"Can't Tell Me Nothing" is a song by American hip-hop recording artist Kanye West. It was released on May 15, 2007 as the lead single of his third studio album, Graduation. The song was produced by Kanye West and Atlanta record producer DJ Toomp. It received acclaim from music critics and was listed amongst the best tracks of the year by several publications. "Can't Tell Me Nothing" was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 50th Grammy Awards, but lost to another one of West's songs, "Good Life".
The cover art of the single was designed by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Though "Can't Tell Me Nothing" didn't impact pop radio as significantly as the album's subsequent singles, West took pride in the fact that he had attained his very first street anthem with the song. The song is featured as the sixth track on Now That's What I Call Music! 26. It was nominated for "Track of the Year" at the 2007 BET Hip Hop Awards. It was also featured in the movie The Hangover.
"Can't Tell Me Nothing" features slow, moody synth-driven production, exemplifying the new sonic direction that would come to dominate much of Graduation. West stated that he drew inspiration from arena rock bands such as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, elaborating that the song's chords are akin to that of a rock melody. He also explained that, with the track, he wanted to make anthemic music and create a theme song for the people. The song contains audio samples of ad-libs provided by Young Jeezy as well as background vocals provided by Connie Mitchell of the Australian electronic group Sneaky Sound System.
Lyrically, "Can't Tell Me Nothing" serves as West's reflection on his fame and as such hovers between insecure and confrontational while marked by bitter regret and self-aware defiance. West begins the song by expounding his conflicted feelings regarding wealth and desire, describing a compulsion to spend that overwhelms any and all other objectives in life. He ties this into his perceived overall inability to keep himself together even as he grows into an increasingly prominent figure in the public eye with lyrics like, "I feel the pressure, under more scrutiny / And what do I do? Act more stupidly."
Two separate music videos accompanied "Can't Tell Me Nothing", with the first aired on television and the second made available solely online. The first music video was directed by Hype Williams and released on West's official website on May 25, 2007. To visually complement the thematically distanced, alienated feel of the track, the video was filmed in a desert. It carries a minimal aesthetic, with scenes shot in a barren, wide-open desert landscape. For a limited time, the music video was available as a free download on the U.S. iTunes Store.
On July 25, 2007, West premiered an alternate music video for "Can't Tell Me Nothing" on his website. This version was directed by Michael Blieden and featured comedian Zach Galifianakis and folk singer-songwriter Will Oldham. West had been introduced to Galifianakis' work through his personal trainer, and eventually asked him to perform in his second video after attending one of Galifianakis' stand-up shows in Los Angeles. The unscripted, low-budget music video was filmed at Galifianakis' farm in North Carolina and features him and Oldham lip-synching to the song. The alternate video was selected by Rolling Stone as the third best music video of 2007 while Pitchfork Media cited the version as thirtieth best music video of the decade.File Hashes
HASH2: 5EE9178DDCE31991 (FLAC)
HASH2: 14E69322B31E0A4C (MP3)
HASH2: 14E69322B31E0A4C (MP3)