This clattering track finds West responding with a refrain of "all day" to an assortment of questions. The Chicago MC told GQ he was thinking of his Watch The Throne partner Jay-Z when he penned this tune: "I think about certain lines that I say on my new single, which is called 'All Day,' that usually Jay would say, but Jay's not on there," he explained. "So I say, All day, nigga, it's Ye, nigga. Shopping for the winter, it's just May, nigga. Ball so hard, man, this s--t cray, nigga. You ain't getting money unless you got eight figures. Right? Jay would have said that."
"And then eventually I would have came in with, like, whatever I come in with," West added.
The song's featured guests are:
St. Paul, Minnesota rapper Allan Kingdom, who is both a solo artist and a member of the collective The Stand4rd.
Brooklyn, New York singer Theophilus London, whose Vibes album was executive produced by West.
West debuted the song at the 2015 BRIT Awards on February 25, 2015. He performed the tune surrounded by a huge group of other rappers, including Theophilus London and Allan Kingdom, as well as "Wolves
" guest Vic Mensa, and UK grime artists Skepta, Jammer, Novelist, Krept and Konan and Stormzy. Large segments were muted live on air due to West's repeated use of cuss words.
The song's co-producer Velous, who is signed to French Montana's Coke Boys imprint started putting the track together in the summer of 2014. "I made that beat on my boy's couch while I was watching Saturday Night Live,'" he recalled to MTV News. "I worked on that and I had the main part of it, I already had the skeleton of it [and] it was for my big bro French Montana."
Although Velous envisioned his demo ending up one of his label boss' records, West picked this out of 80 beats that French brought over for him to listen to. "I guess Kanye was rocking with it, so he gave it to Kanye and they added some more," said the Kingston, New York producer. "Kanye went in, French added some stuff to it and I co-produced it with my big bro."
West decided to use footage from his performance at the 2015 BRIT Awards for the song's official video. His reasoning for opting to go with the live performance music clip route was because, "I felt the Brits performance captured the energy of the record," before adding he "decided to make it the first official video featuring Theophilus Allan Kingdom and Paul McCartney."
The song features Paul McCartney's acoustic guitar playing, whistling and singing of the last verse. It was one of a number of collaborations between the former Beatle and Kanye West. "I had a call from someone saying, 'Kanye would like to collaborate with you.' But they didn't tell me on what," Macca revealed to Q magazine. "I think he mentions the 'n' word about 40 times [in 'All Day']. It's controversial, I know, especially with the climate in modern-day America. It really shocked Nancy (McCartney's wife), because she'd been to school with a lot of black kids and been immersed in that experience."
Paul McCartney's collaboration with Kanye West started off in a bungalow in Los Angeles' Beverly Hills Hotel. McCartney told Q magazine that the pair sat chatting and "half-playing" while West recorded everything on his iPhone. The former Beatle told the rapper the story of daughter Mary's birth and whistled a tune that ended up becoming this song.
The track incorporates a re-recording of an unreleased song Paul McCartney wrote in 1969, which is usually referred to as "When The Wind Is Blowing
When the ex Beatle played the tune during an appearance on Parkinson
in 1999, he explained to the chat show host that the piece had been inspired by a Picasso painting he saw in the hospital where his daughter Mary was born. "There was this Picasso print on the wall of an old man playing a guitar," said McCartney. "I looked at it all week and towards the end of the week I thought what chords he playing? I'm a guitar player, what is he playing? I noticed he had two fingers here. So I thought I'd try and see what the chord is, and if it sounds any good. Ooh that's nice. So then I tried to use that as the inspiration, and tried to write a song that only used two fingers."
Speaking to Q magazine, West said of Paul McCartney's contribution: "There's magic in his fingers. He is him. He is the guy. 'All Day' is a sonic Picasso painting, delivered through the two best guys to deliver Picasso's work sonically."
The nine-minute video fuses together this song and "I Feel Like That" in a short film shot by movie director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave). The visual was filmed in the Tarred Yarn Room at Chatham Historic Dockyard, near London and sees West perform both tracks. "All Day" is rapped by Yeezy on his feet and "I Feel Like That" on his back. McQueen said he asked West to "beat himself up" to give himself the look he wanted.
Asked during the video's premiere at Los Angeles County Museum of Art how the pair came to work together, McQueen replied: "I got this call at home a few years ago, and it was Kanye West on the phone. He had visited a show of mine at the Schaulager Museum in Basel [Switzerland], and he wanted to talk to me about the show. The first conversation was about an hour-and-a-half. The second conversation was two hours and 15 minutes."
The pair continued to converse together, then in a bit of serendipity they bumped into each other while shopping at London's Dover Street Market. West asked McQueen to start filming in five days.
West said that he views music as "as a long training ground to be allowed to collaborate" with others. "I elevated my palate. I wanted him to be in charge. It wasn't overly thought-out," he said of McQueen.
Allen Ritter is a credited writer on the track. The Yonkers, New York, native has also worked with Chris Brown ("Back to Sleep
"), Meek Mill ("R.I.C.O.
") and Rihanna ("Work
Ritter told Genius
how he nabbed a credit on the song: "Charlie Heat - a producer signed to G.O.O.D. Music - asked me to send him random melodies, anything. I sent some stuff that wasn't even intended for that track, just a random sound. He did drums over it, and they used it. That's how I got credit."
Paul McCartney recalled his contribution to Q magazine:
"On 'All Day' I played a little sort of rural, very simple riff and he (West) turned it into an urban monster riff with the n-word about 40 times. Some people said to me, 'You can't be associated with this. This is racist.' I said, 'Well, I actually contributed to the music. Kanye did the lyrics, they were nothing to do with me.'
I must admit, I was tempted at one point to say, 'Yeah these are my latest lyrics,' and take credit for them (laughs). Just to put the cat amongst the pigeons."