Rihanna’s “Diamonds” almost went to Eminem.
The song’s producer, Benny Blanco, reflected on the origins of the chart-topping 2012 hit, which he wrote and produced with Stargate and Sia. While speaking with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Blanco admits that he originally wanted the song to go to Kanye West or Lana Del Rey. However, his collaborators had other ideas.
“Stargate’s like, ‘Yo, we’re giving this song to Rihanna. It’s going to go,’” he recalled. “And I was like, ‘I don’t know, man. Should we keep the beat for Kanye? I don’t know about it.’”
Around the same time, he submitted the song to Eminem’s manager for consideration and Eminem ended up cutting the record. “I remember, at the same time, I had given a beat CD like a month earlier to Paul Rosenberg to give to Eminem. And apparently, Eminem had done a song to it, too. And I didn’t even know. And I’m sitting there… Dude, so when it happened, Paul was like, ‘Man, Em had that beat on hold.’ I was like, ‘What? I didn’t even know.’”
The song eventually found its way to Rihanna, a decision he doesn’t regret. “I’m sitting there, and then I finally am like, ‘You know what, Stargate?’ I let go. I said, ‘You guys know better. Let’s do it,’” said Blanco. “She cut the song. First of all, the second she cut the song, they were completely right. I was like, ‘This is the best song I’ve ever done.’”
As fate would have it, Kanye ended up on the remix to “Diamonds.” “And then, this is how life works, full circle. Kanye West does a remix to the song.”
Elsewhere during the revealing interview, Blanco recalled accidentally kissing Beyoncé when he was a guest at her house in the Hamptons a decade ago.
“We’re sitting there. It’s the end of the night. It’s like the third night I’m there, okay? Everyone’s drunk. We’re having fun. It’s the best time ever. We’re saying, ‘Good night.’ And it’s at that point where I’m like… Okay, I haven’t yet. Do I hug Beyoncé? Like, what’s the protocol? What do you do?” he recalled.
He went to kiss her on the cheek, but missed. “I definitely hit the corner of some sort of lip. I’m like, ‘Oh, my God. This is the worst thing in my life.’ And I’m sitting there, and as I’m doing it, out of the corner of my eye, JAY-Z is right there looking at me…And I look at JAY and I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. I’m dead. My life is over. It was great. Nice knowing you guys.’”
But the kiss seemed to go unnoticed by JAY. “He’s like, ‘All right, bro. See you tomorrow.’”