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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.

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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