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Bobby Carter

Washington D.C. rapper Wale stands as one of the most distinctive figures in hip-hop today. More than 10 years ago, the man born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin created a local buzz in the D.C. area through a host of mixtapes showcasing his skills atop popular instrumentals. What separated him from the hundreds of hopeful MCs trying to make names for themselves online was his ability to fuse go-go music — D.C.'s homegrown spin on funk — with hip-hop. Well, that and a mixtape tribute to Seinfeld.

When Ari Lennox entered NPR Headquarters to perform at the Tiny Desk, we soon learned she was a little under the weather. Draped in a long, leopard-print coat, she greeted the band and approached the desk. I asked her if she was in any shape to sing, and she assured me she was. "Oh, I'm fine and I'm ready!" With that, she slipped off her coat, took her place behind the desk and began her warm up.

Today, Aug. 8, marks the one-year anniversary of when NPR Music published the late Mac Miller's Tiny Desk. Last week, Ty Dolla $ign visited NPR headquarters to record a fantastic Tiny Desk concert of his own that will air in its entirety soon.

After giving us a series of baffling ads in the London Tube and the back pages of the Dallas Observer, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke finally released his third solo album, ANIMA, on Thursday — meaning you won't have to listen to "Not The News" on speakerphone anymore. On this week's New Music Friday, we dive into Yorke's vivid dreamscape and its accompanying film, as well as The Black Keys' electrifying Let's Rock (their first record in five years), Freddie Gibbs and Madlib's fresh collab Bandana and more.

Georgia Anne Muldrow is all about showing and spreading love. That fact became clear as we discussed the set list for her Tiny Desk performance. She and the band were floating the possibility of swapping the duet with her partner in music and life, Dudley Perkins with another song. But she decided it was more important to showcase their shared love on the song "Flowers," originally from Perkins' 2003 album A Lil' Light.

"I wish I could've savored that moment longer," Phony Ppl lead singer Elbee Thrie said to me as we rode the elevator down, following the band's Tiny Desk performance. "I'll never forget this."

Throughout the set, you see Thrie scan the entire office, taking mental inventory of the entire experience. Phony Ppl is a group that emits a vigorous energy on and off stage. In this case, the spirit was exchanged between the band and the NPR staff from the moment they gathered behind the desk and gave a zesty greeting.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

It was the year that trolls and tabloid fodder took over. It was the year that beef became the chief marketing strategy. It was the year that hype trumped truth. And we're not even talking politics yet.

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