Kanye West Pays Homage to “Let It Be” With “Only One” Collaboration With Paul McCartney

For those who haven’t lost all sense of musical taste in the twenty-first century, you’ll know that the 1970 track, “Let It Be,” written and sung by Paul McCartney is about his mother, Mary McCartney, as indicated by the lyrics, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comforts me/Whisper words of wisdom/Let it be.” Thus, Kanye West’s collaboration with McCartney on his own song about his mother, “Only One,” seems all too appropriate.

Paul McCartney during the "Let It Be" phase
Paul McCartney during the “Let It Be” phase
“Only One,” sung from the perspective of Kanye’s mother, Donda West, who died after undergoing liposuction and breast reduction, is an emotional encouragement to Kanye’s daughter, North West, from a grandmother she could never know, with lyrics like, “Hello my only one, just like the mornin’ sun/You’ll keep on risin’ till the sky knows your name.”
Kanye and North
Kanye and North
McCartney’s subtle, complementary vocals add to the sentimentality of the song, and yet, without making it overly or unpalatably maudlin (though it would be if you were just reading the lyrics without listening to the song). All in all, it is a powerful homage to both Donda West and The Beatles–thanks, in large part, to McCartney’s musical influence.