According to Kanye, the verse began as a poem he emailed to Kim Kardashian because he had the beat but no lyrics. He made the revelation at his Glastonbury 2015 headline set.
This song was featured in Kanye’s movie “Runaway” as the closing track.
The song’s introduction and the chorus’s interpolation are from Bon Iver’s Woods from their EP Blood Bank. The chorus structure mimics Bon Iver’s song structure. While Bon Iver laments about the woods, West expands the scope of the song outside of the woods to the city and beyond to America as a whole.