Jay-Z

"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.

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.

Art is identity, scream these best albums of 2018. Even when it's pure invention. The most striking things we heard this year mined personal experiences that could feel intimate as whispers or bold and overstuffed as superhero science fiction. Even in an era where listeners have been primed for the unexpected, genuine surprises arrived steadily across the last 12 months – a cascade of introductions, breakthroughs, revelations and rebirths to reward whatever precious attention you could give.

Updated 10:25 a.m., Aug. 29 with additional companies and individuals' contributions to the relief effort in Houston. Head here to learn more about how you can help.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Let's end this hour with the latest in music news. A lot has happened in just the last 24 hours with two major album releases by legacy artists. For more on this, we're joined by NPR's senior editor Jacob Ganz. Hey, Jacob.

JACOB GANZ, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

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.

Mitchell Boysen

This is Sample Size, our weekly new music feature with KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC pop music columnist Matt Carney.

Today, we look at a lawsuit against Jay-Z and Timbaland, and new songs from Fuzz and Lowly.

Follow Matt & Ryan on Twitter at @OKmattcarney and @KOSUryan.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Welcome to Sample Size, where KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC pop music columnist Matt Carney team up each week to discuss music news and new music releases.

Today, we look at the megastar-led subscription music streaming service Tidal, the personal inspiration of Sufjan Stevens' new album, and the forthcoming full-length debut of indie-pop band Eskimeaux.

Follow Matt & Ryan on Twitter at @OKmattcarney and @KOSUryan.