Why I Love You (Jay-Z and Kanye West song)

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"Why I Love You"
Single by Jay-Z and Kanye West featuring Mr Hudson
from the album Watch the Throne
Released September 13, 2011
Recorded 2011
Genre Hip hop
Length 3:21
Label Roc-A-Fella, Roc Nation, Def Jam
Writer(s) Kanye West, Mike Dean, Shawn Corey Carter, Philippe Cerboneschi, Hubert Blanc-Francard, Tony Camillo, Mary Sawyer
Producer(s) Kanye West, Mike Dean, Anthony Kilhoffer
Jay-Z singles chronology
"Niggas in Paris"
(2011)
"Why I Love You"
(2011)
"Gotta Have It"
(2011)
Kanye West singles chronology
"Niggas in Paris"
(2011)
"Why I Love You"
(2011)
"Gotta Have It"
(2011)
Mr Hudson singles chronology
"Love Never Dies (Back for the First Time)"
(2010)
"Why I Love You"
(2011)
"Charge"
(2012)

"Why I Love You" is a song by American hip hop artists Kanye West and Jay-Z, from their first collaborative album Watch the Throne (2011). The song features pop musician Mr Hudson who is signed to West's GOOD Music label. "Why I Love You" heavily samples French house duo Cassius' 2010 single "I <3 U So", which itself is based upon a sample from the original 1971 version of "I Feel a Song (In My Heart)" by Sandra Richardson. The song almost entirely features Jay-Z rapping and only contains a few lines provided by West. Lyrically, the song is about the people who have stood in the way of Jay-Z throughout the year and expresses themes of victory and anger. The song received positive reviews from critics who generally praised the production.

The song was released as the fifth single from Watch the Throne on September 13, 2011. However the song was only released outside of the US. The song became a top 40 single in the UK, in Iceland and in Belgium. The song has since been certified Gold for sales exceeding 500,000. Jay and West performed the song at all the stops on their 2011 Watch the Throne Tour.

Background[edit]

Jay-Z and Kanye West are both American rappers who have collaborated on several tracks together.[1] In 2010, they began production and recording on a collaborative record Watch the Throne.[1] The track features Mr Hudson, who is signed to West's GOOD Music label singing an interpolation of Cassius track "I <3 U So".[2][3] Mike Dean and West handled the production of the song.[4] The artwork for "Why I Love You" features the French flag with a black third substituted for blue and is exactly the same cover used for Kanye West and Jay-Z's song "Niggas in Paris", which was sent to rhythmic radio simultaneously with "Why I Love You" on September 13, 2011.[5] The track was performed by West and Jay on their Watch the Throne tour.[6] It was released as a single in the United Kingdom on November 28, 2011.[7]

Composition[edit]

A 19 second sample of "Why I Love You" which features Jay-Z and Kanye West's trading verses during the ending of the song.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The track contains a "sledgehammer beat" which is "built around French house duo Cassius' 2010 single "I <3 U So".[4] West, who co-produced the track, "continues in the sonic vein he introduced in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, lacing the songs with rock dynamics, layering his beats with eerie vocal chorales, piling on proggy flourishes."[8] "Slashing violin parts" come in on the bridge before the song ends abruptly.[4]

Lyrically the song is about "Jay's dismay at past crewmates' betrayals."[9] The track features lines such as "Caesar didn't see it, so he ceased to exist / So the nigga that killed him had keys to his shit" which have been interpreted as insults towards artists such as Dame Dash, Beanie Sigel and Wiz Khalifa.[10][11] The song "revisits" the split-up of Roc-A-Fella Records and has Jay-Z lamenting betrayal and how his past protégés failed to maintain without him.[12] The track makes the "trendentious point that being Sean Carter or Kanye West can have its downsides."[3]

Personnel[edit]

Reception[edit]

"Why I Love You" received mostly positive reviews from music critics. AbsolutePunk's Ian Walker described the track as an "album spotlight", and stated that it's "carried by a dramatic, driving chorus from famed R&B artist Mr Hudson and, while featuring one of Jay's weakest verses on the entire album, showcases a surprisingly strong back-and-forth from the two headlining artists towards the end."[13] Rob Harvilla of Spin commented that "Why I Love You" closes out the album proper with a monster Cassius-lifted chorus."[11] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian stated that the song is "pure pop aggrandisement", musing that "this rather enjoyable piece of maximalism feels quite at home on an album writ so large, both in sound and verse, that a planetarium was deemed the only fitting venue for its first playback."[3] Craig Jenkins of Prefix wrote that "Mike Dean's titanic, Cassius-sampling "Why I Love You" slowly peels layers off its stuffy largess to reveal the gorgeous string accompaniment underfoot. Kanye and his team are still trafficking in proggy, kitchen-sink experimentation, and Kanye's transformation into rap's own ELO is nearly complete."[14] Entertainment Weekly '​s Kyle Anderson was less enthusiastic about the track, writing that "Everything falls apart on the album-closing "Why I Love You," which cranks up West's love of prog-rock bombast so much that it sounds like guest crooner Mr Hudson is trying to sing the hook over a poorly recorded bootleg of a Muse concert."[15]

Charts performance[edit]

Due to the hype around Watch the Throne worldwide, "Why I Love You" debuted on various charts globally on the week of the album's release. In the UK the song reached a peak of 87, and 27 on their R&B chart.[16][17] In South Korea, the track charted at position 94.[18] The song became a top 40 single in both Iceland and Belgium.[19][20] It also charted in France at number 56, and in Switzerland at 52.[21][22]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[20] 14
France (SNEP)[21] 56
Iceland (Lagalistinn)[19] 26
Swiss Music Charts[22] 52
South Korean Gaon Chart[18] 94
UK R&B Chart[16] 24
UK Singles (UK Singles Charts)[17] 87

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dombal, Ryan (2010-10-25). "Kanye West and Jay-Z Planning Joint Album". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2010-10-26. 
  2. ^ Published Monday, 12 Oct 2009, 06:24 BST (12 October 2009). "Mr Hudson – Music Interview". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Petridis, Alexis (August 11, 2011). "Jay-Z & Kanye West: Watch the Throne - review". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  4. ^ a b c Vozick-Levinson, Simon (July 8, 2011). "Jay-Z Previews 'Watch the Throne' in New York". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 2011-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Jay-Z & Kanye West Reveal Cover Art For Single "Why I Love You"". Hip Hop DX. 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  6. ^ Bretbaf (May 21, 2012). "Kanye West & Jay-Z Concert Setlist at the O2 Arena, London, UK on May 21, 2012". the Independent. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ "New Releases 28-11-11". Official Charts Company. November 28, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ Rosen, Jody (August 11, 2011). "Watch the Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  9. ^ Breihan, Tom (August 11, 2011). "Album Reviews: Jay-Z / Kanye West: Watch the Throne". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  10. ^ Amidon, David (August 12, 2011). "Jay-Z & Kanye West: Watch the Throne". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  11. ^ a b Harvilla, Rob (August 10, 2011). "Jay-Z and Kanye West, 'Watch the Throne' (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam/Roc Nation)". Spin. Spin Media. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  12. ^ Gissen, Jesse (August 8, 2011). "Jay-Z & Kanye West Miraculously Manage to Keep Watch the Throne Leak-Free". XXL. Harris Publications. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  13. ^ Holly HoX!. Walker, Ian Kanye West Jay-Z - Watch the Throne - Album Review. AbsolutePunk. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  14. ^ Jenkins, Craig (2011-04-16). "Jay-Z Kanye West Watch the Throne". Prefix. Retrieved 2011-05-05. 
  15. ^ Anderson, Kyle (August 9, 2011). "Kanye West and Jay-Z's 'Watch the Throne': Read the EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  16. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Jay-z & Kanye West - Why I Love You ft Mr Hudson". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Archive Chart". UK R&B Chart. Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Week: August 13, 2011 to August 20, 2011)". Gaon Chart. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "Iceland Official Top 30 airplay chart - Lagalistinn". tonlist.is. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Jay-Z / Kanye West feat. Mr Hudson – Why I Love You (in French).". Ultratop. ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved August 20, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Jay-Z / Kanye West feat. Mr Hudson – Why I Love You" (in French)". Les classement single. Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Jay-Z / Kanye West feat. Mr Hudson – Why I Love You". Swiss Singles Chart. Hung Medien. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 

External links[edit]