Track Review: ‘Real Friends’ – Kanye West

Yeezy Season Has Arrived

real friends kanye

G.O.O.D Fridays are back. On the 8th of January Kanye West, self-proclaimed “greatest-living rock star on the planet” and arguably the biggest name in the game right now, released the track ‘Real Friends’ featuring Ty Dolla $ign. The second G.O.O.D Friday release after the New Year’s Day gift ‘Facts’, this new piece which Kanye self-produced was met by fans who hoped for a return to pre-Yeezus ‘Ye, and were not disappointed with the result.

From the get-go the song holds an air of sentimentality and melancholy, with the ethereal, glossy piano sounds giving off a sense of sadness or contemplation. The drum loop is simple but effective, reminiscent of a beat that Kanye would’ve produced around the time of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This continues throughout the track, allowing the Chicagoan rapper the freedom to not have to focus too much on the structure of the beat, but on his own lyrics. And boy does he use that freedom. This is a Kanye West that we haven’t seen in a long while, perhaps too long. From start to finish he questions the idea of ‘real friends’ and how many he actually has around him that are honest, while also criticizing  himself on his lack of care he shows over his wider family and whether its best to leave them alone due to his status. This introspective ‘Ye (who adopts a flow much like that of his College Dropout days) seemingly crumbles under the pressure of stardom and the ‘fakeness’ it attracts. He asks whether he’s the problem for not being able to find many people he can actually trust who aren’t just with him for the profit, the lines:

“I had a cousin that stole my laptop that I was fuckin’ bitches on, paid that nigga 250 thousand just to get it from him, real friends Huh?”

are hard-hitting to say the least. It’s refreshing to see Kanye open up after only knowing the egotistical side of him for so long (insert Yeezus diss here), with a compelling beat to match it. Ty Dolla $ign lends his vocals too, his singing acting as what I assume is Kanye’s inner conscience, helping add to the track’s emotional, darker presence.

In addition the song features a snippet of the track ‘No More Parties in LA’ featuring Kendrick Lamar, one which also sounds promising with the distinct production from Madlib, although I’ll undoubtedly be talking about that more in the future. Overall the song (Real Friends) is excellent, proving that when he really commits to it, Kanye hasn’t lost his touch and can still create some incredible-sounding music.




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