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Paul McCartney Says He Wasn’t Sure About Working With Kanye West At First

“The only deal I made with Kanye was that if it doesn’t work, we won’t tell anyone.”

August 10, 2016

In 2014, Kanye West and Paul McCartney seemed, at the same time, an unlikely pair and a collaboration that absolutely needed to happen. The pair worked on a string of three releases - "Only One," "All Day," and "FourFiveSeconds" featuring Rihanna - that were released in 2014 and 2015. On Wednesday, McCartney spoke to Rolling Stone about the Kanye West collaboration and why he wasn't sure it would work.

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"The only deal I made with Kanye was that if it doesn't work, we won't tell anyone," McCartney told Rolling Stone. "I didn't know his system. I'd heard things like, 'He's got a room full of guys working on riffs, and he walks around going, 'I like that one.' It reminded me of Andy Warhol, these artists who use students to paint their backgrounds and things. It's a well-used technique. I thought, 'I don't know how I'm going to fit into that, but let's see. Here goes nothing.'"

McCartney explained that it wasn't until after he heard the final product of "All Day" that he understand how his contribution had fit into West's process. "Kanye was just collecting things," he said. "We weren't going to sit down and write a song so much as talk and spark ideas off each other. It was only when I got this song, the Rihanna record and 'Only One,' the three tracks we did, that I went, 'I get it. He's taken my little whistle-y thing.' It returned to me as an urban hip-hop riff. I love that record."

When asked if he listens to, or keeps up with, hip-hop generally, McCartney replied, "I listen to it for, you could call it, education. I hear a lot of it and go to concerts occasionally. I went to see Jay Z and Kanye when they toured. I've seen Drake live. It's the music of now."

Read Paul McCartney's full interview with Rolling Stone here.