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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Microphone Check
2:02 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Pete Rock: 'Real Could Be Another Word For Original'

Pete Rock.
Courtesy of the artist

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Music
4:55 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

The Rhythm That's A Way Of Living

Roman Diaz, playing at right.
Martin Cohen Martin Cohen

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:17 pm

Compared to American rock and roll, Afro-Cuban music sounds complicated to the point of intimidation. Sure the rhythms make you want to move, but if you stop to think about what's going on, your feet won't know what to do. And that's just the point — some rhythms are better felt than counted off. NPR's Frannie Kelley learned how easy they can be to play, once you abandon a central tenet of rock: the one.

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Microphone Check
2:34 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Ab-Soul: 'It's A Lot'

Ab-Soul.
Courtesy of Top Dawg Entertainment

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 11:42 am

Ab-Soul, the most philosophical member of the by now vaunted Top Dawg Entertainment, met Microphone Check hosts Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Frannie Kelley in Los Angeles two weeks before the release of his latest album, called These Days ... After only one listen to the album, the three of them had a conversation about Ab's high expectations of his audience and what he's trying to make for them.

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Music
6:15 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Rhythm Section: Spending A Week Trying To Catch The Beat

Roberto A Sanchez Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:06 pm

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Music
4:49 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Sound Off: Where The Military's Rhythm Came From

U.S. Army soldiers take part in a morning run at Camp New York, Kuwait, in 2002.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:13 pm

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Microphone Check
1:00 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Mannie Fresh DJ Set: 'We Bounced Everything'

Mannie Fresh behind the decks at NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Becky Harlan for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 2:56 pm

In the middle of our live interview with Mannie Fresh at NPR's headquarters in D.C., Ali asked Mannie how he approaches DJing — does he play what he wants to hear? Or does he feed the crowd? "When I want you to understand something, I remix it," Mannie said. "If it's Earth Wind and Fire, and you not getting it, I'ma make you get it."

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The Record
12:59 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

D'Angelo: 'I'm Trying To Go Deep'

D'Angelo with Nelson George (left) onstage at the Brooklyn Museum Wednesday night.
Drew Gurian Red Bull Content Pool

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 1:17 pm

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Microphone Check
5:51 pm
Sat May 10, 2014

Inside The XXL Freshmen Issue

Vanessa Satten, center, with Lil Durk to the left and August Alsina to the right.
Courtesy of XXL

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 11:25 am

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Microphone Check
1:55 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Freddie Gibbs: 'I Think I'm The Best Rapper'

Freddie Gibbs.
Peter Beste Courtesy of We Get Press

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 2:43 pm

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The Record
3:05 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 7:53 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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