Ego Death

Album: Featuring Ty Dolla $ign (2020)
Charted: 34
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Songfacts®:

  • "Ego death" is a term used to refer to the loss of self-identity. The phrase is used in various intertwined contexts, including as a psychedelic-induced experience after taking LSD or the permanent loss of self-centeredness achieved through religious meditation ("enlightenment" in the Buddhist meaning). Here, Ty Dolla $ign, Kanye West and FKA Twigs each present their own interpretation of the song's title.
  • Ty starts things off by using the titular phrase to describe how devastated he was by his love interest leaving him.

    Murdered my ego when you walked away
    It hurt my ego when you walked away


    West's verse finds him tackling themes centering on racism, such as the disproportionate imprisonment of black people in America and the efforts of the US government to control the population of African Americans. He links to the title by referencing people who protest on social media without doing anything; they're just feeding the ego.

    FKA Twigs concludes the track with a spacey outro where she references the psychological effects of rejection by a loved one. Twigs acknowledges the need to let go of her ego to rise above it.
  • There's much more packed into the track, including samples of Xaviera Gold 's vocal on Ralph Roasrio's "You Used To Hold Me" at the beginning, Queen Latifah's "Dance For Me" at the start of West's contribution, and Ultra Naté's "Free" accompanying FKA Twig's outro. The voice of American singer Serpentwithfeet anchors the bridge, while political activist Angela Davis and music composer Jariuce "Jehreeus" Banks also contribute additional vocals.
  • Skrillex gets credited because he co-produced the track with Ty Dolla $ign. The Los Angeles EDM producer previously linked up with Ty on his 2017 Beach House 3 track "So Am I."
  • Ty Dolla Sign first got the idea for the song after overhearing a conversation at a party. "I heard some girls saying something about some guy, like, 'Oh, that's the death of his ego.'" he explained to Apple Music's Zane Lowe. "I remembered that when I got to the house. I'm like, 'Wow, that's hard.' It's like I had the song 'Ego Death,' and then I made the beat."
  • Ty Dolla $ign is often heard singing hooks and bridges on West's songs, including The Life of Pablo tracks "Fade" and "Real Friends," the Ye cuts "All Mine," "Wouldn't Leave" and "Violent Crimes," and the Jesus Is King song "Everything We Need."
  • Yeezy's contribution to this track originated with Ty viewing an Instagram video where West is walking down the streets of Chicago saying, "Hold up. There's a train going by." He sampled the part, and when he visited Chicago to record for Jesus Is King, he played it to Ye, who "went crazy."

    Ty added to Zane Lowe: "He grabbed the little performance mic, and he started beatboxing and just freestyling and s--t. We recorded all that, kept all that."

    FKA Twigs recorded her part in London and Ty later hooked up with Skrillex in Los Angeles, where they worked on the track together.
  • Ty Dolla released the song on July 1, 2020 but it had been around long before that. The California singer first played it at a show in January 2019 before it debuted in full in April 2019 during Ty's April 2019 Coachella set. West's verse dates back to before his Christian conversion when he cut out cussing.

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