Another group of high-profile players in the music business are calling on the Recording Academy (also known as NARAS, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and its president and CEO, Neil Portnow, to make fundamental changes to address gender disparity within its ranks and at the Grammy Awards.

Pioneering DJ and rapper Lovebug Starski, who helped develop the nascent form of hip-hop in the Bronx in the late '70s, died Thursday afternoon of a heart attack at his Las Vegas home, his manager has confirmed to NPR. He was 57.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

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Over nearly 50 years of making albums, John Prine's been able to turn the sense that he's slightly underappreciated into a trademark. He's the secret favorite everybody can agree on, never quite in the middle of the conversation but always poking around in the corners for a modest truth that will linger after the noise dies down.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

A founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, John Perry Barlow, has died at the age of 70, according to a statement issued by the Foundation.

Best Buy has told music suppliers that it will pull all CDs from its stores this summer, according to a report from Billboard. This move should come as no big surprise: Between unlimited streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, and the ongoing vinyl revival, CDs just don't have the sway that they used to.

Given the saturation of comic-book blockbusters, it's remarkable that Black Panther's myth has only gained steam in the two years since the character first appeared on the big screen, knocking heads and shrugging off bullets.

A strained "Star-Spangled Banner," a decaf flat white of a halftime show, an understated show of solidarity and, of course, the advertisements: If nothing else, Super Bowl LII's musical moments were legion. Here are the ones that caught NPR Music's ears over the course of the night.

Pink's lozenge

At first, there's just a drip: a gentle pulse from a marimba. Then a bewitching melody played on a set of tuned cowbells enters and the music comes into focus. The four musicians in the Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion let the piece unfold deliberately. They play as if they're a single, eight-armed organism.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

When it comes down to it, language is the heart of rap. That's why rappers in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, insist their city is the heart of Chinese rap. The language of Chengdu, Sichuanese, is an emotive, drawling dialect of Mandarin — so wildly different from its rigid-sounding mother tongue that visitors from other parts of China have a hard time understanding it. Its twang fits the rhythms of a song like "Leshan Doufu," by rapper TSP, like a glove.

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It's time to acknowledge that the Grammy Awards has a real race problem on its hands: It's racing toward total irrelevance.

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Pop singer Bruno Mars swept last night's Grammy Awards. Many people expected hip hop - and Latin music to dominate. Instead, Bruno Mars received the honors for album, song and record of the year. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

In a year when the nominees were more eclectic and adventurous, the safe bets prevailed at the 60th Grammy Awards.

This is NPR Music's live blog of the 2018 Grammy Awards. The telecast of the awards show is scheduled to run from 7:30 until 11:00 p.m. ET. We'll be here the whole time, updating this post with every award or performance.

The complete list of nominees and winners from the 60th annual Grammy Awards.


Record Of The Year

WINNER: "24K Magic" - Bruno Mars
"Redbone" - Childish Gambino
" Despacito" - Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber
"The Story Of O.J." – Jay Z
"HUMBLE." - Kendrick Lamar

Album Of The Year

Ahead of Sunday night's 60th Grammy Awards ceremony, a new study published by University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative finds that more than 90 percent of Grammy nominees in the past six years have been male. Stacey Smith, co-author of the study — titled Inclusion in the Recording Studio? -- says there is an "epidemic of invisibility" in the music industry, particularly in songwriting and producing.