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Behind The Mic: The story of Kanye West's ode to Kim, 'Bound 2'

It’s hard to deny the huge impact Kanye West has had on the world of hip hop. The iconic rapper, producer and all-around musical genius completely changed the way music is produced in 2022, and it started from the very beginning of his career. In the early days, West seemed to be the next king of hip hop, effortlessly blending soul samples with a fresh flow and a pop sensibility that confirmed the Chicagoan was set to dominate the genre.

However, as time progressed, Ye, as he later became known, developed a unique style of artistry. Constantly pushing the boundaries of what a mainstream artist can be, his albums have found themselves moving progressively left field, with 2013’s Yeezus, a perfect example. Within that record contained one of the rapper’s biggest hits in years, ‘Bound 2’.

While the track was a distillation of Ye’s growing position in hip hop, it was inspired by one person only: Kim Kardashian. The duo may have now divorced, but Ye’s devotion to the superstar was unparalleled. When Paul McCartney worked with West, he revealed how he would use Kim as inspiration in the studio. He said, “We had two or three afternoons where we just hung out together in a Beverly Hills hotel in the bungalows out the back, and he had his engineer and was set up with a couple of microphones in case anything happened.

“I was tootling around on guitar, and Kanye spent a lot of time just looking at pictures of Kim [Kardashian] on his computer. I’m thinking, ‘Are we ever gonna get around to writing?!’ But it turns out he was writing. That’s his muse.”

Perhaps, the finest moment Kardashian inspired is ‘Bound 2’, in which she starred in the video alongside him on a motorcycle that captures their love visually. The line, ‘One good girl is worth a thousand bitches’, epitomises Kanye’s endless love for her, which he still expresses now, even if their relationship is over romantically.

The song’s unique composition is in part owed to Ye handing over controls of the mixing desk to Rick Rubin. A founding father of Def Jam, Rubin’s contribution to hip hop is written in stone. However, there’s also no denying that Rubin’s first love was rock. Rubin put Led Zeppelin into the Beastie Boys’ Illmatic and has always flirted with guitars in his sampling.

He confirmed that while working on ‘Bound 2’, he channelled another rock act. “When he first played it for me, it was a more middle-of-the-road R&B song, done in an adult contemporary style,” Rubin recalled to The Wall Street Journal. “Kanye had the idea of combining that track with a cool sample he had found and liked – I removed all of the R&B elements leaving only a single note baseline in the hook, which we processed to have a punk edge in Suicide tradition.”

As well as the hilarious James Franco and Seth Rogen spoof of the video, the song will remain an integral part of Ye’s discography. The video is great, but the power behind ‘Bound 2’ isn’t very funny at all; it’s all about love.