Mallory Yu

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There are two sides to the Cuban artist Erik Iglesias Rodríguez, who performs as Cimafunk. "Cima" is an homage to the cimarrón, a word that refers to Cubans of African descent who escaped enslavement. And "funk," he says, "because you got all the African roots that came to the United States and transformed gospel [and] the blues to get funk."

At the heart of Esperanza Spalding's new album, Songwrights Apothecary Lab (S.A.L.), is a question: "What do you need a song for?" In pursuit of answers, Spalding, a Grammy-winning jazz singer and bassist, assembled a team of more than just other musicians; she created a laboratory of sorts, gathering neuroscientists, psychologists, ethnomusicologists and more. "We are like shipwrights," Spalding says in an interview with NPR's Ailsa Chang. "We build things.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

"I guess I'm a lot more confident... "

When Lil Nas X first dropped "Old Town Road" at the end of 2018, the country-rap banger broke the internet. In the process of wrangling viral fame, Lil Nas X's trajectory sparked debate over the racial boundaries of genre. While some might have thought this was just a teenager's 15 minutes of fame, three years and two Grammys later, Lil Nas X is rewriting the rules of unlikely stardom again.

Pages