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Song Stories

“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”

Beyonce | 2008

Drawing from her then-secret marriage to Jay-Z, Beyonce’s megahit celebrates female empowerment by calling out men’s unwillingness to commit to relationships. But it was her simple yet stylized black-and-white video that really made a splash, when her choreographed moves sparked the first ubiquitous dance craze of the internet age, which kicked off when a high-heeled, leotard-wearing Justin Timberlake spoofed the song on Saturday Night Live. A global phenomenon was born, as countless parodies popped up on YouTube. Beyonce has said the inspiration for the routine was Bob Fosse’s 1969 performance of “Mexican Breakfast” on The Ed Sullivan Show. As she herself put it, it is “the most iconic” song and video of her career thus far.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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