“Gold Digger” is one of iconic Rap artist Kanye West’s most popular songs. Consisting of vocal samples from famous musician Ray Charles’ track: “I Got a Woman”, the song incorporates a jazzy sound with mid 21st century R&B/Rap sounds.
The track (produced and written primarily by West) was originally meant for female rapper Shawnna, written in the first-person perspective of a female. However, Shawnna never used the track, leaving it for West to use. West had already written the song bac in 2004, as the second verse used to be rapped during shows on West’s tour “The College Dropout”. West wrote the first verse while on tour with Usher, and then lastly the third verse taken from an unreleased track titled “Drop Dead Gorgeous”. A year later when “Gold Digger” was scheduled to released, West decided he was unhappy with the third verse and wrote a new one in New York City. When it came to Jamie Foxx’s vocals in the song, there was a lot of trial and error. West got the idea for Foxx’s involvement from watching Foxx’s film “Ray”, where he played Ray Charles. Despite being featured in the track, Foxx only sings in the intro, and the rest of the song uses vocal samples from Charles. The track tells the story of a man married to a woman who only uses him for money.
The music video was released on Kanye West’s YouTube channel on the 16th June 2009. Directed by Hype Williams who had previously directed West’s music video “Diamonds from Sierra Leone”. The video is shot in a widescreen letterbox format, featuring West, models dressed as pin-up women and Foxx dancing. Singer John Legend also makes a cameo. As of March 2019, the track has over 216 million views and has over 940k likes on YouTube.
Release Date: 5th July 2005
Songwriter/s: Kanye West, Ray Charles & Renald Richard
Producer/s: Kanye West & Jon Brion
Label/s: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Music Video Release Date: 16th June 2009
Music Video Director: Hype Williams
Chart Rankings, Awards and Certifications: “Gold Digger” went to #1 in Asutralia, New Zealand and the US Billboard Charts in its year of release. It received Gold certification in Germany, Italy and New Zealand. It received double Platinum certification in the UK, Platinum in Denmark, went 4x Platinum in Australia and 7x Platinum in the US. “Gold Digger” has been nominated for an array of awards, but won “Video of the Year” and “Best Collaboration” at the BET Awards in 2006, as well as winning “Hot Rap Track” at the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, “Award Winning Songs” at the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, “Record of the Year” and “Best Rap Solo Performance” at the Grammy Awards, “Best Rap/Hip Hop Dance Track”, at the International Dance Music Awards, “Best Single” at the MP3.com Awards, and “Video of the Year” Award at the Soul Train Music Awards – all in 2006! “Gold Digger” also claimed the “Pop Awards” at the BMI Pop Awards.