Kanye West Was Shocked When He Learned the Meaning of Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’

TLDR;

  • Kanye West heard an acoustic version of “Poker Face” that sounded very different from the single version.
  • West was surprised to learn the meaning of the song, which he sampled in a Kid Cudi track.
  • “Poker Face” became a hit.
Lady Gaga with yellow hair
Lady Gaga | Jeff Vespa/WireImage

“Poker Face” is one of Lady Gaga‘s most famous early songs. Kanye West heard it and subsequently sampled it for a song he produced for Kid Cudi. West was surprised to learn the meaning of Gaga’s track.

Kanye West said Lady Gaga brought out the Broadway melodies of ‘Poker Face’ in an acoustic version of the song

During a 2009 interview with MTV News, West discussed hearing a live version of “Poker Face.” “When I saw that YouTube, that’s what made me fall in love with the song — when I saw her play the acoustic version,” West recalled. “I could hear all the melody lines.”

West said the acoustic version of “Poker Face” had a different vibe from the single version. “On the ‘Poker Face’ single, she sings it straightforward, almost, like, ripping it or chanting it,” he opined. “But this [acoustic version], you hear the Broadway melodies run up and down.”

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Kanye West learned Lady Gaga was singing about a lesbian sexual fantasy on ‘Poker Face’

West decided to sample the acoustic version of “Poker Face” when he produced Cudi’s single “Make Her Say.” “I was inspired by that,” he said. “I wanted to sample that. I thought it was really dope — just on some hip-hop, ‘Say when I p-p-poke her face.'”

West felt the meaning of “Poker Face” was controversial. “All the backstory to the song is really controversial,” he continued. “When I found out that her actual song is about her making love to her boyfriend but really thinking about her girlfriend, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy.’ For us to even flip it to another level and challenge people’s opinions, that’s it.”

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The way listeners in the United States reacted to ‘Poker Face’ and ‘Make Her Say’

“Poker Face” became a massive hit. For one week, it topped the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed on the chart for 40 weeks in total. Gaga released “Poker Face” on the album The Fame. The Fame hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200, lasting on the chart for 252 weeks.

“Poker Face” became a pop-culture juggernaut. Numerous artists covered “Poker Face,” including Weezer, Kelly Clarkson, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. In an episode of South Park, Eric Cartman sang “Poker Face” poorly. Christopher Walken even performed a dramatic reading of the song’s lyrics.

“Make Her Say” was a more modest hit in the United States. The track reached No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 15 weeks. Kid Cudi released the track on his album Man on the Moon: The End of Day. The album reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 216 weeks.

“Make Her Say” wasn’t a massive hit, but it remains an interesting connection between Gaga, West, and Cudi.

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