A lot of famous folks don’t seem too pleased with Kanye West recently. Trent Reznor has had some words for him — twice — and now Damon Albarn has expressed his disapproval of the rapper’s process. Specifically, the Gorillaz and Blur frontman characterized Kanye’s collaborative relationship with former Beatle Paul McCartney as “abusive.”
Speaking with French publication L’obs (via Stereogum), Albarn was asked about sampling, in particular regarding Kanye’s use of samples on Pusha-T’s DAYTONA. With a shrug, he responded (translated from French), “I do not sample, I create music. Do not get me started on Kanye West… Kanye West trapped Paul McCartney.”
And of course, he then got started on Kanye West. Digging into what he meant by Kanye trapping McCartney, Albarn referred to their collaborative track with Rihanna, “FourFiveSeconds”. Just like “All Day” and “Only One”, McCartney’s contributions to “FourFiveSeconds” aren’t exactly at the forefront of the track. “It’s rude,” Albarn said. “I have a problem with this abusive collaboration: We’re talking about Paul McCartney, anyway! Kanye West thinks only of Kanye West, using a name to make headlines, saying, ‘McCartney is in my song.’ In addition, he puts McCartney in the video of the song, but not in the song itself.”
McCartney himself recently reflected on working on “FourFiveSeconds”, saying he didn’t even realize he was writing a song as Kanye sat in the studio looking at pictures of Kim Kardashian. “I’m thinking, ‘Are we ever gonna get around to writing?!’ But it turns out he was writing. That’s his muse,” McCartney said. “He was listening to this riff I was doing and obviously he knew in his mind that he could use that, so he took it, sped it up and then somehow he got Rihanna to sing on it.” McCartney was also surprised he shared a writing credit with Kendrick Lamar on “All Day” and didn’t realize Dirty Projectors had been involved in “FourFiveSeconds” until just recently.
“Before he decided to work with Kanye West, I sent a text message to McCartney saying, ‘beware,’ but he ignored it,” Albarn continued. “He does what he wants, it’s Paul McCartney.” If his opinion wasn’t already clear, the British rocker had one final note about Kanye: “Kanye West is one of those people who feed on other people.”
Again, this was all translated from English to French and back again, so the syntax may be a bit off, but the connotation is pretty obvious. Let’s not expect Kanye to show up on a Gorillaz track any time soon.