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Song Stories

“Umbrella”

Rihanna feat. Jay-Z | 2007

The digital release of “Umbrella” had the biggest debut in the history of iTunes, but it was almost Britney Spears who got to sing this worldwide Number One song, “ella-ella-ella” hook and all. With Spears’ career spiraling out of control at the time, songwriter and co-producer The-Dream said, “We thought, 'Let's save our friend.' ” But Spears' management brushed them off, and then second choice Mary J. Blige also passed on it, much to the unabashed delight of the Bahamian singer born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. “I'm so thankful for it,” she said. “I prayed for this song.”

Find out what Rihanna says would have been her backup career choice.
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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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