Andrew Flanagan

Kendrick Lamar dropped the presumptive first single — titled "Humble" — from his highly anticipated forthcoming album on Thursday night, just a week after teasing new music with a cryptic Instagram post.

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

Last fall, the Nobel Committee for Literature announced that its newest honoree would be Bob Dylan, immediately generating heated debates on whether he deserved the prize.

On March 18, Drake released More Life, 22 songs packaged as what he's calling a playlist and what everyone else (including the streaming svengalis at Apple Music and Spotify) have categorized as an album. Whatever you call it, on Monday, Billboard announced that More Life had arrived at the top of the Billboard 200, which tracks the performance of the world's most popular albums, mostly through fans streaming it on Spotify and Apple Music.

This is the story of a hoax that almost was. Its motivating force was a hunger for fame, or infamy, or whispered legend in a particularly American sort of way. It begins on a beach somewhere in south Florida.

Less than a week after Chuck Berry's death at the age of 90, his family announced details Wednesday about the rock and roll pioneer's first album in 38 years — and gave us a taste of what it will sound like.

NPR's Scott Simon spoke to James Cotton in 2013. Hear an encore of their conversation at the audio link.


James Cotton, one of the foremost blues harmonica players of the 20th century, died Thursday of pneumonia while being treated at St. David's Medical Center in Austin, Texas. He was 81 years old.

A note from Cotton's label, Alligator Records, confirmed his passing.

After missing two chances to control the compositions he co-authored while in The Beatles — once in 1969 when he and John Lennon were outbid and again to Michael Jackson, in a duplicitous move by the King of Pop, in the '80s — Paul McCartney is not taking any chances.

In a new video for the slinky, jazz-rooted BADBADNOTGOOD song "Lavender," a character named "Ronald Klump," a satirical Donald Trump stand-in, is the victim of a Looney Tunes-ian "BANG," fired by Snoop Dogg. (The video is also heavy on Snoop's favorite subject, the continuous ingestion of pot.)

One week and a day before thousands will descend on downtown Austin for South By Southwest 2017, what seemed like a standard bit of legalese in contracts given to artists performing at this year's SXSW music festival has, amidst a markedly shifted political climate, erupted into controversy. Musicians have accused the festival of threatening foreign performers with deportation if they appear outside official festival venues.

Last night, after all was said and done — you might've heard about a late-in-the-evening mix-upMoonlight was deservingly crowned last year's best film by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

On Wednesday, as protesters near the Dakota Access Pipeline began to break down their shelters and leave the area, Brooklyn singer Holly Miranda released a song, a cover of an obscure late-'70s science-fictional folk song, that she'd been working on for two months in support of those leaving.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame, with some assistance from Nile Rodgers and CBS This Morning, has announced its 2017 inductees, which include a first for the 38-year-old organization: rap.

Jay Z will be the first rapper inducted into the Hall and will be joined this year by one-man Swedish hit factory Max Martin; Motown founder Berry Gordy (who deferred his induction last year); Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of The Time; Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera of Chicago; and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.

Following the introduction of two bills into the state Legislature that would legally prohibit transgender Texans from using bathrooms that align with their gender identities, 142 artists — including Ewan McGregor, Amy Poehler, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Talib Kweli, Wilco and Whoopi Goldberg — have co-signed a letter beseeching the state senators and representatives to prevent the bills' passage.

The 59th annual Grammy Awards brought a pair of sweeps: a likely one for a dearly departed star, a surprise for the reigning queen of pop — and more performances than anyone will likely remember tomorrow.

The full list of winners from the 59th annual Grammy Awards:

GENERAL FIELD

Record Of The Year:

WINNER: "Hello" — Adele
"Formation" — Beyoncé
"7 Years" — Lukas Graham
"Work" — Rihanna Featuring Drake
"Stressed Out" — Twenty One Pilots

Album Of The Year:

Our relationships with and access to music lie between rocks and hard places; the rocks that own it, the hard places that distribute it to us. Those relationships are constantly evolving, and to figure out what might come next, we've combed through the recent earnings statements of some of the largest record labels and tech companies to reveal how they're preparing for 2017 and beyond.

Drake has topped the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's (IFPI) annual list of best-selling artists worldwide, earning the umbrella group's "Global Recording Artist of the Year" award, buoyed in large part by the success of his 2016 album Views.

David Bowie, who died on January 10, 2016 just two days after the release of Blackstar, came in second on the IFPI's list. Prince, the list's other "legacy" artist, was ninth. The list tabulates all forms of sales, physical and digital, as well as sales from the entire catalog of the artists named.

The band is back together. This Is Spinal Tap's three stars and director have united to sue the movie's owner for $400 million.

In a suit filed yesterday in the Central District of California, Calvin Cooksey — representing himself in the case — has accused Frank Ocean of libel over a blog post published on Ocean's Tumblr.

The music website Bandcamp will donate the money it earns from music sales that occur this Friday, Feb. 3, to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The move, which amounts to 15 percent of all dollars spent on bandcamp.com, was announced in a blog post Tuesday afternoon.

Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp's founder, writes:

Nick Hakim, sitting in the cold outside at the Songbyrd Cafe, on the flat stretch of a hill in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood, laughs when I say his new record sounds like it's being played back on an old 78.

John Wetton, a former singer, bassist and songwriter for King Crimson and Asia, has died at the age of 67. The news was announced Tuesday in a message from his former Asia bandmate Carl Palmer, also of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

The music business is infamously — or maybe just famously — litigious. Lawsuits are filed with striking regularity by artists who claim, with often teeth-skin-thin justification, that they had penned a phrasing or spun a melody that was later stolen by one monumentally successful artist or the other.

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