"Mama's Boyfriend" (partially found unreleased Kanye West song; 2009-2010)

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Mbdtf.jpg

The album art for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the album "Mama's Boyfriend" was written for.

Status: Partially Found

Kanye West is a rapper, entrepreneur, and record producer. Through the popularity of his albums, he's become one of the most well-known musicians of all time, with seven of his records going platinum. His 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was released to strong critical acclaim, being ranked as the best album of the year by both Rate Your Music[1] and Metacritic[2], and being named by Pitchfork as the best album of the entire decade in 2014.[3]

Twisted Fantasy was produced primarily in Honolulu, Hawaii, in sessions described by Complex editor-in-chief Noah Callahan-Bever as "communal" and involving much suggestion from the other artists who he had flown out to the city.[4] He had at times rejected the beats produced for him by the producers he had tapped for the project, an example being DJ Premier whose unspecified instrumental contribution to the album apparently went entirely unused.[5]

One track that fell victim to West's revision process was "Mama's Boyfriend", a song addressed to the men that his mother had dated during his childhood.[6] According to Callahan-Bever, the track was originally being recorded on instrumentals created by hip hop producer Madlib, which were later replaced with instrumentals created by A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip.[4] This track was intended for Twisted Fantasy, and was first performed a capella during West's 2010 visit to the Facebook offices in Silicon Valley.[7] A recording of this performance is available online.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was released on November 22, 2010, with "Mama's Boyfriend" absent. An alleged final version of this track was uploaded online on June 2011. West's label, Universal Music, acknowledged the authenticity of the West's vocals but dismissed the instrumental portion of the track as being produced by an unknown party and inauthentic.[8] How the vocal track was obtained is unclear.

In June 2013, Q-Tip would host an event at the Red Bull Music Academy, playing a number of unreleased or alternative versions of tracks he had been attached to in some way. At one point during the event, he played 80 seconds of his rendition of "Mama's Boyfriend," one that largely revolves around a sample of Billy Joel's "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)." Oddly, he played a segment of the fake 2011 track during his speech, and perhaps even more curiously, he mentioned that West also had created yet another version of the track with Soulja Boy that was different from his own. It's unclear if Soulja Boy, well known as both a record producer and rapper, was creating a third set instrumental for West to rap over or was himself a featured rapper on a version of the track.

One more version of this track is known to exist, having been recorded at an unknown New York event by Uproxx's now-defunct blog RealTalkNY. This version, performed live with a backing band, presumably was never intended for an album, although it does include West's complete lyrics.

As of 2019, no complete version of "Mama's Boyfriend" has ever surfaced, whether produced by Madlib, Q-Tip, Soulja Boy, or anyone else. Fan recreations are regularly posted across the internet, but all have been dismissed as hoaxes. Kanye West has long since moved onto other projects, and it's unlikely it will ever be released in any official capacity, although given the size of Kanye's fandom, unreleased music is regularly leaked and compiled online.

Gallery

Kanye West performing "Mama's Boyfriend" a capella in 2010 at the Facebook offices.
Q-Tip at the Red Bull Academy. The discussion of Kanye West and "Mama's Boyfriend" begins at 1:36:33. The actual track is played at 1:38:26.
A lower quality selection of the Red Bull Academy video, including just the track.
The performance of "Mama's Boyfriend" recorded by RealTalkNY.

References