This past year and some change's been a rollercoaster ride for those of us willing to drop everything to listen to some new Kanye West music. The top of 2015 arrived with an album seemingly on the horizon, momentum building with "Only One" and "All Day," and then nothing and then the album was now called SWISH and then the album leaked and then Lamar Odom somehow heard it (?!?!) and then he dropped "Facts" and it was factually terrible and it was enough to make even the most devout Kanye believer begin to doubt.
Today salvation came in the form of "Real Friends." (Which Kanye posted to his official SoundCloud account and then removed 47 seconds later because there was "a slight distortion in the main loop." The man's nothing if not a perfectionist. And now it's back.)
Thank you sweet baby Jeezus, thank you.
"Facts" was Kanye imitating Drake's flow, essentially calling Lebron James a slave to Nike, and then lashing out at the media for pointing out that he called Lebron a slave to Nike. "Real Friends" by contrast is some of that soulful Kanye that brings me right back to the MBDTF era, right down to the more mellow vibe and the heavy collaboration on the song's creation (Ty Dolla $ign, Frank Dukes, Boi-1da and Havoc).
In many ways the song's a close relative of "Runaway" and "Devil in a New Dress," soul-sample based songs with piano intros that found Kanye both pointing the finger at those who have failed him while also acknowledging his own shortcomings. If this is indeed the first in a new weekly series meant to echo GOOD Fridays, maybe "Real Friends" will soon result in an album as good as MBDTF. Hey, a man can dream, right?
Also, can we talk about how apparently Kanye's cousin blackmailed him for $250,000 by stealing a Kanye laptop full of incriminating evidence that he was, shall we say, very promiscuous? Apparently that's a real thing that really happened in real life. Also-also, can we talk about that "No More Parties In L.A." snippet featuring Kendrick (and produced by Madlib)? I'd slap my grandmother to hear that right now. Sorry grandma.
Ok Kanye, you got me. It feels good to be rushing to get my good headphones on during a Friday, closing my eyes and just letting some 'Ye dopeness soak in. I'm totally onboard for this weekly series, let's do this thing.
Fun Extra Fact #1: Kanye made "No More Parties in LA" over two years ago with Madlib (skip to the 21:45 mark).
Fun Extra Fact #2: The source code for "Real Friends" on Kanye's site contains an Easter egg.
[By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]