10 Things We Learned From Mannie Fresh's Microphone Check

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  • Mannie Fresh, Ali Shaheed Muhammad
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  • Mos Def, Yasiin Bey, Mannie Fresh
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Go D.J.

It's a rare treat to hear Mannie Fresh speak. Without words, he's been changing the landscape of pop culture and bridging the gap between New Orleans big band music and hip hop since the '90s.

The live instrumentation on "Back That Azz Up" and the drum patterns on "Bling Bling," for example, certified the Cash Money team in the mainstream ("bling bling" was even added to the Oxford-English dictionary) and his new album with Yasiin Bey is doing something similar, connecting the bounce of the South with one of the most thought-provoking lyricists. ("It's hard to get him to rap like that," Fresh said of the artist formerly known as Mos Def.)

In a special sit down for NPR's new Microphone Check series with Brooklyn-born DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of Lucy Pearl and A Tribe Called Quest fame), Fresh not only drops a Bounce version of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," but he also waxes nostalgic on the history of his sound. Read on for some of the highlights.

(Photos from Left: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Sirius, Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

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