“Diamonds” has proven to be one of the biggest hits of Rihanna’s career, but it almost wasn’t her song at all. In fact, Eminem actually recorded a version of it before she did, according to the song’s co-producer, Benny Blanco.
Speaking about the track with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Blanco revealed that he originally intended the song to be for Kanye West or Lana Del Rey:
“We wanted it to be a Kanye song or a Lana Del Ray song, I remember, at first. And we were like, ‘OK, yeah, cool, let’s do that.’ And then, I remember [song co-writer] Sia, just writing. Sia, being Sia, she can write like 700 songs in one second. This was before Uber and she was like, ‘ I just called the car. It says it’s going to be 15 minutes. Pull up a beat.’ Pull up a beat…. melody, lyrics, everything. Done, OK. Then, we’re listening to it a few days later, and [song co-producer] Stargate’s like, ‘Yo, we’re giving this song to Rihanna. It’s going to go.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, man. Should we keep the beat for Kanye? I don’t know about it. I don’t know if it’s… I don’t know.’
He then went on to discuss how he learned that Eminem had actually recorded a version of the track before Rihanna did:
“Then I remember I had given a beat CD like a month earlier to Paul Rosenberg to give to Eminem. And apparently, Eminem had done a song to it, too, and I didn’t even know. […] Paul was like, ‘Man, Em had that beat on hold.’ I was like, ‘What? I didn’t even know.’ So, I’m sitting there, and then I finally am like, ‘You know what, Stargate?’ I let go. I said, ‘You guys know better. Let’s do it.’ 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.’ And then, this is how life works, full circle: Kanye West does a remix to the song.”
Check out more from Blanco’s interview with Lowe below.