Rihanna’s multi-platinum banger “Diamonds” was originally supposed to be for Eminem.
In a new interview with Apple Music, the producer of the Billboard-topping hit Benny Blanco admitted that he did not have Rihanna in mind for the track initially. When he originally wrote the song with Sia and Stargate, Blanco recalls that he wanted either Kanye West or Lana Del Rey to cut the track. Meanwhile, Stargate was adamant that it should be Riri who got what would have become one of the biggest hits of her career.
Benny Blanco tells Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that “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.’” Blanco had sent the beat to Paul Rosenberg for Eminem around the same time and had no idea that the rapper actually cut the song.
“I remember, at the same time, I had given a beat CD like a month earlier to Paul Rosenberg to give to Eminem,” Blanco explained. “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 producer eventually let it go and told Stargate, “You guys know better. Let’s do it.” He later realized just how great of a decision it was. “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.’” “Diamonds” was released in 2012 as the lead single for Rihanna’s Unapologetic album and became her 12th Billboard No. 1 single. It is currently certified 6x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Interestingly enough, while Benny Blanco did not get to make the song Kanye West’s like he initially intended, the billionaire rapper did end up hopping on the remix to the popular track. “And then, this is how life works, full circle. Kanye West does a remix to the song,” said Blanco.
Elsewhere in the interview, Benny Blanco recalled when he once accidentally kissed Beyoncé while staying at her house in the Hamptons. On his third night as their guest, the producer was telling the Carters good night after a fun night of drinking when he experienced one of the most awkward moments of his life.
“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. Though he intended to peck the singer on her cheek, Blanco says he missed. “I definitely hit the corner of some sort of lip,” he said.
As for how Jay-Z reacted, Blanco says he was sure he was a dead man as he glared over at the rap-mogul after the blunder. “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.’” However, Hov was either extremely cool about it or he never noticed at all. “He’s like, ‘All right, bro. See you tomorrow,’” he reportedly said.
Benny Blanco has written and produced countless songs for artists in the industry. We could never imagine that Eminem had recorded a song on the beat for “Diamonds” though. Is anyone else curious about what that record might sound like?