The powerhouse ensemble of Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney dazzled with their pop collaboration “FourFiveSeconds” in a relatively stripped-back performance at the Grammys. The former Beatle passionately strummed the tune’s propulsive riff, as the singer and rapper sang their verses, joining in on the choruses. The majority of the performance took place in front of a white-light backdrop, until it lifted up to reveal dark curtains. West and Rihanna faced one another toward the end of the song, leading a clap-along with Kim Kardashian and Jay Z joining in.
On E!’s red carpet special before the show, West explained how the collaboration came together in the first place. “I’m executive producer of Rihanna’s album, and I said I’d done a few songs with Paul McCartney and she couldn’t get past this record,” he told Ryan Seacrest. “She had to have it on her album…. So now we at the Grammys doing it.”
When Seacrest pressed West when Rihanna’s album would be coming out, the rapper demurred. “I’m not sure about what her release date is,” he said. The track is also set to appear on West’s upcoming album, which also does not have a public release date.
Last week, the trio released their beautiful black-and-white video for the acoustic single. In the clip, all three are sporting denim looks as proposed by West, which Rihanna revealed in the making-of clip. “Kanye came up with the idea of just doing some real street, denim, all-American-type look,” she said in the behind the scenes video. “Denim never goes out of style. It’s classic, it’s iconic, just like the fucking Beatles.”
In 2005, West made his dramatic Grammy debut, performing “Jesus Walks” on a church set and the frantic shadow dancing that would be featured during his Yeezus era, most notably during his VMA performance of “Blood on the Leaves.” Rihanna made her debut at the ceremony in 2008 singing ubiquitous hits “Umbrella” and “Don’t Stop the Music.”
Fifty years ago, at the 1965 ceremony, the Beatles were awarded the Best New Artist trophy. Since then, McCartney has been a Grammy regular, having taken the stage as recently as last year when fellow Beatle Ringo Starr joined him for “Queenie Eye.” In the same show, the Beatles were also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.