Damon Albarn has spoken about the time he warned Paul McCartney not to work with Kanye West.
The Blur and Gorillaz creative went further in his damning review of Kanye’s working process by claiming McCartney was trapped in the collaborative project with the rapper.
The much debated and somewhat controversial project at the heart of this conversation dates back to 2015 single ‘FourFiveSeconds’ between the former Beatle, Kanye and Rihanna. While Macca’s inclusion came as a surprise to many, the interesting point came when people attempted to understand what he contributed to the song as his vocals could not be heard.
In a new interview with French publication L’obs, Albarn was asked about Kanye’s process of samples for his music to which Albarn responds abruptly: “I do not sample, I create music.” Delving deeper yet, Albarn added: “Do not get me started on Kanye West,” before bringing up McCartney: “Kanye West trapped Paul McCartney.”
The discussion turned directly to the removal of McCartney’s vocals from ‘FourFiveSeconds’ when Albarn stated: “It’s rude. I have a problem with this abusive collaboration: we’re talking about Paul McCartney, anyway! Kanye West thinks only of Kanye West, using a name to make headlines, saying ‘McCartney is in my song.’ In addition, he puts McCartney in the video of the song, but not in the song itself.”
“Kanye West is one of those people who feed on other people,” Albarn added before explaining how he tried to warn McCartney about Kanye: “Before he decided to work with Kanye West, I sent a text message to McCartney saying, ‘beware,’ but he ignored it.
“He does what he wants, it’s Paul McCartney.”
According to Macca himself, the experience of working with Kanye opened up a new style of working: “We ended up just talking a lot,” McCartney told DIY. “I played a few little things and one of them ended up as ‘FourFiveSeconds’ with Rihanna. It’s more a question of me feeling lucky that these people are interested [in working with me] and think that I can bring something to it. For me, I feel great. I like diversity.”
“We had a method in our early days of The Beatles and with Wings that I used all the way through for writing songs,” he said. “I would sit down with a guitar or at a piano and make it up and complete it. Then that’s it, you’ve done your song, and then you’re ready to roll and go in the studio.
“With [Kanye], it was much more made up as we went along – so much so that I didn’t even realise that I was making songs.
“We had two or three afternoons where we just hung out together in a Beverly Hills hotel in the bungalows out the back, and he had his engineer and was set up with a couple of microphones in case anything happened,” he continued. “I was tootling around on guitar, and Kanye spent a lot of time just looking at pictures of Kim [Kardashian] on his computer. I’m thinking, ‘are we ever gonna get around to writing?!’
“But it turns out he was writing. That’s his muse. He was listening to this riff I was doing and obviously he knew in his mind that he could use that, so he took it, sped it up and then somehow he got Rihanna to sing on it. She’s a big favourite of mine anyway, so that just came without me lifting a finger.”