You had to know this was coming. Just in time to ring in the new year, Kanye West drops a new song: a gentle AutoTuned ballad called “Only One.” Paul McCartney is apparently on here, too, presumably on the organ that plays after Kanye implores, “Tell Nori about me.” It’s nothing like Yeezus — naturally — but it’s a beauty. Listen.
UPDATE: A press release touts “Only One” as “the first publicly available recording from what has become a prolific musical collaboration between these two legendary artists.” Apparently Kanye and Sir Paul started recording together early last year in a Los Angeles bungalow with McCartney improvising on keyboard and West improvising on vocals. That seems to confirm rumors we previously reported about the two icons working on a number of songs for a collaborative project; the tender “Only One” is a far cry from what the rumored “Piss On Your Grave” must sound like. It’s unclear whether this will be a Kanye/Macca Watch The Throne type deal or if McCartney is just heavily involved on Kanye’s long-promised Yeezus follow-up. The press release also explains what many Stereogum commenters have already inferred: The lyrics here are supposed to be Kanye’s mother Donda singing to him from the afterlife: “My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter.”
UPDATE 2: Ty Dolla $ign revealed on Instagram that he contributes background vocals to “Only One.” He also tells Billboard he recorded roughly nine songs with West, and another one of them (also featuring McCartney as well as Rihanna) is about to drop:
What was the recording process like?
[In] like 24 hours, [we recorded] seven songs or nine songs that day. I was like, ‘I’m here with Kanye, I’m not gonna waste my time.’ They really wanted me to stay for like a week, but I only had like two days, ’cause I was about to start the [Under the Influence of Music] tour.
He was open to my input, like, ‘do whatever you want to do. Here’s your mic. Do you need anything?’ I’m like ‘Awesome! Let’s get it!’
[We were] in Mexico, at this big house. The back of the house had no walls and no doors; it was just open [and facing] the ocean. You would think he would want the mic enclosed and all that but we just had the doors open, and it came out perfect. That inspired me to record like that at the crib.
Everybody [on his team] is into all the dope shit that’s out and they said that my [Beach House] project was one of them.
What can you tell me about the other songs you worked on with ‘Ye?
Me, Rihanna, ‘Ye and Paul [McCartney] got a song about to drop as well…
It’s featured on ‘Ye’s album?
Yeah. It’s gonna drop soon. I heard they shot the video recently. I don’t know what the final title is, but I know it’s crazy so just be looking out for [it].