It’s one of the biggest — and most inexplicable — hits of 2011, a song so popular that its hook was name-checked during player introductions on Sunday Night Football, so massive that Jay-Z and Kanye West have taken to performing it multiple times per set on their Watch the Throne Tour .
We’re talking, of course, about “N—as in Paris,” the max-impact Throne single that has become a sensation, thanks in no small part to producer Hit-Boy’s bouncing beat , West’s pop-cult wordplay (“What’s that jacket, Margiela?”) and, of course, a pair of oddball samples taken from Will Ferrell’s 2007 figure-skating comedy “Blades of Glory.”
As you’re probably aware, “Paris” kicks off with Ferrell’s grizzled Chazz Michael Michaels defiantly declaring, “We’re gonna skate to one song and one song only,” then really picks up steam mid-song, when (in a move that could alternately be described as “completely inspired” or “completely insane”), Hit-Boy drops the beat and lets the song roll on a second Ferrell sample: ” No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative … it gets the people going!”
And, indeed, it has done just that. “Paris” currently sits atop Billboard’s Hip-Hop/R&B Charts, dominates urban radio and has received a thunderous response at Throne shows. And, thanks to Ferrell’s contributions, it’s certainly one of the oddest mainstream hip-hop tracks in recent history too. And if you’re wondering how the whole thing came to be, well, you’re not the only one: Turns out, Ferrell’s pretty mystified by the track too, as he told MTV News in an email Tuesday (November 8).
“Kanye reached out to me and I said, ’Of course,’ ” Ferrell wrote. “I was completely flattered when they asked if they could sample me into the song … and when I heard it for the first time, I just started to laugh because it felt so surreal. But I really did like the song.”
So much so, in fact, that Ferrell said he’s hoping to take the Throne collaboration to the next level — “We were trying to film a piece that they would use on the video boards of their concert, but haven’t gotten it together,” he wrote — and the whole process has opened his eyes to an entirely new career opportunity: Being the go-to sample guy on the hip hop circuit.
“I think [something from] ’Step Brothers’ would be good [to use in a song],” he wrote. “Or the Woody Allen movie I did, ’Melinda and Melinda.’ ”
Regardless of whether any of those ideas come to fruition, thanks to the “Paris” success, Ferrell can bask in his newfound street cred, which is certainly at an all-time high. And that’s saying something for a guy who once starred opposite Andre 3000.
“It makes me feel very good,” he wrote. “And completely justified for buying a V-neck sweater made out of nothing but diamonds.”
Were you surprised by Will’s Throne cameo? Let us know in the comments!