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Podcast Review: ‘Microphone Check’ – Andre 3000 Interview

An excellent discussion with the Outkast commander.

Ryan Feyre

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As part of our ongoing Music Journalism Course, our music team was asked to choose, listen to and write a reaction to an episode of a music podcast. 

Anytime Andre 3000 speaks, people will listen. The legendary commander of Outkast joined A Tribe Called Quest’s Al Shaheed Muhammad, and NPR’s Frannie Kelley to discuss his longevity in hip hop on the introspective podcast, Microphone Check.

To me, it’s always intriguing to hear what Andre has to say, especially since his intelligence outweighs many artists circling through the mainstream, even to this day.  

Listening to this podcast in my dorm room brought a nostalgic feeling to the air. Muhammad and Kelley take advantage of their audio capabilities, utilizing snippets of past Outkast songs when need be. The chosen tracks aren’t just used for filler; they’re employed as a segue for specific topics discussed throughout the episode. 

For example, Muhammad inserts Outkast’s classic 1996 song, “Mainstream” right smack in the middle of the discussion as a passageway for their subsequent conversation about Andre’s thought process when it comes to the production of his music, both past and present. 

For the duration of the podcast, the rapper (also known as Andre Benjamin) examines his own experiences as an artist within the newer generation of hip hop, and brings about interesting tidbits, including his recent association with Aretha Franklin prior to her death. 

Muhammad and Kelley facilitate the discussion with thoughtful questions, mainly about Outkast’s early days, and how they were able to put Atlanta on the map musically. Kelley specifically asks a question about the categorization of Outkast, and the perception of hit songs like, “Hey Ya.” It’s a conversation worth having, and Andre does an excellent job of answering everything with a great deal of reflection and understanding.

Muhammad and Kelley allow their podcast to breathe, never adding any sound effects as unnecessary filler. Instead, the hosts grant Andre the time he deserves, thus awarding him with room to drop knowledge, whether it be about his earlier endeavors with Big Boi, or his recent thoughts about trap rap. The amount of information Andre gives the listeners in only 30 minutes is impressive, and all the more enlightening. 

I’ve never listened to a full episode of  Microphone Check prior to this interview. But after hearing Muhammad and Kelley seamlessly hold a conversation with one of the greatest artists of this generation without ever seeming nervous or starstruck, you best believe I will be checking them out in the future.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Ryan is a Communications major student at Salem State University. He’s written for the pop culture websites, The Young Folks and Fansided. Currently, Ryan is working to finish his degree, and in his free time, he enjoys listening to music, going to the movies, and playing basketball.

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