Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Producer: Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Admit it. When you first saw the lineup for Kanye’s “All of the Lights,” you found it rather daunting. Rihanna! Elton John! Fergie! Kid Cudi! Alicia Keys! How is this going to work? Is this even a good idea? Well, in typical Yeezy fashion, he pulled it off—and in a major way. Sure the track was crowded, but Ye took the bloated lineup and seamlessly integrated each feature, pulling bits and pieces from their contributions and weaving them in and out where he saw fit.
The frantic and dramatic track was the perfect backdrop for Yeezy to wax poetic about the various lights one might encounter in life: cop lights, flashlights, spotlights, strobe lights, street lights—you know, all of the lights. He also touched on the fallen King of Pop (“MJ gone—our nigga dead”), and the hardships of raising a child in a divided household (“Public visitation/We met at Borders”). Food for thought from Yeezy’s Ghetto University.
The song was an instant smash, selling over 1.5 million digital copies, and reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “All of the Lights” even snagged Grammys for Kanye’s longtime associates Really Doe and Malik Yusef, who assisted with crafting the hit.