10 Things You Didn't Know About Kanye West's 'Late Registration'

We dug up some details about Yeezy's sophomore album that may have escaped you.

Kanye West 'Late Registration'

Image via Def Jam

Kanye West 'Late Registration'

Today is the anniversary of Kanye West's Late Registration. On the album, Kanye expanded his production style beyond sped-up soul samples, teamed with producer Jon Brion to create sounds never before heard in hip-hop, and improved his dexterity as a rapper.

The record featured some of Kanye's best material to date, including hit singles "Diamonds" and "Gold Digger.” It also proved that Kanye's ambitions were grander than his oft mentioned ego. ‘Ye didn’t just avoid the sophomore slump, he hurdled to even greater heights. While it’s a multi-platinum album that you've definitely played countless time, we’re willing to bet there’s lots of things you don't know about the album. Read on and remember, it’s a celebration bitches!

M.I.A. was supposed to be on “Drive Slow”


The album put Kanye $600,000 in debt

Kanye West

“Gold Digger” was meant for Shawnna

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According to Patrick "Plain Pat" Reynolds, “Gold Digger” wasn’t meant to be a Kanye West song. It was originally created for Shawnna's 2004 debut album Worth Tha Weight. For whatever reason, she passed on the beat and Kanye rewrote the hook (which originally went “I ain’t saying I’m a gold digger/But I ain’t messing with no broke nigga”) from a female perspective to a male one. The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for 10 weeks. It remains Kanye’s biggest hit to date.

Movie director Michel Gondry played drums on “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”

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One of the reasons Kanye wanted to work with Jon Brion was because he was so impressed by Brion’s score to the film, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. (Apparently, so was Jay Electronica, who rapped over Brion’s score on “Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge).”) The film was directed by Michel Gondry, who ended up playing a role on the Kanye’s album, as well.

According to MTV, Gondry happened to be in the studio on a day when Brion was setting up a drum kit and he ended up playing live drums on “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.” Furthermore, Gondry would go on to direct one of the music videos for the album's single, “Heard 'Em Say.”

Kanye was competing with Common’s ‘Be’

kanye common r diamond

Rick Rubin hooked Kanye up with Jon Brion and Adam Levine

Rick Rubin

Kanye tried to make “Crack Music” without the n-word

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Kanye elaborated on his feelings about the word to Time, explaining, "Take the word nigga. I don't like the word, and I made an attempt to change it on this new song 'Crack Music.' I tried saying, ‘This is crack music, homey,' but it just didn't have the same impact." Game’s five-word cameo could have been so different.

Portishead was a huge influence on the album


Orchestra members laughed while making “Celebration”

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One of the album’s distinct characteristics has always been it’s use of live instrumentation and large orchestras. In fact, at one point, the album was delayed two weeks because Kanye and Brion had to wait to rent a harpsichord to play on one song. While recording “Celebration” with a 20 piece band, the musicians reportedly found it difficult to concentrate while Kanye spit his humorous lyrics about grabbing asses and having a "well-endowed" son.

Kanye mixed “Diamonds” 14 times

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According to Jay-Z, Kanye mixed “Diamonds” about 14 times before he was comfortable enough to release it. It might sound like he was being obsessive, but that's nothing compared to the early 80 mixes "Stronger" went through on the next album. When you're a perfectionist, the results don’t lie.

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