Skip to main content

Kanye West and Paul McCartney are making music together — here's the first single

Kanye West and Paul McCartney are making music together — here's the first single

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kanye West and Paul McCartney are officially collaborating. Today, the hip-hop star released a track called "Only One" that features McCartney on keys. It's a fairly straightforward, sparse ballad with a thick dose of Auto-Tune applied to West's vocals. It's more 808s and Heartbreak than Yeezus, but that's fine by us. The song can be streamed for free at Kanye's website.

"Only One" is also available on iTunes right now, and we get the impression you'll be hearing more from the West / McCartney duo. A press release describes today's single as "the first publicly available recording from what has become a prolific musical collaboration between these two legendary artists." The pair came together in Los Angeles last year for "a simple brainstorming session" that saw the legendary Beatles singer "improvising on the keyboards and Kanye vocally sketching and shaping ideas in a stream-of-consciousness riff."

The song's lyrics are written from the perspective of West's mother, Dr. Donda West. And apparently "Only One" already ranks as a new favorite Kanye track for Kim Kardashian, West's wife. As the statement puts it:

Kanye sat there with his family, holding his daughter North on his lap, and listened to his vocals, singing, 'Hello, my only one..." And in that moment, not only could he not recall having sung those words, but he realized that perhaps the words had never really come from him. The process of artistic creation is one that does not involve thinking, but often channeling. And he understood in that moment that his late mother, Dr. Donda West, who was also his mentor, confidante, and best friend, had spoken through him that day.

There's no word on exactly how much material Paul McCartney and Kanye West have recorded together. But based on this sample, we're all for hearing more — and hopefully soon. Throughout his storied career, McCartney has often collaborated with pop's biggest figures. Today it's Kanye West; during the 1980s, it was the King of Pop.