Kanye examines the “gold digger” phenomenon and sheds light on relationships on this hit single. The song’s hook was originally written for Shawnna and performed from a female’s perspective with lines like

I’m not sayin' I’m a gold digger, but I ain’t messin' with no broke niggas.

Kanye had previously performed the second verse at a Slam Poetry event.

The beat was produced by Kanye with Jon Brion. “Gold Digger” contains a bouncy beat formed from handclaps and scratches by DJ A-Trak and an interpolation during the introduction of “I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles, who featured artist Jamie Foxx played in the 2004 biopic Ray and later won the Academy Award for Best Actor for it. Now that’s synergy!