A Collaboration of Generations

Illustration by Chelsea Madamba


I have no regret in admitting that Kanye is one of my favorite rappers. Granted he is also one of my least favorite people in the world. The guy knows how to make hit records and he definitely isn’t afraid to experiment with new sounds. He showed us that with Yeezus, which was met with mixed reviews.

It was definitely an experimental period in Kanye’s career, as he rapped over primarily unconventional beats composed heavily with synthesizers and electronic drum machines, among other sounds.

2014 unfortunately saw no new music from West, as I’m sure he was busy with Kim breaking the Internet and changing North’s Gucci diapers. However, he gave his fans a long-awaited treat, as he rang in the New Year by releasing a new collaborative song with Paul McCartney entitled Only One.

Initially I thought it was a typo or the work of a troll. When I first saw the song appear on SoundCloud circa 3 am on New Years Day, I was half expecting to be Rick Rolled.

Instead I was greeted with a soft lullaby in which Kanye voices the spirit of his late mother Donda, who passed away in 2007 after complications of plastic surgery and heart disease.

The song, which is primarily addressed to his daughter North, whom he affectionately refers to as Nori, is full of Kanye/Donda singing various lines of positivity. McCartney lays down a bubbly melody by way of the keyboard, which accompanies lyrics such as, “No you’re not perfect but you’re not your mistakes and the good outweighs the bad even on your worst days”. This is all done with the help of some subtle auto tune that would make T-pain proud.

Only One is the first collaboration of two between Yeezy and Sir Paul. The two linked up back in September in the studio together and I’m personally surprised to have not known about it prior to the New Years Day release.

The Beatles are and will always be the most famous band in the world. Paul McCartney was one of four geniuses that not only transformed rock music, but paved the way for pop as well. The Beatles weren’t afraid to experiment with new styles and sounds and for that they will always be respected, as they did so with excellence.

You can ask 10 different die hard fans what their favorite song is from The Beatles and you might get 10 different answers. Then if you decided to listen to those 10 different songs, you’d experience a changing range of sound and emotions. I myself don’t even feel qualified to analyze their music because I know that I haven’t given it enough listening (I know, I know, shame on me).

In terms of Kanye and Paul’s collaboration, it can be summed up as iconic as the two artists crossed genre’s in a way that most wouldn’t dare.

However, there aren’t enough sighs or face-palms in the world to adequately relay the tragedy that happened once the Twittersphere caught wind of the release. Several of Kanye West’s fans thanked their overlord for “discovering a new act” and “shining light on unknown artists”. Never on this earth, in this universe, did I think I would see the day that a generation would not know who Paul McCartney was. The guy was knighted for heaven’s sake. I didn’t even know that stuff happened outside of King Arthur’s round table. Does he get a set or armor? Has Paul McCartney slain a dragon? Did he save a princess from a dark mage? All of these questions remain unanswered. But, I’ll tell you what, his music alone deserves knighting.

It turns out that most of the omniscient (sarcasm heavily implied) tweeters were just trying to be funny, but I can’t help but still think that some of them were serious and they will take this embarrassing absurdity to the grave.

If, as West has suggested, Only One is a preview of a larger collaboration between these two, bring it on. I’m getting shivers typing this, just imagining Yeezy firing off a few bars over Paul McCartney’s golden touch.


 You can listen to Only One, here, on Kanye's website.

Carl Pietrusinski Comment