The song was produced by Hit-Boy, who is signed to Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music label. This was not the first time Hit-Boy had provided a beat for a high-powered pairing, as in 2010 he helmed Lil Wayne and Eminem's 2010 single "Drop The World."
Hit-Boy told MTV News about this song's beat: "'Niggas in Paris' came about from me having a beat idea already. When I went to New York, I just further went into it. It was just a batch of beats. Kanye asked me for some beats, and that was one of the beats I gave him."
The song was recorded by the duo in Paris - hence the title. Hit-Boy told MTV News that he sent all the necessary files so the superstar duo could complete the track. "They actually went over to Paris; I didn't get to make that trip," he said. "Next thing I know, they're like, 'Yo, I need all the files for that beat.'"
This samples a snippet of a line ("No one knows what it means, but it's provocative!") said by Will Ferrell in the film, Blades Of Glory. Jay-Z said at a pre-release album playback that the sample was Kanye's idea.
Def Jam VP of A&R Bu Thiam told MTV News that everything Kanye and Jay rap about is what they actually go through. He said: "When you hear that album it's real. When Jay says, 'I ball so hard motherf---ers wanna fine me,' they gave him a fine because he took a picture with the college players at the NCAA tournament. So he got a fine for that in real life. So when you hear it you think he's braggin', but no, it's really true."
Speaking with MTV News, Will Ferrell explained how his dialogue made it onto the song. "Kanye reached out to me and I said, 'Of course,'" the Anchorman star revealed. "I was completely flattered when they asked if they could sample me into the song ... and when I heard it for the first time, I just started to laugh because it felt so surreal. But I really did like the song."
Ferrell added that the spirit of the song had inspired him to cop something similarly "crazy." "It makes me feel very good," he said. "And completely justified for buying a V-neck sweater made out of nothing but diamonds."
Hit-Boy told MTV News that he initially submitted to Jay and 'Ye other records that at the time seemed to have greater potential. "The crazy thing about the 'Paris' record is that record just came out of nowhere, pretty much," he said. "I did other records that were talked about being singles and all types of stuff, so I was hyped over those records." Instead, the superstar duo chose to run with this celebration of success.
Jay-Z's rap on the hook, "Ball so hard mother----ers wanna fine me," refers to an actual incident. Hov is part-owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets and he made a postgame congratulatory visit to the University of Kentucky's men's basketball team locker room after a win in the Regional Finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament. Photos were taken of Jay posing with some of the players, which drew the ire of the NBA as contact between NBA personnel and potential NBA college prospects is prohibited. As a result, the Nets were fined $50,000 because of Hov's actions. He has a long way to go to catch up to Mark Cuban, however. The Dallas Mavericks owner has racked up over $1 million in fines from the league, mostly for criticizing officials.
This was originally intended for G.O.O.D. Music member Pusha T, but he ended up passing on Hit-Boy's beat.
This won both Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance at the 2013 Grammy Awards. Jay-Z and Kanye West also picked up a third statue at the same ceremony for "No Church In The Wild." The Frank Ocean and The-Dream featured track prevailed in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category.
The song was recorded at the 5 star Hôtel Meurice in Paris. If you fancy a stay in the Deluxe Suite there it will cost you around $3,200 a night.