Paranoid

Album: 808s & Heartbreak (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • This ode to 1980s electro music features Ben Hudson from the English band Mr. Hudson & the Library, who are signed to West's G.O.O.D. label. Hudson also supplied additional vocals on "Say You Will" and "Amazing" and he also has a production credit on "Street Lights."
  • This additionally features Cleveland rapper/singer Kid Cudi, from West's G.O.O.D. label. Cudi also has writing credits for several other tracks on 808s & Heartbreak including "Heartless." He explained to Complex Magazine his writing contributions: "It's a collective effort. It's not like; where like I'm sitting in a room writing songs. It's more like brainstorming and, you know, helping out with the inspiration and creativity and putting words together. Making sure the stuff fits right."
  • The song's bitter lyrics most likely allude to West's long-term relationship with the designer Alexis Phifer. The Chicago artist admitted that all the tracks on 808s & Heartbreak, apart from his eulogy to his mother "Coldest Winter," are about "someone else."
  • This was previously leaked as "Anything."
  • The song's music video was helmed by photographer and director Nabil Elderkin, who previously worked with West on the "Champions" video and "Welcome To Heartbreak." Elderkin told MTV News about the video's premise: "It's fantasy meets paranoid, when you get into that frame of mind and get trapped into your thoughts. It starts out subtle, but then it just builds. So I wanted to get that into the video, to build that into her dream sequence and get her into that paranoid state of mind."
  • The video stars the Barbadian singer Rihanna. She was cast on West's recommendation. Elderkin commented to MTV News: "That wasn't too much of a decision. That was somewhere between 'hell yeah' and 'yeah.' Who wouldn't want to look at Rihanna?"

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