Why I Love You (Jay-Z and Kanye West song)
|"Why I Love You"|
|Single by Kanye West and Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson|
|from the album Watch the Throne|
|Released||September 13, 2011|
|Jay-Z singles chronology|
|Kanye West singles chronology|
|Mr Hudson singles chronology|
"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 the US. The song became a top 40 single on the UK R'n'B chart, in Iceland and in Belgium. The song has since been certified Gold for sales exceeding 500,000. Kanye and Jay performed the song at all the stops on their 2011 Watch the Throne Tour.
Kanye West and Jay-Z are both American rappers who have collaborated on several tracks together. In 2010, they began production and recording on a collaborative record Watch the Throne. The track features Mr. Hudson, who is signed to West's GOOD Music label singing an interpolation of Cassius track "I <3 U So". Mike Dean and West handled the production of the song. 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. The track was performed by West and Jay on their Watch the Throne tour. It was released as a single in the United Kingdom on November 28, 2011.
A 19 second sample of "Why I Love You" which features Kanye West and Jay-Z's trading verses during the ending of the song.
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The track contains a "sledgehammer beat" which is "built around French house duo Cassius' 2010 single "I <3 U So". 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." "Slashing violin parts" come in on the bridge before the song ends abruptly.
Lyrically the song is about "Jay's dismay at past crewmates' betrayals." 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. 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. The track makes the "trendentious point that being Sean Carter or Kanye West can have its downsides."
"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." Rob Harvilla of Spin commented that "Why I Love You" closes out the album proper with a monster Cassius-lifted chorus." 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." 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." 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."
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. In South Korea, the track charted at position 94. The song became a top 40 single in both Iceland and Belgium. It also charted in France at number 56, and in Switzerland at 52.
|Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)||14|
|Swiss Music Charts||52|
|South Korean Gaon Chart||94|
|UK R&B Chart||24|
|UK Singles (UK Singles Charts)||87|
Credits and personnel
- Produced by Mike Dean and Kanye West
- Co-produced by Anthony Kilhoffer
- Recorded by Noah Goldstein (assisted by Matt Arnold) at Real World Studios and Barford Estate, Sydney
- Mixed by Anthony Kilhoffer and Mike Dean at (The Mercer) Hotel
- Cello: Chris "Hitchcock" Chorney
- Cello arrangement: Mike Dean
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