Kanye West hasn’t released a complete new track from the rapper since he dropped Yeezus back in 2013. Patient fans have now been rewarded with a New Year’s Day treat with the release of a brand-new track titled Only One, featuring an appearance from none other than Sir Paul McCartney.
It’s a bit of a tearjerker, too. Written from the perspective of West’s late mother, Donda West, the song’s lyrics read as a posthumous note from Donda to her son ‘Mari’ (Kanye’s middle name is Omari, FYI) about his satisfaction as a father and husband. With lyrics like “I know it’s not the end every time I see her face and I hear you say / Hello, my only one” and a refrain of “Tell Nori about me“, it’s hard not to get a little emotional.
The inspiration for the song is also being credited to Donda, who had spoken through him when first improvising the tune with McCartney. “My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter,” he said, according to a press release. “Kanye”, the name his mother had chosen for him, is said to mean “only one”.
The tune itself is a soft-edged, slow-burn ballad, closer in sound to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy than anything from Yeezus. There’s not a rap verse to be found, either. Though McCartney’s contribution is limited to backing West’s heavily autotuned vocals with some soulful keys, the prospect of the two working through a song in a studio somewhere is nothing short of mind-boggling.
Only One dates back to early 2014, when the pair first began working together in L.A. The track is being touted as “the first publicly available recording from what has become a prolific musical collaboration between these two legendary artists”, so it sounds like there’s more releases on the way.
Listen: Kanye West – Only One ft. Paul McCartney