16. Family Business
Release Date: February 10, 2004
Album: The College Dropout
Writer(s): Kanye West
“As kids we used to laugh
Who knew that life would move this fast?
Who knew I’d have to look at you through a glass?
And look, tell me you ain’t did it then you ain’t did it
And if you did, then that’s family business”
It’s a little known fact that “Family Business” isn’t actually about West’s own family. While he did write the song, he relied on anecdotes and details given to him by one of his backup singers, Tarrey Torae, during the production of The College Dropout.
She came from an especially large family and, as such, had all manner of juicy ideas that Kanye — an only child raised by his mother — simply lacked.
He would write the song from his own perspective, though all that stuff about granny and the cooking impaired aunt and Stevie were all culled from stories told to him by Torae.
It’s still a touching and well made song about the at-times conflicted drama of being part of an especially big family. Kanye raps it out with enough conviction and heart to really sell it.
Next: 15. Love Lockdown