Mano Sundaresan

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In 2017, the rapper Logic named a song after a phone number.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "1-800-273-8255")

LOGIC: (Singing) I've been on the low. I've been taking my time. I feel like I'm out of my mind. I feel like my life ain't mine. Who can relate?

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN IN THE U.S.A.")

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) Born in the USA. I was born in the USA.

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One of the most revered and influential cultural critics of the last 30 years has passed away. Greg Tate was a writer with encyclopedic interests, best known for his incisive writing on early hip-hop.

The United States has been labeled a "backsliding democracy" in a new report from the European think tank International IDEA.

"I think for many of those studying U.S. democracy, this should not come as a surprise," the report's lead author, Annika Silva-Leander, said.

International IDEA measured the global state of democracy in 2020 and 2021 using 28 "indicators" of democracy based on five "core pillars."

The core pillars were representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration and participatory engagement.

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The NBA has been tough to watch this year.

Compared to this same point in previous seasons, the 3-point percentage is the lowest since 2015-16 as everyone from Jayson Tatum to Damian Lillard to Bradley Beal seems to be struggling to find the basket.

My fantasy basketball team is in shambles. My team is shooting 43% from the field, and my high school friends are roasting me in the group chat. Something's gotta give.

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If you have tuned in to an NBA game this season, you might have noticed something weird. A lot of this...

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Tatum is going to take. Nope.

Updated November 2, 2021 at 12:41 PM ET

The rapper Fetty Wap was arrested last week at Rolling Loud New York, on drug charges. But he's not the first rapper to be detained ahead of the annual hip-hop festival, or barred from performing by local authorities. There exists, says journalist Jayson Buford, a continued pattern of law enforcement "essentially using rap lyrics to try to prove that rappers are violent people in real life."

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Janet Jackson opened her album "Control" not with a song, but with a statement.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONTROL")

JANET JACKSON: This is a story about control, my control.

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Western philosophy has long been the province of old white men. Scan most any standard intro to philosophy course load and you'll see it yourself. Teachings of white philosophers compose the political fabric of our society.

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YouTube

You might've heard of the concept of a "bridge" in music.

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Here's what it sounded like in Minnesota, where Sunisa Lee's family, friends and supporters gathered to watch her compete.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Fourteen points.

(APPLAUSE)

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Last night, the city of Milwaukee celebrated the number 50, the Milwaukee Bucks' first NBA title in 50 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Songwriter Lucy Dacus grew up spending summers at Vacation Bible School and during the school year, sometimes skipping class to go to the movies with her friends in her hometown of Richmond, Va. Her third and latest album, Home Video, is an autobiographical, coming-of-age tale that borrows from those real life events she's tracked in journals since she was young.

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Dawn Richard grew up in New Orleans. Her father sang in a funk band called Chocolate Milk. He still does.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRICTION")

CHOCOLATE MILK: (Singing) Friction, baby.

SHAPIRO: As a kid, she was kind of alternative.

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Sometimes when you go back to watch an older movie you love, it feels a little bit off - like, ooh, this hasn't aged well. University of Chicago film professor Jacqueline Stewart had that feeling with "Purple Rain," starring the one and only Prince.

Sheriff deputies shot and killed Andrew Brown, Jr., in Elizabeth City, N.C., last week. One of their bodycams captured the shooting, but Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster blocked the full release of the video for at least a month.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten, who oversees the deputies who killed Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, told All Things Considered that he thinks releasing the video now will help people trust law enforcement

Earlier this month, President Biden announced that the U.S. would withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, effectively bringing an end to a "forever war" spurred by the terrorist attacks 20 years earlier on Sept. 11, 2001. His promise has been met with backlash from both Republicans and moderate Democrats in Congress.

As of this week, you can buy relatively low-priced COVID-19 rapid tests to take at home. The tests are available through pharmacies and do not require a prescription to buy one.

As former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin awaits sentencing after his conviction on three counts of murder in the death of George Floyd, policymakers in Minneapolis are trying to figure out how to improve policing.

Concurrently, the Justice Department has launched an investigation into the city's police department to address possible patterns of discrimination and excessive force.

A recent study of mummified parrots found in a high-altitude desert region in South America suggests to researchers that, as far back as some 900 years ago, people went to arduous lengths to transport the prized birds across vast and complex trade routes.

The remains of more than two dozen scarlet macaws and Amazon parrots were found at five different sites in northern Chile's arid Atacama Desert — far from their home in the Amazon rainforest.

So how did they get there?

On the last edition of Play It Forward, All Things Considered's chain of musical gratitude, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd spoke about Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Thundercat.

On the last edition of Play It Forward, All Things Considered's chain of musical gratitude, Philly-bred multi-instrumentalist Laraaji spoke about Los Angeles singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd.

On the last episode of Play It Forward, All Things Considered's chain of musical gratitude, British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas spoke about Brooklyn-based musician and producer Nick Hakim. In particular, she explained his spellbinding sound and why she considers him one of the greatest musical minds.

On the last episode of Play It Forward, All Things Considered's chain of musical gratitude, British spoken word artist Kae Tempest spoke about singer-songwriter and fellow South Londoner Lianne La Havas. In particular, they described being transfixed by La Havas' command of melody after witnessing her perform at the Royal Albert Hall.

In this week's Play It Forward, where artists tell us about their music and the musicians who inspire them, we hear from the British spoken word poet and musician Kae Tempest. In last week's segment, Indigo Girls' Amy Ray and Emily Saliers talked about Tempest's ability to capture small human moments in large meditations about life and the resonant way they think about love. Ray called them "a true poet," like one of the literary greats.

We're back with season two of Play It Forward, where we talk with artists about their music and the artists they're thankful for. The band Indigo Girls has shaped a generation of singer-songwriters.

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