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Paul McCartney Draws the Line at the Word ‘Genius’ With Kanye West

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When Sir Paul McCartney collaborated with Kanye West in 2015, the partnership surprised fans of both artists but ultimately produced three songs that were undeniable hits, “All Day,” “FourFiveSeconds,” and “Only One.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the legendary artist elaborated on what it was really like to work with the mercurial rapper, even going so far as to compare Yeezy to the king of pop art, Andy Warhol.

“I didn’t know his system. I’d heard things like, ‘He’s got a room full of guys working on riffs, and he walks around going, “I like that one,”‘ McCartney said. “It reminded me of Andy Warhol, these artists who use students to paint their backgrounds and things. It’s a well-used technique. I thought, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to fit into that, but let’s see. Here goes nothing.'”

McCartney also recounted the remarkable ways that the songs came to be; during one of the earliest working sessions, McCartney whistled a piece of music he composed back in 1969, which Kanye’s engineer recorded. The whistle later resurfaced in “All Day”.

Despite their excellent collaboration, don’t expect Sir Paul to endorse Kanye for his self-proclaimed “greatest artist of all time” claim. When asked, “do you think Kanye is a genius,” he said, “I don’t throw that word around [laughs]. I think he’s a great artist.”

McCartney is becoming somewhat of a hip hop head now, listening to everyone from ‘Ye to Drizzy. “I listen to it for, you could call it, education,” he said. “I hear a lot of it and go to concerts occasionally. I went to see Jay Z and Kanye when they toured. I’ve seen Drake live. It’s the music of now.”

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com