Hey Mama

Album: Late Registration (2005)

Songfacts®:

  • On November 10, 2007, Dr. West tragically died at the age of 58 from complications arising from cosmetic surgery. When the news was reported, many record stations played this song in tribute to her.

    Kanye was very close to his mother, who ran his charity foundation was his guest at many events, including the Grammy Awards. Donda West was a single mother, and Kanye was her only child. She became a professor at Chicago State University, eventually chairing the Department of English and Speech. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • American R&B singer John Legend provides backing vocals on this.
  • This samples folk artist Donal Leace's "Today Won't Come Again." Originally written in 2000, West was unable to recall where he got the sample that propels the song, so he performed it on the Oprah Winfrey Show hoping that might flush out the publisher.
  • West performed this at the 2008 Grammy Awards ceremony in a moving tribute to his late mother.
  • Donda West used this song as her ringtone on her cellphone.
  • The invitation for Kanye and Kim Kardashian's baby shower for their first child was a music box. Once opened up, a ballerina spun around playing a lullaby version of this song.
  • On the 10th anniversary of Dr. Donda West's death (November 10, 2017), fans around the world came together to create "Hey Mama Day" in memory of Kanye's late mother. This song was streamed about 700,000 times over the course of the 24-hour period.

Comments: 1

  • Liz from Sunshine, CaIn an October concert, West performed this song and I could truly feel his emotions. I got goosebumps from hearing him sing it.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.

Second Wind SongsSong Writing

Some songs get a second life when they find a new audience through a movie, commercial, TV show, or even the Internet.

Thomas DolbySongwriter Interviews

He wrote "She Blinded Me With Science" so he could direct a video about a home for deranged scientists.

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Peter LordSongwriter Interviews

You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound.