Kanye West recorded this track for Donda, an album named after his late mother, Dr. Donda West, who died in 2008. André 3000 lost his mom, Sharon Benjamin-Hodo, five years later, so when Yeezy reached out to the Outkast rapper to be part of his record, he came up with a heartfelt verse about how much he misses her.
André imagines Donda West having a conversation in heaven with his own mother, before turning his attention to his father, who passed away a year later.
André 3000's bars include some profane language. West wanted Donda to be a cuss-free record, so he originally omitted "Life Of The Party" from the album. "I thought it was a beautiful choice to make a clean album but, unfortunately, I didn't know that was the plan before I wrote and recorded my verse," André 3000 said. "It was clear to me that an edited 'clean' format of the verse would not work without having the raw, original also available. So, sadly, I had to be omitted from the original album release."
About a week after the release of Donda, Drake leaked a version of "Life Of The Party" on a SiriusXM radio broadcast amidst a feud with West. Yeezy eventually released the song on the deluxe version of Donda with the explicit words bleeped out and the uncensored version as a single.
In the leaked version, West includes some disses aimed at Drake. But the cut that appears on Donda (Deluxe) features a new verse by Yeezy without the Drizzy digs. Instead, he shouts out his art teacher in the early 1990s, Rhonda Levy, recalls the birth of his daughter, North, and has a go at the paparazzi.
During the chorus, West compares his wife Kim Kardashian kickstarting the Kardashian-Jenner family's rise to fame with Puff Daddy's encouragement of the young Notorious B.I.G.
West doesn't reference his mother in his bars, but the song title alludes to another Donda
track that does. On his song "Jesus Lord
" he raps:Mama, you was the life of the party
I swear you brought life to the party
When you lost your life, it took the life out the party
The track ends with a clip of DMX comforting his scared young daughter during their trip on the Orlando Slingshot. The rapper talks through his terrified little girl before and during the amusement park ride, then congratulates her at the end. West inserted the passage to underline the song's theme of parent-child relationships.
West co-produced the song with Allday, BoogzDaBeast, The Twitter Tone, Federico Vindver, Ojivolta, Dem Jointz, and Derek "Fonzworth Bentley" Watkins.
The song samples "Cannibal Cutie" by Herb & The Spices, "Hypnotize
" by The Notorious B.I.G., "I Was the Life of the Party" by The Dramatics, and "Space Intro" by Steve Miller Band.
The song's visual brings childhood photos of West to life. It shows young Kanye rapping the verses in a selection of edited clothing from his Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collection. The video version omits André 3000's verse.
Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga is a three-way collaboration between Yeezy, clothing retailer Gap and fashion house Balenciaga, and the video features in the collection's debut television commercial.