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In Your Ear: Rapper Q-Tip

KORVA COLEMAN, host:

We end our program with our In Your Ear segment. That's where we ask people what music they're listening to. Today, we ask hip-hop artist Q-Tip. Here's what he told us.

(Soundbite of song "Upside Down")

Q-TIP (Hip-Hop Artist): One thing that I'm listening to is Fela Kuti, "Upside Down."

(Soundbite of song "Upside Down")

Q-TIP: And I love this song because obviously, Fela Kuti was a political force, and he was the innovator of Afro-beat music.

(Soundbite of song "Upside Down")

Q-TIP: And you know, it's rare, I think his wife - one of his wives was singing this song.

(Soundbite of song "Upside Down")

Mr. FELA KUTI: (Singing) Open up, look into dictionaries. I said open up...

Q-TIP: And the lyrics and just the way that it was relayed was just so strong and powerful. So this is one song I'm listening to.

(Soundbite of song "Upside Down")

Mr. FELA KUTI: (Singing) And recognize the one for sure...

Q-TIP: Another song that I'm listening to is "Microphone Fiend" by Eric B. & Rakim.

(Soundbite of song "Microphone Fiend")

ERIC B. & RAKIM: (Rapping) I was a fiend before I became a teen. I melted microphones instead of cones of ice cream. Music orientated so when hip-hop was originated...

Q-TIP: Rakim was one of my favorite lyricists of all time, like, he is amazing, such a major influence on me. And I love this song in particular because the hook is not really there. It's like he says it maybe in the beginning, and it's intermittent with it and woven throughout his rhyme.

(Soundbite of song "Microphone Fiend")

ERIC B. & RAKIM: (Rapping) The invincible, microphone fiend Rakim. Spread the word, 'cause I'm in E-F-F-E-C-T. A smooth operator operating correctly...

Q-TIP: There is never a place where the chorus just rocks until the end. So it's all one rhyme, and it's just - the rhyme is so amazing.

(Soundbite of song "Microphone Fiend")

ERIC B. & RAKIM: (Singing) Before you go, you'll remember you seen. The fiend of a microphone, I'm the microphone fiend...

(Soundbite of song "You Never Give Me Your Money")

Q-TIP: And another song that I am listening to which I really love is the Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money." I just really love this song, and I thought it was a great combination of John and Paul's writing together. Like, obviously, the first bit is Paul, and then obviously, as it starts to fade out, that's John's part, and it's just so powerful and - I don't know. I just love this song. It's one of my favorite Beatles songs.

(Soundbite of song "You Never Give Me Your Money")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) And in the middle of negotiations, you break down. Any jobber got the sack, Monday morning, turning back...

COLEMAN: That was Q-Tip telling us what's in his ear.

(Soundbite of song "You Never Give Me Your Money")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go. But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go...

COLEMAN: That's our program for today. I'm Korva Coleman in for Michel Martin, and this is Tell Me More from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

(Soundbite of song "You Never Give Me Your Money")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) Oh, that magic feeling. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to go. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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