Kanye West’s third solo single of his career, “Jesus Walks” helped launch a career. West’s co-writer on the College Dropout song, a fellow Chicago, Illinois native Rhymefest, would take the 2004 fanfare, including a Grammy Award, and sign a major label deal with J Records and Mark Ronson’s Allido Records.
The pair has collaborated sporadically since, notably on ‘Fest’s own breakthrough 2005 single “Brand New,” but not much in the last five years. Pitchfork has pointed out that Rhymefest, who has since run for alderman in his hometown, is a credited writer within the full liner notes, available exclusively online, to West’s sixth album,Yeezus, released yesterday (June 18). West is listed, as is government name, Che Smith.
In 2010, Rhymefest released his sophomore album, and first since leaving J Records, El Che. While Kanye did not work on the album, one of the producers signed to West’s production company, S1 (of Strange Fruit Project), produced four of the LP’s 16 songs.
That same year, S1 explained to HipHopDX how Rhymefest introduced him to Kanye West: “One day Rhymefest told me to send him a few beats over and he will try to play a few for Kanye [West]. Originally, I wasn’t going to put that “Power” beat in the beat batch because I used similar drums as Kanye did on “Crack Music.” So I was [thinking] he’s definitely not gonna pick this one however I sent the beat anyway. Then a couple weeks later I received a text from ‘Fest saying, “Kanye is loving your stuff, He said he’s about to change your life.” Two days later I was on a flight to Hawaii to meet Mr. West. The rest is pretty much history.”
The sticker to the retail version of Yeezus only includes album samples and interpolations. Those include Gang Starr’s “Chief Rocka” and “Memories” by Beenie Man.
RELATED: Rhymefest Says Lyrical Rappers Can Have Money Too [2010 INTERVIEW]