image from stopthebreaks.com
Kanye West with Jamie Foxx
Writer(s): Kanye West, Ray Charles, Renald Richard (see lyrics here)
First Charted: 7/16/2005
Peak: 110 US, 14 RB, 2 UK, 5 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales *: 3.08 US, 1.26 UK, 4.62 world (includes US + UK)
Radio Airplay *: 0.5
Video Airplay *: 211.54
Streaming *: 200.0
* in millions
“Gold Digger” the second single from Kanye West’s Late Registration album, flips the script on the stereotypical hip-hop song where “wealth is coveted and women are mistreated” TM to spin a “tale of a man used by his woman for financial gain.” PD It’s “unusual for one of music’s kingpins to admit he’s been suckered by a woman – much less write an upbeat song about it.” TM
This is “lighthearted Kanye at his best: his lyrics are funny (‘She was supposed to buy your shorty Tyco with your money/ [Instead] she went to the doctor [and] got lipo with your money’)” TM and “when it comes to killer beats, Kanye West is every bit as good as he thinks he is.” MX He “never dropped a beat deadlier than the stuttering bass drum that propels his biggest hit.” MX “The song’s backbone is a mixture of scratches, loops and handclaps set to follow the lyrics’ cadence.” TM
“But just when you think ‘Gold Digger’ is nothing more than a danceable screed against money-grubbing women, Kanye throws in a story about a poor black woman who stands by her man only to see him get rich and dump her for a white girl. Everybody gets played” TM in “Kanye’s most instantly pleasurable single ever.” RS’09
In addition, Kanye didn’t just stick to “contemporary mode or aping a classic pop genre sound,” AB’00 but opted for “blending the past with the present.” AB’00 Even then he aschewed the typical route when he decided to integrate Ray Charles’ “I Gotta Woman,” but not by sampling it directly. He turned to Jamie Foxx, who won an Academy Award playing Charles in the previous year’s Ray, for a “pitch-perfect Ray Charles impersonation.” MX Two years earlier, the pair worked on the #1 “Slow Jamz” with Twista, but this proved even bigger, with 10 weeks atop the charts.
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Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.