Even though we’re not even two weeks into the new year, 2016 looks like a promising year for music. According to Kim Kardashian, it sounds like Kanye West fans won’t be waiting any longer for new material, either. The official release date for SWISH is February 11 but Yeezy will be dropping a new track every Friday, just like the G.O.O.D. Fridays series for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010.
This last Friday we were certainly not disappointed, with ‘Ye releasing two songs in one, “Real Friends/No More Parties in LA” featuring both Ty Dolla $ign and Kendrick Lamar, respectively. “Real Friends” was produced by Kanye as well as Frank Dukes, Boi-1da, and Mobb Deep’s Havoc (on the beat) and the snippet “No More Parties in LA” is originally a track produced by MadLib and West in 2010 featuring a sample of Ghostface Killah’s “Mighty Healthy” including a faded out verse by Kendrick — a real tease, yet great juxtaposition.
I’m personally not a huge fan of Yeezus and much of Kanye’s newer productions, but after hearing “Real Friends” and the wee snippet of “No More Parties” I instantly felt the nostalgic and soulful vibes of old Kanye that many have longed for. We hear a real sense of frustration and bitterness, yet guilt over his past relations and fallouts with friends and relatives in “Real Friends,” results of fallout from his accrued success. Undoubtedly introspective and emotional, we see a more genuine perspective into the chaotic lifestyle and obligations of West with the birth of his son, Saint, as well as his financial responsibilities for others, contrasting so greatly from the self-absorbed and seemingly in-control front that he has been putting on for a while now.
The call-and-response between West and Ty Dolla $ign (which comes from the perspective of Kanye’s old friends) exemplifies their chemistry and is an effective method of reinforcing the meaning of the track, driven home with an impressive harmony between the two that might just take your breath away. Although we hear of the many betrayals that Kanye has put up with (like paying his cousin $250k to get back his stolen laptop), ‘Ye maturely doesn’t discredit the fact that he has compromised some of his close relationships himself. Overall, “Real Friends” is a solid introspective track, and hopefully sets the pace for what we’ll be hearing more of on SWISH.