Lil Wayne, Kanye and Drake Bring Hip-Hop Presence to ‘We Are the World’ Remake
According to early reports, rappers Lil Wayne, Kanye West, LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg have been picked to contribute to the remake of the 1985 world peace anthem, ‘We Are the World.’ On Monday, more than eighty of today’s biggest star’s gathered at the Jim Henson Studio and Soundstage in Hollywood, the site of the original ‘We Are the World’ recording.
The remake, ‘We Are the World – 25 for Haiti’ brings a new rap presence to the original track, which was largely made up of classic rock stars like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. Smokey Robinson, part of the song’s first supergroup, revealed that none of the track’s original performers will sing on the new version. Drake, Busta Rhymes, Nipsey Hussle, T-Pain, Bizzy Bone, Kid Cudi, and Swizz Beatz round out the rappers, announced thus far, in the song’s 21st century choir.
Originally penned by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the remake marks the 25th anniversary of the taping to benefit hunger in Africa. According to Richie, Janet Jackson will be singing Michael Jackson’s part from the original version, which she is recording today, and more artists are expected to join the diverse mix. The end result will premier during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 12, with all proceeds going towards Haitian earthquake relief efforts.
Young pop stars mark another interesting addition to the track. Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are sharing the stage alongside pop legends Barbra Streisand, the Beach Boys‘ Brian Wilson and Carlos Santana. While country acts like Best New Artist Grammy-winner Zac Brown and Sugarland sing alongside R&B artists Brandy, Melanie Fiona, Mya, Musiq Soulchild, Trey Songz and Faith Evans. Natalie Cole, the members of Heart, Harry Connick Jr., Earth, Wind & Fire; Tony Bennett; ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ film score composer A.R. Rahman; ‘American Idol’ judge Randy Jackson, Celine Dion and Gladys Knight also made the cut, as did others.
RedOne, best known for producing for Lady Gaga, crafted the beat for the song, and discussed the experience with Rolling Stone. “I’m so delighted and so happy to get a dream call from Quincy Jones and Randy Phillips and Lionel Richie,” he said. “I know that Lionel Richie has been asked like 150-something times to redo ‘We Are the World’ and he said no to everything until this Haiti thing happened. The moment he saw that it happened he was like, OK, ‘We Are the World.’ And to be one of the people they called to have fresh input to the song, to help produce the song — I have no words.” Other on the production team include Wyclef Jean and producer-musical director Ricky Minor.
“With music you want to help people feel something in a certain way, and this is something devastating that just happened and I am and we are the world,” continued RedOne. “We’re going to be helping people that we don’t know. I have Haitian friends and stuff like that, but we’re going to be helping people that need help right now.”