NPR Music News

Forget that old adage about hip-hop being a product of the streets. Nowadays, if you really want to keep your finger on the pulse, you better follow the tweets.

Consider the events this week in rap as exhibits A, B, C and D: In the last five days, three of the biggest, most elusive names in rap have taken to social media to tease fans with forthcoming album release dates, while rap's reigning G.O.A.T. collected the big cheese.

The Echo Awards — Germany's equivalent to the Grammys — is facing widespread censure after this year's prize for best hip-hop album was given to a duo whose lyrics include boasts about how their bodies are "more defined than Auschwitz prisoners" and that they will "make another Holocaust, show up with a Molotov."

At the award ceremony, which took place on April 12, rappers Kollegah (Felix Blume) and Farid Bang (Farid El Abdellaoui) took home the prize for their album Jung, brutal gutaussehend 3 (translated: Young, Brutal, Good-Looking 3).

The U.K. plans to ban plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, Prime Minister Theresa May announced Wednesday at a meeting of Commonwealth nations.

"Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world," May said in a statement, in which she called the U.K. government "a world leader on this issue."

An attorney for Carver County, Minn., announced today that no charges will be brought in connection with Prince's death and that the musician likely had no idea the vicodin pills he overdosed on were laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl.

"There is no evidence that any person associated with Prince knew that Prince possessed counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl," attorney Mark Metz said during a news conference. "Prince likely had no idea he was taking fentanyl pills that could kill him.

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