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Song Stories

“Hustlin'”

Rick Ross | 2006

Rick Ross' breakout single "Hustlin" off his debut had all the trappings of a hip-hop hit. "Hustlin'" features Ross doing what he does best: rapping about coke and money. Ross shouts out a number of popular cocaine cowboys in the song, from Manuel Noriega and Pablo Escobar to known Dade County drug kingpin Kenneth "Boobie" Williams. The newly signed Def Jam artist received the ultimate co-sign when Jay-Z and Atlanta trap star Young Jeezy hopped on the remix. "I'm bridging the gap between the South and the East Coast," Ross said. "The sound is real dirty south. But I'm spittin' hard to where the East Coast appreciates it."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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