, from left to right, A-Plus, Tajai, Opio and Phesto.
Courtesy of Audible Treats

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 8:58 am

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Field Recordings
8:03 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Ledisi Steals The Show

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 2:46 pm

There's too much happening in New Orleans' French Quarter — especially on a holiday weekend, and especially when hundreds of thousands of people are in town for the annual Essence Music Festival. There are living statues and five-piece bands and drinks a foot-and-a-half tall and people from all over the world ambling in the middle of the street.

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