Since the release of the song, some fans of Kanye have been asking about that “other guy” on the song. One of the most famous singers from one of the most famous bands of all time. But who IS he? Asking, hopefully joking, what the hell is a “Paul McCartney” anyway?!? And a whole lot of them spelled his surname “McCarthy”.
Many actual Kanye and Paul fans point out, though, a good number of these people ARE probably joking.
And it’s debatable what the significance of musical history is to some people who don’t have any reason to know or care about The Beatles and their hits or know anything about Paul’s career as a solo artist. In other words, it’s not culturally relevant for literally everyone to know who Paul is and so is the vitriol these people received worth it?
Kim Kardashian promoted the single on Instagram, writing “Everyone asks me what my favorite Kanye song is. It’s Only One. Kanye felt like his mom was singing thru him to our daughter. This song makes me cry every time I hear it. He releases it at midnight tonight on iTunes. Only One by Kanye West Featuring Paul McCartney.”
The pair released a statement about their single. Talking about how they ended up working together on the song that’s about North West and Kanye’s late mother, Donda.
In early 2014, Paul McCartney and Kanye West first began working together in a small bungalow in Los Angeles.
The process that would result in “Only One” began with a simple brainstorming session between the two: With McCartney improvising on the keyboards and Kanye vocally sketching and shaping ideas in a stream-of-consciousness riff.
When they played back the recording afterward, something remarkable happened. 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.
“My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter,” he said, astonished. The small group in the room kept listening: “Hello my Only One…just like the morning sun…you’ll keep on rising till the sky knows your name.” To some, Kanye’s insight didn’t immediately register. But then he explained: The name Kanye, which his mother had chosen, means “only one.”
And then it dawned on everyone there: Something powerful and undeniable had occurred through the power of music and of letting go. A message had been passed down through generations. [via a press release]
Here are the lyrics to Only One, released on iTunes in the New Year.