Song Stories

“Ghetto Dreams”

Common feat. Nas | 2011

Common's ninth album The Dreamer/The Believer was a collaborative effort with producer No I.D., who the rapper has worked with since early in his career. Common worked with New York emcee Nas on "Ghetto Dreams," which features lyrics that some women found offensive and uncharacteristic for Common. "I was like, 'I want a b---- that look good and cook good,'" he explained. "I was just thinking about being in the 'hood… She look raw and she could cook and she could get very elegant, but at the same token she has the know-how in the street.”

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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