The Paul McCartney Project

Kanye West

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You met Kanye West at British  GQ’s Men Of The Year in 2007. What did you talk about?

I imagine I would just have said I loved what you do. With Kanye, I’m always so excited that he knows who I am and he’s come up. I’m a fan of his. I met him and ‘Jay Zed’, as we call him, at the Met Ball that Stella was being honoured at. I never know what to say. They were just saying ‘Hey man, you’re really a Knight!’ Their perspective on that, as Americans, as ex-Project guys – for them a knight is like Sir Lancelot. It’s always funny as I’m just Paul, one of the guys.

Paul McCartney, from an interview with GQ Magazine, November 2012

Kanye West on writing with Paul McCartney, from Vulture:

“I like the differences of views in our approach to music. I come in and I have all these lists of complaints, and he says, ‘Yo man, it’s all cool though. How ’bout we make a song.’ And we just make song after song after song. People think that our first two singles don’t have drums, but both of those are percussive instruments … I liked songs like that [‘FourFiveSeconds’] when I was growing up. The type of chord changes that Paul does, I don’t even understand them. And to be able to be involved with that and writing a song like that, it’s just like way next level. Meeting Paul McCartney is like meeting Ralph Lauren … And the whole cadence [of ‘FourFiveSeconds’] was trap. As soon as Paul starts playing, I start singing in trap. Fusion is the future. Period.”

Paul McCartney on writing with Kanye West, from, May 1, 2015:

The Hey Jude singer spent two afternoons penning tracks with the All Day rapper and the pair adopted a similar process to that which the 72-year-old musician used when crafting songs with his late Beatles bandmate.

He said: “When I wrote with John, he would sit down with a guitar. I would sit down. We’d ping-pong till we had a song. It was like that.

Paul was initially reluctant to work with the “controversial” star so made Kanye agree that their efforts would be scrapped if he wasn’t entirely happy with them.

He told The Sun newspaper: “My first thought was, ‘Woah, what am I going to get into here? He is amazingly talented but controversial and can make eccentric moves. I realised if it didn’t work out we’d just say so and shake hands and leave.

The two men got on well as they exchanged a number of stories, and one of Paul’s memories sparked a song, Only One, in Kanye.

He explained: “We sat around and talked an awful lot just to break the ice. One of the stories I told him was about how I happened to have written ‘Let It Be’. My mum came to me in a dream when she’d died years previously. I was in a bit of a state — it was the Sixties and I was overdoing it. In the dream she said, ‘Don’t worry it’s all going to be fine, just let it be.’ And I woke up and thought, ‘Woah’ and wrote the song. I told Kanye this and he said, ‘I’m going to write a song with my mum.’ So then I sat down at the piano.

Paul McCartney, from BBC News, March 23, 2017:

[…] Now with Kanye, I had no idea what was going to happen because I knew it wasn’t going to be two acoustic guitars opposite each other. So I thought, ‘Well, here goes nothing’.

The one provision I said to everyone, I said, ‘Look, if I feel this doesn’t work out, then we just won’t tell anyone. Kanye who? I didn’t work with him!’

I just was myself and I told Kanye various stories that had inspired me musically. One of them was how the song Let It Be arrived, which was through a dream I’d had in which I’d seen my mother, who had died 10 years previously.

But I was so inspired by that that I wrote the song. I told Kanye that, because he’d lost his mother. So then he wrote a song called Only One when I was just noodling around on the electronic piano. So he got the melody, I put the chords in and the style and that’s how it happened.


Last updated on November 11, 2020

Songs written or co-written by Kanye West

All Day

Officially appears on All Day


Officially appears on FourFiveSeconds

Only One

Officially appears on Only One

Albums, EPs & Singles by Kanye West

All Day

By Kanye West • Single

Only One

By Kanye West • Single

Albums, EPs & Singles which Kanye West contributed to

Only One

By Kanye West • Single

Contribution: Vocals • 1 songs

Concerts, TV & Radio shows

57th Annual GRAMMY Awards

Feb 08, 2015 • USA • Los Angeles • Staples Center • TV show


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