NPR’s audience has long skewed whiter and older than the general American public, so you might not think of a ’90s hip-hop reunion as a natural project for the network. But NPR has made a number of efforts to reach out to more diverse communities specifically through music programming; NPR said it expects there will be collaborations between this podcast and NPR’s Alt.Latino and Code Switch, as well as segments on All Songs Considered, World Cafe, and NPR’s newsmagazines. In 2015, writing about a previous NPR hip-hop podcast for the Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing, Rodney Carmichael quoted then-NPR Music editor Frannie Kelley on how NPR thought about hip hop:
i did not exist when stretch & bobbito began, but i live in a world they helped to create! very excited for this https://t.co/WkX9FJ3H2k— jenny gathright (@jennygathright) April 18, 2017
“It’s not that there is an active resistance,” Kelley says. But the historical lack of hip-hop coverage on NPR speaks volumes… “The conversations about covering hip-hop in front of a mainstream audience are stuck 20 years [in the past],” Kelley adds. “They’re identical. They’re really boring. And you know what, they’re also really hurtful and bruising to go through…”Kelley left NPR last fall, but around the same time NPR posted a full-time staff writer position in charge of hip-hop coverage. That job went to none other than Rodney Carmichael.