New music from Kanye West never fails to peak the interest of Hip Hop fans, no matter their current opinion of him.
After the less than stellar New Years track “Facts”, hopes for SWISH to be a successful album were greyed for a good number of Ye’s fans. Then, in cinematic style, Kanye slid out “Real Friends”. It felt like stepping into a hot shower after a long day, seeing Kanye put out a track that wore the fingerprints of an artist who cares about his output, something that “Facts” lacked. It’s atmospheric echoing backdrop of a beat served as a plate for Kanye to serve sincere and personal lyrics. I never expected Kanye to swing in with crazy lyrics, I just wanted him to be himself on the mic, like he was back on Graduation. To that point, “Real Friends” feels like a modern “Everything I Am”, that is a bare but melodic instrumental serving as a blank diary page.
If “Real Friends” had reignited my spark of anticipation for SWISH, the Madlib produced “No More Parties in L.A.” spilled kerosene all over the furniture. While I respect the producers Ye invited in for Yeezus, they don’t hold a candle to the style and skill that Madlib exudes on a single loop. Madlib also might actually challenge Ye production wise, forcing him to rewire his craft. Inviting Kendrick on the track also serves as a challenge in the rapping department, and while it’s easy to see Kendrick’s verse was better, Ye really held his own.
Kanye is an incredibly talented artist, so him bringing in artists that can test his iron with fire will only end up sharpening Ye’s style. If SWISH continues this competitive stubbornness, it will most definitely end up being a great record. Kanye doesn’t even have to come out on top of the features and production, as long as he is willing to compete and give his best effort, Ye will end up making good music.
art by your homie, Arthur Banach
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