hip-hop

By the time DaBaby's second album, Kirk, debuted at No. 1 this fall, the North Carolina rapper was already on his way to supernova status thanks to his first album, Baby on Baby, released just six months earlier. There was something special about him: funny, personable, entertaining in a way you couldn't contain in a frame. What really struck a chord, though, was that he was a traditionalist — rapping and enunciating in line with the form as it sounded two or three decades ago.

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET

The fast-rising rapper Juice WRLD has died at age 21 after a medical emergency at Chicago's Midway Airport. TMZ first reported the death, saying that witnesses saw him having a seizure after disembarking from a private plane.

The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed his death to NPR, saying that the autopsy for Juice WRLD — whose real name was Jarad Anthony Higgins — will most likely take place on Monday.

"We as rappers must decide what's most important / And I can't help the poor if I'm one of them / So I got rich and gave back, to me that's the win/win," Jay-Z raps on "Moment of Clarity," which was released over 15 years ago. Jay-Z turns 50 this week and he enters his sixth decade of life as not only a rapper, but as a billionaire who has extended his brand into alcohol, clothing and internet firms, among other things.

This week's Heat Check picks stand out not for sounding different, but for already feeling oddly familiar. Though all of these tracks are new releases, there's something lived-in about each one. Sometimes close to home is the best jumping off point.

Slate's wildly popular investigative podcast, Slow Burn, is back for its third season, which dives into the murders of two of the biggest hip-hop stars of the 1990s — Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Detroit rapper Danny Brown made a name for himself over the past decade as a party boy rapping about drinking and drugs in his signature high-pitched voice.

But now he's older, approaching 40, Brown's re-branding of sorts, branching out to other forms of entertainment.

Earlier this year his comedy talk show Danny's House premiered on Viceland. He's just come out with his fifth studio album, uknowhatimsayin¿

In the words of our millennial patron saint, Frank Ocean, "Summer's not as long as it used to be."

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The rapper A$AP Rocky is out of Swedish jail and back in the U.S. this morning after a monthlong saga that's drawn the attention of music fans, celebrities and President Trump. And as NPR's Andrew Limbong reports, it's not quite over yet.

A Stockholm judge has ordered the release of rapper A$AP Rocky from jail today, in connection with an alleged assault case. While the trial has ended, reports say that the judge won't hand down a verdict until August 14.

A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been detained for a month now, since Jul. 2, after being accused of assaulting a 19-year-old man.

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