Paul McCartney Describes What It Was Really Like to Record With Kanye

He had no idea what to expect.

Few people know the real world of Kanye West—least of all Kanye West himself. His behavior, his motives, and the inner workings of his life are a mystery, left to be pieced together through his art, tabloids, and his erratic public persona and social media identity. The people who have been brought inside his bubble of superstar celebrity are typically those he collaborates with artistically, and those people are usually confined to the hip-hop, pop, and fashion spheres.

But a few years ago, a very unlikely person infiltrated the world of Kanye West: Paul McCartney. It seemed like a weird combination—one that even McCartney wasn't sure about after he agreed to the collaboration.

"I got a phone call and my manager said, 'Kanye West would like to work with you.' And I go, 'Yeah, we'll do it.' I was a little bit nervous at first, because I thought it could go horribly wrong. But I was intrigued to see what he was up to and how he did it," McCartney said in a new Facebook Live interview.

And even though West is known to be a dramatic, detail-obsessed artist, the recording process actually sounds pretty chill.

"It was a very intriguing process," McCartney said. "You basically don't write songs. You basically just talk and noodle a bit and you record it all on your phone. And then he goes away. And that's basically his record. But it was great doing it because I don't work like that."


In fact, he even compared it to working with the Beatles.

"So I was waiting three months after we'd finished. I didn't really hear anything but 'Hey, bro, what's going on?' But I'm thinking, should I say, 'Did we write a song? Will a record come out of this?' Anyway, this arrives and it's a Rihanna song… I said, 'This is great! I have to ring up and say, 'Am I on this?' And he goes, 'Oh, yeah. You're the guitar player.' I go, 'I don't remember.' And he said, 'We sped it up.' So they manipulated this kind of…although, we're talking about Sgt. Pepper, we loved manipulating. So I think we would have been into a lot of these tricks nowadays because we did speed things up a little bit."

Yeah, that Rihanna song turned out to be the incredible acoustic number "FourFiveSeconds" on which McCartney accompanies on guitar. It's a song that McCartney likes so much that he's incorporated it into his own solo show.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for
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