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Week in Review: Remembering the Artists We Lost in 2011

Plus: Jay-Z and Kanye's 'Ni**as in Paris' by the numbers, R. Kelly, Beach Boys and more

December 23, 2011 4:00 PM ET
Week in Review: Remembering the Artists We Lost in 2011

As 2011 draws to a close, Rolling Stone took a moment to memorialize the artists we lost over the past year, including sax legends Clarence Clemons and Gerry Rafferty, soul icon Amy Winehouse, hip-hop poet Gil Scott-Heron and rapper Heavy D.

We also learned more about the Beach Boys' upcoming reunion tour from Mike Love, chatted with R. Kelly about his plans to expand his Trapped in the Closet saga, and talked with rapper Danny Brown about why he can't stand bubblegum emcee Mac Miller. Also, we crunched the numbers behind Jay-Z and Kanye West's smash hit "Ni**as in Paris," reported from the VH1 Divas concert taping, caught Scott Weiland's Christmas show in New York and danced at Swedish House Mafia's history-making night at Madison Square Garden.

Photos: Rockers Celebrate Christmas, Then and Now

Plus, Rob Sheffield offered up his personal favorite songs and albums of 2011, our critics shared their favorite musical discoveries of the year and we shared some good tips for rock-centric Christmas gifts. We also analyzed this week's pop charts and looked back on this week in rock history.

Photos: Christmas Albums We Wish Existed

In pop culture, Peter Travers raved about the Christmas season's six must-see movies, we caught up with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo screenwriter Steven Zaillian, and we recapped the finale of the X Factor.

Photos: Random Notes

We also posted your favorite songs of 2011, as determined by a readers poll. Our question for you this week is: What is your favorite new artist of the year? You can answer on our website, at facebook.com/rollingstone or on Twitter using the #weekendrock hashtag.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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