This samples Michael Jackson's 1983 hit "P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)," which was produced by Quincy Jones. As a result the legendary producer gets a credit on this song, which is fitting as the first time the full song was performed by West was during the Recording Academy's Leadership Award Ceremony for Quincy Jones on July 28, 2007.
Rapper and songwriter T-Pain is featured on this track.
West paraphrases a line from 50 Cent's "In Da Club
" when he raps, "50 told me, go 'head switch the style up, and if they hate, then let 'em hate, and watch the money pile up." The two Hip Hop stars had a chart battle when they both released albums on September 11, 2007, which came to a head when 50 Cent vowed to retire if West outsold him during their debut week. West later admitted it was all a marketing ploy.
This won a Grammy for Best Rap Song at the 2008 ceremony. Graduation also won for Best Rap Album.
Maryland songwriter/producer Dayna "D'Mystro" Staggs III sued West, accusing the rap artist of stealing from his 1984 song "Volume of Good Life." In his submission, Staggs claimed that West "didn't obtain a license" to sample his record for the track. He also objected to the "vulgar and offensive" images associated with the song, claiming it "harms the reputation" of his inoffensive tune.
At the 2008 Black Entertainment Television Awards this song won the award for Best Collaboration. West told the crowd: "I am one of the kings in this game right now and my opinion counts - that's why I did a song with T-Pain." The ever so self-effacing king of hip hop also bagged an award for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist.
Soul and R&B singer James Ingram, who wrote "P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)," told Christian Music Today about his reaction to West's sampling of his song: "What I don't understand about sampling with new music these days is that he used such a little part, I don't know why I got paid so well for it! I mean, Kanye West is talented in terms of doing what he's doing, but there really wasn't enough in there of my work for me to get paid. If it was up to me, I wouldn't have charged him."
T-Pain told MTV News how West created this song: "All I recorded for that song was hooks," he explained. "We did five different versions [of the chorus]. And when you hear that 'And my grandmamma ain't the only [girl] calling me baby,' that was a hook. Kanye put all them hooks together and created that song. When I heard the finished version, I was like, 'This dude is a genius.'"
Speaking to Nic Harcourt during an At: Guitar Center podcast, T-Pain revealed just what he was thinking about when writing the lyrics for this song. "When I did 'Good Life' for Kanye, I came up with that concept because he was ordering lobster and Cristal, but he didn't know I was coming up with these things in my head as he was ordering this stuff," he said. "I pulled up in a regular Cadillac Escalade SUV; he's got a driver and a Maybach outside waiting on him. It's like, this is the good life. So you know, automatically as soon as I heard the beat, I'm like, this is what this song is about."