John Legend Talks Kanye West’s ‘Eyes Closed’

By Hillary Crosley, with additional reporting by Jayson Rodriguez

Kanye West might be relatively quiet following the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but the Chi-Town MC is ever-present on the Internet. His track “Eyes Closed” featuring John Legend surfaced on Tuesday (January 4). MTV News caught up with Legend about the track’s origin.

“I went in and cut the vocal in a few minutes,” the singer said. “It was among a bunch of stuff we did
around the same time, including ‘Blame Game.’ ”

One of the standout tracks on West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, “Blame Game” has been one of our favorites here at 1515. We can’t stop playing it, in part, because Legend’s chorus is so infectious, Chris Rock’s skit is so hilarious and Selita Ebanks looked so sad as a heartbroken phoenix in ‘Ye’s short film, “Runaway.”

“Eyes Closed” flips the popular jimmy Spicer “Money” sample as John croons the chorus, “See it with my eyes closed.” West’s bars tell a story of how the MC is surrounded by “imaginary friends,” a downside of his spectacular fame and fortune. The introspective lyrics and beat construction remind us of the artist’s aesthetic while crafting his 2008 LP 808s & Heartbreak. Made after the untimely death of his mother, Dr. Donda West, Kanye utilized primarily stripped down beats and emotive rhymes, though, to be fair, “Eyes Closed” is a bit more produced.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and my album cover are just … those things are just awesome,” West told MTV News in October. “It’s really proper, decadent, soulful, lavishness, and it’s exactly what I wanna say. “Everything has a ‘f— off,’ ‘f— you’-type attitude. The work that I do, what I wanna express. Even if I go full-on black tie, like super, proper Tom Ford tux. When you see it now what I want you to think I’m saying with my suit is, ‘F— you. This is what I want to give you. This is the moment, this is what I created and take it or leave it.’ ”

Def Jam, West’s label home, declined to comment on the origin of “Eyes Closed” at press time.

What do you think of Kanye West’s “Eyes Closed” featuring John Legend? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!