Diamonds From Sierra Leone
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Diamonds From Sierra Leone
"Diamonds from Sierra Leone"
Single by Kanye West
from the album Late Registration
ReleasedMay 31, 2005
The Record Plant
Grandmaster Recording Studios
(Hollywood, California)
GenreHip hop
Kanye West singles chronology
"The Corner"
"Diamonds from Sierra Leone"
Audio sample
"Diamonds from Sierra Leone"
Music video
"Diamonds From Sierra Leone" on YouTube

"Diamonds from Sierra Leone" is a song by American hip-hop artist Kanye West. It was released on July 4, 2005, as the lead single of his second studio album, Late Registration. The track features a sample of the song "Diamonds Are Forever" by Shirley Bassey. "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" peaked at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at number 8 on the UK Top 40. It won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song at the 48th Grammy Awards. Shirley Bassey had praise for West after hearing the song for herself.


"Diamonds from Sierra Leone" contains a sample of the titular theme song for the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever as performed by Shirley Bassey.[1] The song connects the material wealth West had become accustomed to following his rise to fame with the horrors of the civil war in the West African country Sierra Leone, financed by the illegal diamond trade.[2] After gathering information on the plight of children in West African countries, who since 1991 have been forced to mine the conflict diamonds and die in the civil wars funded by them, West recorded a remix to "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" which featured an additional closing verse by Jay-Z and new verses that detail the situation in Sierra Leone. He initiates the remix by proclaiming, "Good Morning! This ain't Vietnam. Still, people lose hands, legs, arms for real."[3] The remix was included as the thirteenth track within the album, whereas the original version was included as a bonus track. An unofficial remix entitled "Conflict Diamonds," which went into even further detail regarding the situation in Sierra Leone, was recorded by Kanye's friend and fellow Chicago hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco. "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" remains a crowd favorite and is one of West's most performed songs. It boasts a chorus that calls for listeners to "Throw your diamonds in the sky," referring to the Roc-A-Fella hand sign, which is in the shape of a diamond.

The song was the recipient of much acclaim. It won the awards for Best Rap Song at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards as well as a Pop Award at the 2006 BMI London Awards.[4][5] Shirley Bassey was reported to be very impressed with West's performance and stated that she wished to work with him in the future.[6]

Music video

The music video for "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" was directed by Hype Williams and shot entirely in black and white.[7] It was filmed on location in the city of Prague, the capital of the Czechia. West was fascinated by the architecture found in the capital and felt its sculptures, cathedrals, and stone pavements emitted the timeless feel of "Diamonds".[8] The video illustrates the topics West would later touch on within the remix of the song, as it features visuals of young African children toiling away in mines under the careful watch of their wardens. The images are juxtaposed with scenes of wealthy Europeans shopping in boutiques and trying on jewelry. The music video ends with text that reads, "Please purchase conflict-free diamonds".[9] The video was premiered on BET's Access Granted on June 15, 2005. The music video was met with critical acclaim. It was nominated for Best Male Video at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards Japan and Outstanding Music Video at the 2005 NAACP Image Awards.[10][11]

Track listings


Information taken from Late Registration liner notes.[1]

  • Songwriters: Kanye West, Devon Harris, John Barry, Don Black
  • Producers: Kanye West, Jon Brion, Devon Harris
  • Recorders: Anthony Kilhoffer & Tom Biller
  • Mix engineer: Manny Marroquin
  • Assistant engineers: Richard Reitz & Jarred Robbins
  • Keyboards: Tom Craskey
  • Guitars: Dave Tozer
  • Drums: Michel Gondry

Chart positions


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history

Region Format Date
North America Digital download, 12" May 31, 2005 (2005-05-31)
United Kingdom Digital download, CD, 12" July 4, 2005 (2005-07-04)
Germany CD July 25, 2005 (2005-07-25)


  1. ^ a b Late Registration (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2005.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ "For Kanye, Confidence Is King". Billboard. 2005-08-29. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Crosley, Hillary; Aswad, Jem (2005-06-14). "'Diamonds' Remix: Kanye Raps About Rocks, Jay Raps About Roc". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Grammys - Artist - Kanye West". Grammy. Archived from the original on 8 December 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "2006 BMI London Awards". BMI. 3 October 2006. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ World Entertainment News Network (2007-10-29). "Shirley Bassey Wants To Work With Kanye West". Starpulsec. Starpulse. Archived from the original on 2007-11-01. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Throw Your Diamonds in the Sky: Kanye West Returns with Epic New Video 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone'; Hype Williams-Directed Video Set to Air This Week as Hot New Remix Feat. Jay-Z Blasts off at Radio". Business Wire. New York. 2005-06-15. Archived from the original on 2019-02-03. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2005-05-17). "Kanye West Shooting 'Diamonds' Video In 'Pray-Goo'". MTV. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 2019-02-03. Retrieved .
  9. ^ Barker, Ernest; Kamer, Foster; Ahmed, Insanul; Notro, Lauren; Spencer, Tannis; Simmons, Ted; Shipley, Al (2018-06-08). "Ranking All 43 of Kanye West's Music Videos". Complex. Retrieved .
  10. ^ Scott Lapatine (31 July 2006). "2006 MTV Video Music Award Nominations". Stereo Gum. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ "37th Annual NAACP Image Awards Noms Announced". Emmys. 21 January 2005. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ " - Kanye West - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  13. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Canadian Singles Chart)". Billboard. Retrieved .
  14. ^ " - Kanye West - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Tracklisten. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  15. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-07-23. Archived from the original on 2015-07-08. Retrieved .
  16. ^ "Kanye West: Diamonds From Sierra Leone" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat - IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  17. ^ " - Kanye West - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  18. ^ " - Discography Kanye West". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  19. ^ "Kanye West - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Hung Medien/ Retrieved .
  20. ^ " - Kanye West - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". VG-lista. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  21. ^ " - Kanye West - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  22. ^ " - Kanye West - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  24. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  25. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  26. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-09-17. Archived from the original on June 9, 2014. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Hot Rap Tracks - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-07-30. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved .
  28. ^ "Pop 100 - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-10-22. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved .
  29. ^ "Rhythmic Top 40 - Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-07-02. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "End of Year Singles Chart Top 100 - 2005". Official Charts Company. Retrieved .
  31. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Songs - 2005 Year End Charts". Billboard. 2005. Retrieved .
  32. ^ "British single certifications - Kanye West - Diamonds from Sierra Leone". British Phonographic Industry.Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Diamonds from Sierra Leone in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "American single certifications - Kanye West - Diamonds from Sierra Leone". Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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