Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Late RegistrationReleased: 2005Charted:
This song is about Roc-A-Fella records, which is West's label. The chorus, "Throw your diamonds in the sky" refers to the Roc-A-Fella hand signal, which is the shape of a diamond. West makes it clear, however, that real diamonds are a different story, as many of them are mined using child slave labor in African nations like Sierra Leone. His aim was to show that the profits from these illicit "blood diamonds" bankroll civil wars in these African nations.
This is based on the song "Diamonds Are Forever
" by Shirley Bassey. Written by John Barry and Don Black, "Diamonds Are Forever" is the theme to the James Bond movie of the same name released in 1971.
This won the 2006 Grammy for Best Rap Song. Late Registration
also won for Best Rap Album, beating out Common's Be
, which West also worked on.
Movie director Michel Gondry played live drums on this song. The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind
filmmaker happened to be in the studio on a day when producer Jon Brion was setting up a drum kit. Gondry also directed the live-action video for another Late Registration
track, "Heard 'Em Say
West traveled to Prague to shoot the music video with his go-to director: Hype Williams. "I'm really into architecture and art, period," West told MTV News of filming in the Czech Republic capital. "You get the sculptures, the cathedrals, the stone floors. It gives you a timeless feel, and we're gonna shoot it in black and white. That look represented the music in 'Diamonds.'"
The clip shows scenes of wealthy Europeans shopping for jewelry while African children labor in mines to provide them with diamonds. It closes with the message, "Please purchase conflict-free diamonds."