Watch Kanye West Rap ‘Hey Mama’ With Mother Donda
Kanye West has paid tribute to his mother, Donda West, on numerous songs both before and after her sudden death in 2007, and she remains an inspiration in almost every facet of West’s work (his creative agency even bears her name).
Now, The Fader has dug up footage of mother and son rapping one of West’s most famous maternal odes, Late Registration‘s “Hey Mama.” The first half of the clip — reportedly taken from an MTV special chronicling the making of the album — finds Donda West reciting one of her favorite Kanye verses, one he ostensibly wrote as a teenager but never recorded.
While that part has been floating around the Internet for years, it’s a heartwarming prelude to the newly unearthed segment, in which West performs “Hey Mama” alongside the woman who inspired it. Donda has the entire song committed to memory, and the short clip ends with West wrapping his arm around his mother as the pair grin and rhyme in unison, “It don’t gotta be Mother’s Day, or your birthday / For me to just call and say, ‘Hey Mama.’”
Recently, West released another poignant paean to his mother, “Only One,” which features Paul McCartney on keyboard. Written from Donda’s perspective, the track was heavily inspired by West’s daughter, North, whom he was holding when he came up with the refrain, “Hello, my only one…” A statement accompanying the track noted that “Kanye” means “Only one,” and West himself described the song’s genesis as, “My mom was singing to me, and through me, to my daughter.”
“Only One” saw release at the top of the year and could appear on West’s upcoming album, So Help Me God. Despite no official word on when the follow up to Yeezus will arrive, West has released a handful of tracks, including “Wolves” and “All Day.”