Kanye West “Heartless” (2008)
Album: 808s & Heartbreak
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
No I.D.: “Heartless” was actually for Blueprint 3. I remember when we got to that record, Kanye heard it and said ‘Nope, I’m keeping this one for myself.’ And I was like, ‘Come on man, you’re not even working on an album.’ And he said ‘Now I am.’ [Laughs.] Jay was sitting there waiting on beats for the album, and here we go embarking on a whole other album. Then you’ve gotta do a tour and everything.
Kanye heard it and said, ‘Nope I’m keeping this one for myself.’ And I was like, ‘Come on man, you’re not even working on an album.’ And he said ‘Now I am.’ [Laughs.]
“That’s why Timbaland did so many things on Blueprint 3 because we kept a lot of those beats for 808s. But I knew “Heartless” was going to be a big record. It was actually between this and “Love Lockdown” for what he was gonna play on the VMAs—those were the only two songs he had done at the time. And that’s when he premiered that whole 808s look. That’s probably the biggest song of my career or any song I’ve been a part of.
“Jay wasn’t mad that Ye got it, because that’s par for the course. You know, he just kinda looked at me like ‘Yo, where are some more of them beats?’”