Listen Now

Audie Cornish

When it comes to the most enthralling rappers, there's no one like Busta Rhymes. At 19 years old, he famously made a scene-stealing guest appearance on A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario." A few years later, in 1996, he started releasing the string of solo albums and singles that made him world famous — not just for delivery and flow, but as a showman. The music video for "Gimme Some More," from 1998's E.L.E.

When Pope Francis named Archbishop Wilton Gregory as a future cardinal this week — making him the first Black American appointed as one — Gregory said he was "surprised" and "certainly deeply grateful."

Gregory, who currently serves as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, notes that he will be the first Black American cardinal in the Catholic Church, but not the first Black cardinal.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

What if one day Jeff Bezos woke up in his $23 million Washington, D.C. home...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: The 34,000 square foot mansion includes 11 enormous bedrooms.

The night of Nov. 7, 2000, was cold and wet in Austin, Texas.

"Nobody cared," remembers Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg, who worked for Texas Gov. George W. Bush's presidential campaign. "We had just won the presidency of the United States."

That excitement quickly evaporated. As the night stretched on, the race between Bush and Democratic nominee Al Gore tightened in Florida. The television networks revised their projections for Bush, deeming the contest too close to call. Before the election night was over, Gore withdrew his concession phone call.

Claudia Rankine's award-winning poetry collection Citizen came out in 2014 — the year of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the death of Michael Brown.

Her latest book arrives as the same problems afflict the United States. It's called Just Us: An American Conversation, and it's a collection of essays, photos, poems and, yes, conversations, that she has been having with friends and strangers alike about race.

In recent years, the image of the American suffragist has been evoked by women in Congress wearing white.

But the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment has been an opportunity for some to take a closer look at the stories of the women of the movement — the ones we think we already know, and the ones that have been lost to history.

There's an old writing exercise that involves describing a color without naming it; it challenges the writer to evoke the emotional primacy of a concept we often take for granted.

In Hillary, a new four-part documentary on Hulu, director Nanette Burstein overlays the story of Hillary Clinton's career and marriage over the story of feminism and the culture wars of the 1990s and 2000s.

It's a dynamic that comes down to "Be Our Champion, Go Away," as one episode is titled.

There was a time when congressional Republicans railed against the budget deficit. In recent history, think of the Tea Party movement, whose members called for driving down debt, deficits and government spending.

"There are so many ways to get this right, they had to look for a way to get this wrong."

That's author L.L. McKinney's response to Barnes & Noble's "Diverse Editions" campaign. McKinney's most recent book, A Dream So Dark, is a sequel to A Blade So Black, a contemporary retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a black female lead.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NANCY PELOSI: We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

That's Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the threshold she's referring to is the impeachment trial of President Trump.

The last decade of music saw major artists break many of the rules about how to release an album. Beyoncé and Drake popularized the "surprise release" — putting out albums with little to no roll-out at all. So in the era of surprise digital drops, and at the beginning of a new year of music, how do you make predictions about what's coming?

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's time to talk about "Cats."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JELLICLE SONGS FOR JELLICLE CATS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (Singing) Jellicle songs for jellicle cats, jellicle songs for jellicle cats.

Why the Trump administration delayed nearly $400 millions of dollars in security aid to Ukraine is the question at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Democrats say the president tried to coerce an ally to help him take down a political opponent. Republicans argue it's a routine use of presidential power.

Interviews with current and former officials show how the Trump administration's hold-up of aid to Ukraine was irregular and likely violated U.S. law, and has far-reaching consequences at home and overseas.

Turn on HBO this Sunday night and you'll see an epic adventure unfold: it's a perilous rescue mission set in a fantastical world, filling a Game of Thrones-sized hole in the network's programming with an alternate universe full of witches, polar bears, magical animal companions and one adventurous young girl.

Yes, we're talking about His Dark Materials — originally a classic trilogy of books by author Phillip Pullman. Adapting such beloved stories for the screen was no easy feat for producer Jane Tranter.

Pages