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Song Stories

“South Bronx”

Boogie Down Productions | 1986

KRS-One would soon position himself as a teacher, but rather than the empowerment messages the rapper would become known for, this track is a gritty "dis record" aimed at a rival. According to KRS, one of his friends played some demos for Mr. Magic, and the noted radio DJ pronounced them wack. "We was like, 'What? Are you crazy? MC Shan is wack, not me.' And I went home and wrote 'South Bronx.'" The crew then went into the studio and cut the track in two hours for $50 because that was how much money they had.

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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.

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