Kanye West Pays Tribute to North West and His Mother in "Only One" Song That Makes Kim Kardashian Cry

The ballad, which features Sir Paul McCartney, was released on Dec. 31, 2014, New Year's Eve

By Corinne Heller Jan 01, 2015 7:47 PMTags
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Kanye West is starting off 2015 on a sweet and solemn note.

The 37-year-old hip-hop star pays tribute to his and wife Kim Kardashian's 1-year-old daughter North West and his late mother, Donda West, with a ballad titled "Only One," a collaboration with Sir Paul McCartney.

The single was released on iTunes on Wednesday night, New Year's Eve, and its lyrics were penned with the perspective of Kanye's mom, who died at age 58 in 2007 after undergoing plastic surgery.

Sample lyrics include "Hello my only one / Just like the morning sun / You'll keep on rising till the sky knows your name / And you're still my chosen one / Remember who you are / No, You're not perfect but you're not your mistakes" and "Tell Nori about me / Tell Nori about me / I just want you to do me a favor / Tell Nori about me."

"People always ask me what my favorite Kanye song is and it's 'Only One,'" Kim, 34, said on her Twitter page, adding, "I cry every time I hear this song."

In August, Kim had shared a sweet pic of her husband and their daughter in a recording studio. Kanye's new single is set to be featured in a future solo album by Kanye, whose most recent major record release was the 2013 album Yeezus.

According to a statement released by record company Def Jam, he and McCartney began working together in a small bungalow in Los Angeles, with the former Beatles musician improvising on the keyboards and the hip-hop star "vocally sketching and shaping ideas in a stream-of-consciousness riff."

"When they played back the recording afterward, something remarkable happened," the statement said. "Kanye sat there with his family, holding his daughter North on his lap, and listened to his vocals, singing, 'Hello, my only one...' And in that moment, not only could he not recall having sung those words, but he realized that perhaps the words had never really come from him."

Kanye "understood in that moment that his late mother, Dr. Donda West, who was also his mentor, confidante, and best friend, had spoken through him that day," the statement added, quoting him as saying, "My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter."

The statement also added that Kanye's name, which Donda had chosen, means "only one." 

"And then it dawned on everyone there: Something powerful and undeniable had occurred through the power of music and of letting go. A message had been passed down through generations," the statement continued. "And so it is that there was only one song that could be released first from this groundbreaking collaboration: 'Only One,' an anthem of positive reflection, hopefulness and joyous celebration to usher in a New Year."