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At sunset on July 30th, currents of fragrant incense wafted down a stretch of Vernon Ave. in the Leimert Park neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Outside the gated windows of a small first-floor apartment, a group of friends lit dozens of candles, remembering the life and playing the music of Ras G, who had passed away inside the day before at 40 years old.

Kelly was charged Monday in Minnesota with two criminal offenses related to engaging in prostitution with a minor.

The charges were announced at a press conference Monday afternoon by Mike Freeman, the attorney for Hennepin County, an area that includes Minneapolis.

Heat Check

Aug 5, 2019

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The rapper A$AP Rocky is out of Swedish jail and back in the U.S. this morning after a monthlong saga that's drawn the attention of music fans, celebrities and President Trump. And as NPR's Andrew Limbong reports, it's not quite over yet.

A Stockholm judge has ordered the release of rapper A$AP Rocky from jail today, in connection with an alleged assault case. While the trial has ended, reports say that the judge won't hand down a verdict until August 14.

A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been detained for a month now, since Jul. 2, after being accused of assaulting a 19-year-old man.

R&B singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn, New York on Friday morning to five federal criminal charges brought against him by prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York. Judge Steven L. Tiscione denied Kelly's request for bail.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The band Mashrou' Leila has built up a huge following in the last decade, especially in their home country, Lebanon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MASHROU' LEILA: (Singing in foreign language).

Putting a definitive end to what had turned into a months-long saga, the producers of the Woodstock 50 festival announced on Wednesday afternoon that the three-day event that was supposed to take place in less than three weeks, on Aug. 16-18, has been canceled.

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Angel Olsen's 2016 album My Woman found the versatile singer broadening her stylistic reach, lending brashness a

A Los Angeles jury has ruled that Katy Perry's 2013 hit "Dark Horse" featuring Juicy J infringed on the 2008 rap song "Joyful Noise" by Christian rapper Flame featuring Lecrae and John Reilly. In a unanimous decision handed down on July 29, the jurors decided that the beat of Perry's smash hit improperly copied the beat of the Christian rap song, creating a perfect storm of copyright infringement.

Lil Nas X has officially broken the record for the longest-running No. 1 single on Billboard's Hot 100 list thanks to his breakout hit "Old Town Road." Billboard announced on July 29 that the genre-jumping song has topped the chart for 17 straight weeks. But what's the significance of such a feat?

Less than a year ago, nobody knew the name Lil Nas X. Now, his song "Old Town Road" has set the record for longest time spent atop the Hot 100 singles chart.

Woodstock 50, the music festival intended as a celebration of the era-defining 1969 concert, has instead spent months unravelling in public. Now, if it takes place at all, the festival won't take place in the same area of upstate New York as the original Woodstock. In fact, it won't take place in New York at all, or even an adjacent state.

Seth Hurwitz, chairman of the mid-Atlantic concert promotion company I.M.P., said Thursday that the organizers of Woodstock 50 have approached the Columbia, Md., venue Merriweather Post Pavilion about hosting the event.

Updated Aug. 1 at 8:14 p.m. ET

Opera star David Daniels has been indicted in Texas on a felony charge of sexual assault.

A grand jury indicted Daniels in Harris County District Court on July 25. Also indicted on the same charge is Daniels' husband, William Walters, who goes by the name Scott. In Texas, sexual assault of an adult is a Class 2 felony; if convicted, Daniels and Walter could face between two and 20 years in prison.

Since his first glimmers of internet notoriety, Chance the Rapper has been hailed as the kind of wunderkind to turn the music industry on its head. From the nasal-toned phenom who made good use of a lengthy school suspension for his 2012 debut mixtape, 10 Day, to the savvy verse maestro who kept the emphasis on his friendships with 2013's Acid Rap and the 2015 collaborative album Surf, the most endearing quality about Chance is that he's always done things his own way and on his own time.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.


The earliest anthems were sacred hymns, religious songs of praise. For this installment of NPR's American Anthem series, we examine a rock and roll hymn — from Ireland.

Hello, Brave New World!

Jul 26, 2019

8:02 a.m., July 12, 2019

Dear me (hopefully),

I don't even know if you'll be able to see this note, but I'll write it anyway, because I really need your help.

Authorities in Sweden have charged rapper A$AP Rocky with assault in connection with an altercation last month in Stockholm — a case that has rallied celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber and even a personal intervention from President Trump.

The musician and record producer, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was detained along with two others by police following a street brawl in the Swedish capital, where the rapper was on tour.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Rapper Meek Mill has been granted a new trial by a three-judge appeals court panel in Pennsylvania, for a case that dates back 12 years. The only witness who testified against Meek was a police officer who was later found to have committed theft.

"The Commonwealth concedes a new trial is required," the judges' unanimous opinion stated, in light of "after-discovered evidence" about the police officer's conduct.

Have you ever had a roommate sell your stuff while you were on vacation? But instead of a ratty couch that won't nearly pay rent, it's super-intimate letters and recordings that you'd never want anyone to read or hear, like, ever? Madonna feels your pain.

A guitar band from Mali called Tinariwen is famous worldwide. The group's fans and collaborators have included Robert Plant, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Bono of U2 and Nels Cline of Wilco. The band has fought extremism in their home country of Mali, and been victims themselves.

Cincinnati Opera has premiered a new opera that chronicles the stories of six people wrongfully convicted in Ohio and in the process, puts America's criminal justice system on trial. The new opera Blind Injustice is based on a book of the same title by Mark Godsey, a former prosecutor and law professor at the University of Cincinnati.

One of New Orleans' iconic musicians has died. Art Neville — a founding member of both the Meters and the Neville Brothers, died Monday at age 81. His death was confirmed by his nephew Ivan Neville (the son of Art's brother, Aaron) and his manager of two decades, Kent Sorrell. According to Nola.com, he had been in declining health for years.

Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" rode right into its 16th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 today, tying the record for longest consecutive time in the top spot.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

And finally today, one of the definitive songs of the summer so far has been "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OLD TOWN ROAD")

In his vast catalog of music, Radiohead's Thom Yorke has trembled like a broken man on his knees. He has screamed in tormented six-part harmony; he has manic-whispered diaries worth of existential fear. Still, he just can't shake the techno-dread. Most recently, that dread has manifested in Yorke's third solo project, ANIMA, released on June 27.

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After a year of build-up, King Princess has finally announced her debut album, Cheap Queen, and dropped its s

In 1985, a team of country-music legends formed The Highwaymen, a supergroup combining the talents of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.

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