7. Gold Digger
Release Date: July 5, 2005
Album: Late Registration
Writer(s): Kanye West, Ray Charles, Renald Richard
Producer(s): West, Jon Brion
“18 years, 18 years
She got one of your kids, got you for 18 years
I know somebody paying child support for one of his kids
His baby momma’s car and crib is bigger than his”
The strange thing about “Gold Digger” is that Kanye didn’t even make it for himself. He made it for fellow Chicago rapper Shawnna’s debut album, but she ultimately rejected it.
Recognizing that it was too good to just throw away, Kanye re-worked it and added some of his own flavor. Part of his rap — specifically the “18 years” verse — was taken directly from some spoken word he performed on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, while the bulk of the remainder was a freestyle he had been working on since touring for his first album.
The result was the biggest hit to come out of his sophomore album, Late Registration. Despite dealing with some fairly heavy topics — cuckoldry should never be taken lightly — it manages to be a fun and breezy song in keeping with the rest of Kanye’s early tone.
Next: 6. Blood on the Leaves