Love Lockdown

"Love Lockdown"
Single by Kanye West
from the album 808s & Heartbreak
Released September 18, 2008
Recorded 2008
Glenwood Studios
(Burbank, California);
Avex Recording Studio
(Honolulu, Hawaii)
Length 4:30
  • West
  • Bhasker
Kanye West singles chronology
"Stay Up! (Viagra)"
"Love Lockdown"

"Love Lockdown" is a song by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released September 18, 2008 as the lead single of his studio album 808s & Heartbreak. Written and produced by West and musician Jeff Bhasker, it was premiered by West at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards prior to its release as a single. Primarily a minimal pop and R&B song, "Love Lockdown" contains elements of synthpop and electronic music, and is characterized by the Roland TR-808 drum machine and auto-tune vocals sung by West.

Despite being a drastic departure from his previous work, the song was well received by critics, and was frequently cited as a highlight of the album. Time magazine critic Josh Tyrangiel named "Love Lockdown" the best song of 2008.[1] The single was also successful commercially, as it managed to debut at number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and has since sold over three million copies in the United States.[2]


Kanye West debuted "Love Lockdown" on September 7, 2008, as the closing performance of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. On September 18, he released it as the lead single of 808s & Heartbreak. After announcing it as the album's first single, West posted free copies of the song on his blog for fans to download. A week later, he also posted six downloadable stems, each featuring isolated song portions of "Love Lockdown", on his blog, with the intention of enabling fans to freely remix the song for themselves.[3] These portions include an a cappella, distorted background vocals, 808, percussion, piano, and the outro synth-beat.[4] The song is featured in the first episode edition of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned on the in-game contemporary hip-hop radio station, The Beat 102.7 hosted by DJ Green Lantern. In 2016, poet and musician Saul Williams revealed that he worked on the track, but was uncredited.[5][6]

Music and structure

Inspired by 1980s synthpop icons such as Phil Collins, Gary Numan, and Boy George, "Love Lockdown," much like 808s as a whole, is composed as a brooding pop and "minimalist" R&B song sung by West using the Auto-Tune vocal effect and produced with the Roland TR-808 drum machine.[7][8] It is composed in the key of C# minor, set in the time signature of common time, and moves at 119.5 beats per minute. West's vocal range spans nearly two octaves, from G#2 to G#4. The song is written in a verse-chorus form that expresses quiet-loud dynamics, featuring verses delivered in a low, somber tone before shifting into loud, chanting choruses.

Going further against the typical sound of hip hop beat, along with the 808, the track instead makes use of tribal drums for its instrumentation.[9] West stated his intention was to juxtapose the mechanical sounds of the auto-tune and 808s with the more traditional sounds of taiko drums and choir monks.[10] The song is minimal in nature, retaining a repetitious bassline before building into more layered sounds within the chorus.[7]

Chart performance

In the United States, Billboard confirmed that "Love Lockdown" sold 213,000 digital downloads in only four full days of release, therefore earning itself the title of a "Hot Shot Debut" at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and a "Hot Shot Debut" on the Pop 100 at number thirteen, where it eventually reached the eighth spot in early January. It is the highest debut of West's career, and was the second highest debut on the Hot 100 of 2008, tied with David Cook's "The Time of My Life." "Love Lockdown" is also only the tenth song of the decade to debut in the top three, and only the second by an artist unaffiliated with American Idol.[11] The single also made a "Hot Shot Debut" at number five on the Canadian Hot 100.[12]

In Europe, "Love Lockdown" peaked at number eight the UK Singles Chart and at number four on the Irish Singles Chart. It also debuted at thirty-eight in Italy and thirty-nine in Sweden. In Australia, the song debuted in its first week at thirty-seven on the ARIA Charts and peaked at number eighteen. In New Zealand, it has peaked at the eleventh spot on the RIANZ chart. On the German Singles Chart, "Love Lockdown" debuted at number eight, giving West his first top ten and highest charting single in Germany to date.

Music video

The music video for "Love Lockdown" was directed by Simon Henwood and premiered on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday, October 7, 2008.[13] On BET J, the video appeared at #32 on the Last Call 2008! Top 50 Countdown. It was filmed in West's apartment and features him in an all-white room, also dressed in white singing the verses of the song. West claims he drew inspiration from Christian Bale's portrayal of Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron's 2000 film adaptation of the novel American Psycho, a homage that is echoed in the presentation of the video's interiors, which mirror Bateman's New York City apartment in the film.[14] During the song's choruses, African tribe members appear, beating on djembe drums to the rhythm of song. More and more tribal members are shown with each chorus, and near the end, two very tall female figures covered with body paint decorated with abstract tattoo patterns reminiscent of the Nazca Lines appear. Interspersed throughout the video are visuals of what appears to be a spacecraft. The video ends with West laying in fetal position on the couch in the white room, in a homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The video was nominated for Video of the Year, Best Male Video, and Best Hip-Hop Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. It did not win any of the nominations.

Track listing

UK CD Single

  1. "Love Lockdown" - 4:30

EU 4-Track CD single

  1. "Love Lockdown" - 4:30
  2. "Flashing Lights" (Album Version) - 3:57
  3. "Stronger" (A-Trak Remix) - 4:38
  4. "Love Lockdown" (video)

UK 12" Picture Disc

  1. "Love Lockdown" - 4:30

CD Single Remixes

  1. "Love Lockdown" (Aerotronic Remix) - 4:12
  2. "Love Lockdown" (Chew Fu Small Room Fix) - 4:43
  3. "Love Lockdown" (Flufftronix Edit) - 5:04
  4. "Love Lockdown" (Instrumental) - 4:11
  5. "Love Lockdown" (Jake Troth Remix) - 2:46
  6. "Love Lockdown" (Main) - 4:31
  7. "Love Lockdown" (Radio Edit) - 4:15


Information taken from 808s & Heartbreak liner notes.[15]

Charts and sales

Weekly charts

Chart (2008–09) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[16] 18
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[17] 18
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[18] 13
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[19] 38
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[20] 5
Denmark (Tracklisten)[21] 4
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[22] 16
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[23] 10
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[24] 20
Germany (Official German Charts)[25] 8
Hungary Single Top 10 (Mahasz)[26] 5
Ireland (IRMA)[27] 4
Israel (Media Forest)[28] 1
Italy (FIMI)[29] 38
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[30] 11
Norway (VG-lista)[31] 14
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[32] 11
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 18
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[35] 3
US Dance/Mix Show Airplay (Billboard)[36] 7
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[37] 26
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[38] 26
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[39] 10
US Pop 100 (Billboard)[40] 8
US Radio Songs (Billboard)[41] 11
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[42] 7

Year-end charts

Charts (2008) Position
Canadian Hot 100[43] 95
UK Singles Chart[44] 43
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[45] 74
Charts (2009) Position
Canadian Hot 100[46] 65
Hungarian Singles Chart[47] 130
UK Singles Chart[44] 187
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[48] 44

Sales and certifications

Country Provider Certification Sales
Australia ARIA Gold[49] 35,000+
New Zealand RIANZ Gold[50] 7,500+
United States RIAA 3x Platinum[2] 3,000,000+

Covers and remixes

Usage in media


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  2. 1 2 "RIAA – Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Nielsen Business Media Inc. 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  3. Kreps, Daniel (2008-09-25). "Kanye West Lets Fans Remix "Love Lockdown" For Free". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  4. West, Kanye (2008-09-25). "LOVE LOCK DOWN STEMS!!!". Kanye West/Mascotte Holdings. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  5. S., Nathan (2016-02-26). "Saul Williams Says He Ghostwrote for Kanye West". DJ Booth. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  6. Saul Williams Breaks Down his Influence on Kanye's "808s & Heartbreak" + Performs Live
  7. 1 2 "MTV News RAW: Kanye West". MTV. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  8. Whiteley, Sheila (March 1, 2016). The Oxford Handbook of Music and Virtuality (Oxford Handbooks in Music). OUP USA. p. 363. ISBN 978-0199321285. "Love Lockdown", a contemporary minimalist R&B song
  9. Shaheem, Reid (2008-10-15). "Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak Album Preview: More Drums, More Singing, 'No Typical Hip-Hop Beats'". MTV. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  10. "Video: Kanye West Visits Conan O'Brien". Rap Up. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  11. Bonson, Fred (2008-09-25). "Chart Beat". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on September 26, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  12. [vnu_content_id=1003854860]
  13. DeGeneres, Ellen (2008-10-07). "Kanye West's World Premiere Video!". WAD Productions. Archived from the original on October 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
  14. World Entertainment News Network (2008-10-08). "Kanye West Inspired By Christian Bale's 'American Psycho'". Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  15. 808s & Heartbreak (Media notes). Kanye West. Roc-A-Fella Records. 2008. 0-06025-1791919-8.
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  37. "Kanye West – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Kanye West. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  38. "Kanye West – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Kanye West. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  39. "Kanye West – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Kanye West. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
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  42. "Kanye West – Chart history" Billboard Rhythmic Songs for Kanye West. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
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  49. "Top 40 Urban Albums & Singles Chart". ARIA. Australian Recording Industry Association Ltd. 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  50. "Chart #1651: Love Lockdown Gold certification". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. 2009-01-12. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  51. (October 13, 2008). Tondeff Explains Kanye West Edit, 2009 For QN5
  52. (December 7, 2008) Trendsetter aka Mark Holiday official myspace
  53. YouTube - Janina Gavankar - Love Lockdown
  54. "(August 21, 2010)".
  55. (July 15, 2014)
  56. DJGENERAL Interviews Stephen Stohn Pt 2 (DEGRASSI EPISODE TITLES 1025-1044) – Kary's Degrassi Blog
Preceded by
"Miss Independent" by Ne-Yo
UK R&B Chart number-one single
November 1, 2008
Succeeded by
"If I Were A Boy" by Beyoncé
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