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Song Stories

“Brown Sugar”

The Rolling Stones | 1971

According to Keith Richards, this outrageous ode to a black fantasy goddess was the first song for which Mick Jagger composed the main riff. Jagger came up with the concept, slave ship imagery and all -- most likely inspired by his affair with African-American singer Claudia Lennear -- while in the Australian outback filming Ned Kelly, and he admits that "Brown Sugar" is about more, and less, than the sordid lyrics indicate. "They've got a lot of different levels. There are drug references that are sort of covered. The whole thing is a double-entendre," Jagger told Rolling Stone in 2000, adding, "I don't know quite what to think of it now."

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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."

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