Hey Mama (Kanye West song)

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"Hey Mama"
Song by Kanye West
from the album Late Registration
ReleasedAugust 30, 2005
The Record Plant
Grandmaster Recording Studios
(Hollywood, California)
Sony Music Studios
(New York City, New York)
  • Roc-A-Fella
  • Def Jam
  • Kanye West
  • Donal Leace
  • Kanye West
  • Jon Brion
Audio sample
"Hey Mama"
  • file
  • help

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"Hey Mama" is a song by American hip hop artist Kanye West. It was released as the sixteenth song on the track-listing of his second studio album Late Registration (2005). The song was produced by West and composer Jon Brion and the song contains a sample of "Today Won't Come Again" by Donal Leace.[2] Though it appeared on his 2005 album, West had composed the song long before he had found fame, as early as 2000.[1] He provided a live rendition of "Hey Mama" as a tribute to his mother after she died in November 2007 within the setlist of his Glow in the Dark Tour.


The song is a ballad dedicated to West's mother, Donda West, describing his affection and appreciation for her having raised him amidst personal hardships and instilling her values in him.[3]

As a tribute to Donda West and to protest the release date of Taylor Swift's Reputation falling on the 10th anniversary of her death on November 10, 2017, West's fans organized Hey Mama Day, streaming the song over 700,000 times.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

Despite the absence of a physical single release, "Hey Mama" managed to enter charts in North America. In the United States, the song entered the Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles at number nine for the issue dated November 24, 2007.[5] A few months later, on the issue dated March 1, 2008, "Hey Mama" appeared on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles chart in the sixty-fourth position.[6]

Live performances[edit]

An early live performance of "Hey Mama" took place in West's hometown of Chicago at the conclusion of a concert with Dilated Peoples held in the House of Blues on May 5, 2004.[7] West included "Hey Mama" within the setlist of his Touch the Sky Tour that occurred in late 2005.[8] On November 17, 2007 at Le Zenith in Paris, France, during his first public performance since his mother's death a week before, West broke down into tears while attempting to perform the song.[9] After his mother's death, West would perform a live rendition of the song as a tribute to her, most notably during all of his concerts on his Glow in the Dark tour that ran from 2007 to 2008 in promotion for his third studio album Graduation (2007).[10] In the concert, West followed the performance up by dedicating a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" to her.[11] He performed "Hey Mama" as a tribute at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards for his mother in a black jacket.[12] West ended his set at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival by performing the song.[13] On the opening show of The Yeezus Tour at the KeyArena in Seattle, the song was performed live by West.[14]


Information taken from Late Registration liner notes.[2]

  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Donal Leace
  • Producers: Kanye West, Jon Brion
  • Recording engineers: Anthony Kilhoffer, Andrew Dawson, Tom Biller
  • Audio mixing: Andrew Dawson
  • Assistant engineers: Richard Reitz, Matt Green, Taylor Dow
  • Additional vocals: John Legend

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2007-2008) Peak
US Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles (Billboard)[5] 9
Hot Canadian Digital Singles (Billboard)[6] 64


  1. 1.0 1.1 Patel, Joseph (2003-06-05). "Producer Kanye West's Debut LP Features Jay-Z, ODB, Mos Def". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Late Registration (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2005.
  3. Blistein, Jon (April 7, 2015). "Watch Kanye West Rap 'Hey Mama' With Mother Donda". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  4. Trendell, Andrew (November 14, 2017). "Kanye West fans stream 'Hey Mama' 700,000 times to protest Taylor Swift's 'Reputation' and to honour his mother". NME. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles – Hey Mama". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2009-06-18.[dead link]
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Hot Canadian Digital Singles – Hey Mama". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2008-02-23. Archived from the original on July 8, 2015. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  7. Jones, Ivory (2004-05-11). "Kanye West, Dilated Peoples / May 5, 2004 / Chicago (House of Blues)". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-29.[dead link]
  8. Vrabel, Jeff (2005-10-17). "Kanye West / Oct. 13, 2005 / Gainesville, Fla. (O'Connell Center)". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2009-01-06.[dead link]
  9. Asward, Jem (2007-11-19). "Kanye West Breaks Down In Tears During Paris Concert". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
  10. Crosley, Hillary (2008-05-14). "Kanye West / May 13, 2008 / New York (Madison Square Garden)". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on June 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  11. Sarah, Wilson (2008-04-23). "Kanye West Tells A Story With His Biggest Hits, At The Glow In The Dark Tour's L.A. Stop". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  12. "Kanye West honors mother at Grammys". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  13. "Listen To Kanye West's Full Set From Coachella". Idolator. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  14. Wolk, Douglas (2013-10-20). "Kanye West's Masked 'Yeezus' Tour Opener in Seattle Brushes Off Idea of 'A Fun Night Out'". SPIN. Retrieved 2018-12-10.

External links[edit]

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