Kanye West’s Hit Song ‘All of the Lights’ Was Produced in Just 5 Minutes

Kanye West has released countless hit songs throughout his career. In 2011, his smash single “All of the Lights” became a musical sensation with several iconic artists on the track. The most surprising part: the song was born in just a few minutes.

Kanye West wearing sunglasses on the red carpet
Kanye West | Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

‘All of the Lights’ is a song from ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

2010 was a prolific year for Kanye West. The Grammy-winning rapper dealt with the fallout after his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and retreated to Hawaii to record an album.

That album became My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, regarded by many Kanye West fans as his magnum opus. The album came out in November 2010, and its release was fronted by the smash singles “Power,” “Runaway,” and “Monster.” In early 2011, he released “All of the Lights” as the album’s fourth and final single.

The base of ‘All of the Lights’ came together in 5 minutes

The song was produced by Kanye West and his frequent collaborator Jeff Bhasker. In a 2022 interview with Vlad TV, Bhasker opened up about his time working with West on the song and on his 808s and Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Donda albums.

When looking back on “All of the Lights,” he recounted some unforgettable memories from the recording process. Bhasker had worked with West on his previous

“[‘All of the Lights’] just came in a burst of inspiration,” Bhasker admitted. It was the last day they were spending in the studio in Hawaii and had just come back from playing basketball together.

“I just came in the room and had my keyboard up and just started [playing],” he said, and proceeded to play the beat of “All of the Lights” on a keyboard in front of him. As he was playing the keyboard in the studio, West hopped on his own production setup and started adding drum hits and other touches.

“We did that in like five minutes,” Bhasker admitted.

‘All of the Lights’ featured music icons such as Elton John

West and Bhasker sat on the song for months before producer The-Dream helped come up with the song’s melody. West and Bhasker knew that the song had the potential to be a big hit, and soon started collaborating with other major artists to make it one.

“All of the Lights” features an all-star lineup of performers, including Alicia Keys, John Legend, The-Dream, Drake, Fergie, Kid Cudi, Elton John, Ryan Leslie, Charlie Wilson, Tony Williams, La Roux, Alvin Fields, Ken Lewis, and Rihanna. Rihanna also sang the song’s hook and was credited as a featured artist on the single.

“Kanye put everyone in the record,” Bhasker said. “Elton John was having brunch at the hotel and [producer] Mr. Hudson was like, ‘Hey, come to the studio,’ and Elton John came in and played piano and sang on it, and it just turned into this monster record.”

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