.

Song Stories

“Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”

Jay-Z | 2001

Back in the early Nineties, Jay-Z’s extraordinary wordplay earned him the divinely inspired nickname Jay-Hova, a play on “Jehovah.” The Brooklyn native eventually toned it down to Hova and then Hov before the 2001 release of his Grammy-nominated sixth album, The Blueprint. The album “was like going back to my roots, to how I grew up,” Hova told Rolling Stone. True to his words, "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," traces Jay-Z’s drug-dealing days and his emergence in the rap scene, with a chorus that uses izzle-lingo to spell out his adopted moniker. The chart-topping single, which samples the Jackson 5’s "I Want You Back," was also the first major hit that Jay-Z had with a then-unknown budding producer from Chicago named Kanye West.

prev
Song Stories Main Next

Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com