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Song Stories

“Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are)”

Pras Michel feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard and Mya | 1998

Pras' post-Fugees debut rode largely on the strength of its title cut, also included on the soundtrack to Warren Beatty's political satire Bulworth. Bolstered by a the addition of Ol' Dirty Bastard (who reportedly gate-crashed the session), the melody of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream" with vocals by Mya and a video featuring Beatty and Halle Berry alongside the recording artists, the song went Top 20, though that didn't protect Pras from critical venom. Even co-producer Wyclef Jean weighed in, calling Pras an "eight-bar superstar." Jean added, "I told Pras, "I don't think it's smart for you to do a second [album] right now," and a notorious feud was officially begun.

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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