(Rapaport…February 9, 2006) Hip hop artist Kanye West, known in the diamond industry for his song “Diamonds from Sierra Leone,” earned a best rap song Grammy at the music industry’s 48th annual event on February 8, 2006. The song won for its lyrics, which in brief, shows reasons not to buy diamonds.
“…Good morning, this ain’t Vietnam still,
People lose hands, legs, arms for real,
Little was known of Sierra Leone,
And how it connect to the diamonds we own,
When I speak of diamonds in this song,
I ain’t talkin bout the ones that be glowin,
I’m talkin bout Roc-A-Fella, my home, my chain,
These ain’t conflict diamonds, is they Jacob?
Don’t lie to me man,
See a part of me sayin’ keep shinin’,
How? When I know what a blood diamond is?
Though it’s thousands of miles away,
Sierra Leone connect to what we go through today,
Over here, its the drug trade, we die from drugs.
Over there, they die from what we buy from drugs,
West’s song and music video draws attention to Sierra Leone’s diamond war, and depicts children getting even with wealthy diamond consumers in present day.
West’s album ‘Late Registration,’ with the track Diamonds from Sierra Leone, earned the top rap Grammy Award. He also won a Grammy Award for best solo performance with the song “Gold Digger.”
In July 2005, West launched Diamonds from Sierra Leone on the Internet to gather buzz before the album’s launch. The move helped boost the song to the top of the charts.
In September 2005, West was accused by singer Shirley Bassey (Diamonds are Forever) of using her voice without permission at the top of his song and threatened legal action.