Diamonds from Sierra Leone

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"Diamonds from Sierra Leone"
Single by Kanye West
from the album Late Registration
Released May 31, 2005
Format Digital download
12" maxi single
Recorded 2004
The Record Plant
Grandmaster Recording Studios
(Hollywood, California)
Genre Hip hop
Length 3:58
Label Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Writer(s) Kanye West, Devon Harris, John Barry, Don Black
Producer(s) Kanye West, Jon Brion, Devo Springsteen
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Kanye West singles chronology
"The Corner"
"Diamonds from Sierra Leone"

"Diamonds from Sierra Leone" is a Grammy-winning 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.[1] The song contains a sample of the theme song for the 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever as performed by Shirley Bassey. Bassey was reported to be very impressed with Kanye's performance and stated that she wished to work with him in the future.[2] The song peaked at number forty-three on the Billboard Hot 100, was moderately successful on the iTunes music service, and peaked in the eighth spot on the UK Top 40. It won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song at the 48th Grammy Awards.


After gathering research on the plight of children in West African countries, who since 1991 having been forced to mine conflict diamonds and die in civil wars financed 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. Little was known of Sierra Leone, and how it connect to the diamonds we own"[3] The remix was included as the thirteenth track within the album, whereas the original version was included as a bonus track. It was originally entitled, "Diamonds Are Forever" but because Jay had a song on The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse called "Diamond Is Forever", Kanye had it changed.[citation needed] 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.

Music video

The music video for "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" was directed by Hype Williams[citation needed] and shot entirely in black and white. It was filmed on location in the city of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. West was fascinated by the architecture found in the capital and felt its sculptures, cathedrals, and stone pavements emitted the timeless feel of "Diamonds".[4] 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".

Track listings


Information taken from Late Registration liner.[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

Chart (2005) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[5] 52
Canadian Singles Chart 18[6]
Danish Singles Chart 9[6]
Dutch Singles Chart 9[6]
European Hot 100 32[7]
Finnish Singles Chart 17[6]
German Singles Chart 67[6]
Irish Singles Chart 19[6]
Norwegian Singles Chart 16[6]
Swedish Singles Chart 30[6]
Swiss Singles Chart 52[6]
UK Singles Chart 8[6]
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 43[8]
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 21[9]
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Tracks 11[10]
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 40[11]
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 24[12]


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[13] Gold 500,000

^shipments 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. 1.0 1.1 Late Registration (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2005.CS1 maint: others (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. World Entertainment News Network (2007-10-29). "Shirley Bassey Wants To Work With Kanye West". Starpulsec. Starpulse. Retrieved 2007-10-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Crosley, Hillary; Aswad, Jem (2005-06-14). "'Diamonds' Remix: Kanye Raps About Rocks, Jay Raps About Roc". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2005-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Reid, Shaheem (2005-05-17). "Kanye West Shooting 'Diamonds' Video In 'Pray-Goo'". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved 2005-05-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 "Kanye West – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Retrieved 2009-05-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "European Hot 100 Singles – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-07-23. Retrieved 2005-07-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  8. "The Billboard Hot 100 – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-09-24. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved 2005-09-24. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-09-17. Retrieved 2005-09-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  10. "Hot Rap Tracks – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-07-30. Retrieved 2005-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  11. "Pop 100 – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-10-22. Retrieved 2005-10-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  12. "Rhythmic Top 40 – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 2005-07-02. Retrieved 2005-07-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  13. "American single certifications – Kanye West – Diamonds From Sierra Leone". Recording Industry Association of America.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links