Clique
by Kanye West (featuring Big Sean & Jay-Z)

Album: Cruel Summer (2012)
Charted: 22 12
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Songfacts®:

  • This Hit-Boy produced song is the third single from the G.O.O.D. Music album Cruel Summer, which features artists from West's label. Kanye collaborated on this cut with Detroit rapper Big Sean, whilst his Throne partner Jay-Z also jumps in for a verse.
  • Kanye references his superstar girlfriend Kim Kardashian's X-rated film career on the track. "My girl a superstar all from a home movie," he rhymes, referencing her infamous sex tape with singer Ray J.Kim was previously namechecked on West's song "Cold," when he admitted to having feelings for the reality star despite her being involved with Kris Humphries at the time. Yeezy has also stated that the Cruel Summer track "Perfect Bitch" is about Kardishan.
  • The drum-heavy track finds all three rappers spitting rhymes about the strength of their clique. "Yeah I'm talking 'Ye, yeah I'm talking Rih, yeah I'm talking Bey," proclaims Jay-Z. "Nigga, I'm talking me. Yeah, boss s--t I ain't talking Kelis."
  • Big Sean was surprised to find out that both of the Throne duo ended up on the track. "I did the chorus in London to the beat and 'Ye liked it or whatever [but] I was the first one to do my verse. So I did my verse first, sent it back to him, and didn't hear anything back for a while [but] then people were talking about it," he explained. "Then I get a call a little bit later after that, and somebody told me that Hov is on the record and I was like, 'damn,' " continued Sean. "They were like Hov and 'Ye hopped on it, so I'm thinking, 'Ah, they're probably gonna take my verse off even though I laced it' — you know, the Throne, Kanye and Jay ... but then I get the call like, 'Nah, it's you Kanye and Jay-Z.'"
  • The song contains a sample of James Brown's 1974 single "Funky President (People It's Bad)." According to Brown the "funky president" of the song's title was meant to refer to President Gerald Ford. The tune's rhythmic groove has been sampled on many other hip hop tracks including DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Summertime"and Beastie Boys "Hey Ladies."
  • American Roc Nation singer-songwriter James Fauntleroy II performs the song's introduction. He also appears on the Cruel Summer tracks "Higher" (As a member of the alternative music group Cocaine 80s), "Sin City," and "The One." Fauntleroy works with the production group The Y's and amongst his writing credits are hits by Jordin Sparks ("No Air") and Rihanna ("Te Amo").
  • Will Smith's rap partner Jazzy Jeff told Rolling Stone about a Fresh Prince verse for this song that never saw the light of day. "Will did a verse off of 'Clique' when it first came out," Jeff revealed. "He rapped it for me and it was huge. And I looked at him and said, 'Why didn't you put that out?' And he just looked at me. I'm like, 'Wait, you wrote an incredible verse off of a really popular song. That is what they do! Just drop it!' But he just sat on it."
  • During Jay-Z's verse, he makes the first reference in a song to Kanye West's longstanding nickname.

    Yeah, I'm talking Ye

    For several years, the Chicago rapper dropped hints he would like to change his name from Kanye Omari West to Ye. On October 18, 2021, a Los Angeles judge agreed to his request.

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