[Produced by Kanye West and Brian Miller]
The production for “Champion” features intermittent drops and 808-handclaps and expresses a slight jazz-rock influence, eschewing guitars and trumpets in favor of breezy synths. During the verses, West raps over a constant loop of the words “their eyes” while the chopped-up hook is formed from the question, “Did you realize, that you were a champion?” Both phrases are recontextualized from a line lifted from “Kid Charlemagne” by Steely Dan. The song also sports a reggae-inspired bridge delivered by Connie Mitchell in a distinct toasting vocal style.
The sample is from Steely Dan song “Kid Charlemagne.” The personnel on this track includes two of the greatest and most-sampled rhythm section players ever, drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and bassist Chuck Rainey.
Donald Fagan of Steely Dan spoke with Complex about this song:
Kanye actually sent us a sample of his tunes, and frankly, Walter and I listened to it, and although we’d love some of the income, neither of us particularly liked what he had done with it. We said No, at first, and then he wrote us a hand-written letter that was kind of touching, about how the song was about his father, and he said, I love your stuff, and I really want to use it because it’s a very personal thing for me. My mind doesn’t work like that—I would never use someone else’s stuff if I was writing something personal, but I guess that’s how he was thinking about it. It was such a good letter that we said, All right, go ahead,*** and we made a deal with him.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Champion” by Kanye West Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box