“All Day” didn’t make it onto The Life of Pablo — or any other album for that matter — but it’s still one of the biggest bangers Kanye West has given us in recent years. Paul McCartney was billed as a featured musician on the 2015 track, providing its melody as well as some whistling on the outro. But it turns out, some objected to McCartney’s role in the song — and it wasn’t because of the whistling.
In a recent interview with John Wilson for BBC Radio 4’s Mastertapes, Macca revealed that Oprah Winfrey advised him to not do the song because of Kanye’s lyrical choices.
“I get this track back, a thing called ‘All Day’: he’s taken my melody and he’s made it seriously urban, which is funny because the lyrics use the N-word — a lot!” McCartney explained. “People like Oprah, who’s a little conservative about that stuff, said, ‘You shouldn’t do it, even black people shouldn’t use that word. I said, ‘Yeah, but it’s Kanye! And he’s talking about an urban generation that uses that word in a completely different way. It’s the context. So I was actually pleased with it.”
Back to that life of Pablo — for McCartney, the inspiration for the whistle came years earlier from a Pablo Picasso painting, which depicted a man strumming a guitar while holding down just two frets. Paul wondered what sort of simple melody the subject was playing and tried to reproduce it. The result? A melody so simple he needed to whistle along to it.
Paul McCartney Was ‘Flattered’ to Work With Kanye West, But Didn’t Want to Seem Too ‘Soppy’
McCartney wound up taking the bit to Kanye in their studio session, the same one that birthed the Rihanna collab “FourFiveSeconds.”
“I love Kanye and he loves me,” McCartney said. “He’s a monster — he’s a crazy guy who comes up with great stuff so he inspires me.”
For more, including McCartney’s reflection on the Beatles’ breakup, check out the complete interview.
A representative for Oprah did not immediately return a request for comment.