When it comes to channeling famous musicians, Jamie Foxx can’t be beat. He won an Oscar for portraying Ray Charles, he crushed Jimmy Fallon’s Wheel of Musical Impressions, and now he’s even tackled the inimitable Kanye West.
During a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Foxx delivered a pitch-perfect West impersonation while recalling how he first met — and initially underestimated — the young rapper-producer.
The two met years ago at one of Foxx’s star-studded parties, he said. “This kid walks in with a backpack on, and his jaw is busted. And I said, ‘Who’s that?’ and they said, ‘That’s Kanye West.'”
After being impressed by a West freestyle, Foxx got into the studio with him and took a crack at what would become “Slow Jamz,” off West’s 2004 album The College Dropout.
West may have been less bombastic in those days — according to Foxx’s impression, at least — but he was just as sure of himself, instructing Foxx not to put any R&B flourishes on the track. “Just sing it simple, because it’s hip-hop,” West said.
Foxx grudgingly obliged and wrote off the song, then turned his attention to a ill-fated movie project. A little while later, a friend gave him the news: “Remember that song you said was wack? It’s No. 1 in the country.”
Watch the clip above for more.