Mano Sundaresan

While recording Donda, Kanye West paid $1 million per day to live in the belly of Mercedes Benz Stadium, in a stuffy room that resembled a jail cell. As with his last several records, his hulking new album arrived in fits and starts, like a lawnmower revving up for three weeks. Three stadium listening parties – two at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, one at Soldier Field – brought millions of viewers into his process.

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Before he produced some of the biggest rap and R&B songs of the 1990s, Chucky Thompson made a name for himself in his hometown of Washington, D.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHUCK BROWN & THE SOUL SEARCHERS SONG, "BUSTIN' LOOSE")

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You might've heard of the concept of a "bridge" in music.

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Songwriter Lucy Dacus grew up spending summers at Vacation Bible School and during the school year, sometimes skipping class to go to the movies with her friends in her hometown of Richmond, Va. Her third and latest album, Home Video, is an autobiographical, coming-of-age tale that borrows from those real life events she's tracked in journals since she was young.

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