Kanye’s GOOD Fridays are Back: WAVES to Be Released February 11

Paul carbonella

Hip-hop fans rejoice; it’s Yeezy season again. Between designing fashion lines for Adidas and fathering a new baby boy (named Saint, no less), many fans began to wonder when Kanye’s much talked-about follow up to 2013’s Yeezus, titled WAVES, would hit the shelves. But alas, Kanye couldn’t bear to let us down, and instead of making us wait until the record’s tentative February 11 release, he’s rebooted the beloved GOOD Fridays series, in which a new Kanye song will drop every week until WAVES’s official release.

AP photo
(AP photo)

The original GOOD Fridays series kicked off in the 2010, right before the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Some of the songs ended up on the final record, while other one-off tracks faded into the fabric of the internet, their download links lost forever. Songs such as the gritty “Christian Dior Denim Flow,” or the Curtis Mayfield-sampling “The Joy,” featuring Jay-Z.

The songs previewed the maximalist sounds on MBDTF, acting as complimentary elements to better understand the feel of the final record.

This year, Kanye has dropped three such GOOD Fridays so far. The first was “Facts,” an energetic reimagining of Drake and Future’s “Jumpman,” feeling more like a fun throwaway track than a fully realized song, despite its relatively heavy radio play in the last couple weeks.

The next was “Real Friends,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign with some typically lush harmonies.   The beat was produced by Kanye himself, showcasing a melancholy, airy sample from “Frank Dukes and Boi-1da. “Real Friends” is a fully-fleshed out song which manages to trigger a whole range of emotions. Ty Dolla’s vocals are only icing on the cake, and provide the consistently dark sounding beat some much needed soulfulness.

Finally, just last week, Yeezy gave us “No More Parties in L.A.,” featuring Kendrick Lamar over a Junie Morrison-sampling beat from the legendary producer, Madlib. More than the other two, this song feels the most like a classic Kanye track—something that may have been on College Dropout or Late Registration. West’s music is often so consistently polarizing, so willing in its potential to transform the conventions of hip-hop, that West’s actual rapping doesn’t take center stage. This is not the case on “No More Parties,” where Kanye even eclipses Kendrick Lamar (rap’s current tastemaker) in his verses: “I know some fans who thought I wouldn’t rap like this again/ but the writer’s block is over, MCs, cancel your plans.”

In 2015, West said WAVES would be his “BBQ album.” To most fans, this seems to mean a return to the more classic, verse-focused Kanye; a little less serious and a little more fun. But between these three GOOD Friday tracks, it’s becoming more and more difficult to pinpoint exactly what this record will sound like.

It’s refreshing to hear West further explore his musical sensibilities, giving us three tracks with wildly different sounds. The lack of certainty or thematic consistency would probably worry fans of other artists, but this eclecticism has come to be expected from West. Every new West album, whether people like it or not, is pop-culture event. I can only imagine what WAVES will bring us.