Single Review: Kanye West, Real Friends by Patrycja Poplawska

Kanye West debuted in 2004 with his album The College Dropout and since then he has never failed to make headlines with his ‘egotistical’ attitude and ‘controversial’ deeds. All the way from the well known ‘Imma let you finish’ moment at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when he defended Beyoncé at Taylor Swift’s cost, to some of his troublesome lyrics and his recent ‘Famous’ music video, Kanye West has built up quite a reputation which is vexing to some, amusing to others but inspiring to his millions and millions of followers.

Single Review: Kanye West, Real Friends

Despite this, Kanye still continues his career. His recent album The Life Of Pablo was released in the early months of 2016. As amazing as it is, the one song that stands out from the rest, for me personally, is ‘Real Friends’.

The beat seems quite simplistic but also very catchy. If you get this song in your head in the morning, it won’t be out by the time you’re eating dinner. However, it does allow you to focus more on the words and the message because of its simplicity. What I love about this song is it’s meaning. The first verse speaks more of the fact that you can’t always trust the people you call your friends; it questions how many of the ‘smiles’ are ‘honest’. This is something that, probably, many members of his teenage audience can relate to. Not every person who claims to be your friend is always worthy of you and this verse highlights this idea.

Celebrities also have real feelings and real problems

The hook, sang by Ty Dolla $ign, is short and straightforward but also sang from the perspective of Kanye’s ‘former friends’. It’s about how they -or probably mostly Kanye- became ‘too busy’ to even ‘make time’ something that they put effort into doing when they were younger. Meanwhile, the second partially speaks of the fact that being a husband, father and artist has made Kanye’s life hectic and he has fallen out of rhythm with all his friends to the point where he can’t even tell them ‘how old his daughter is’ which , I believe, is a really effective way to reflect what the lives of many celebrities must look like. Many of us see famous people as faces on a screen but we forget that they are also real people with real feelings and real problems which may have been caused by the chaos that fame has caused them.

I think that the atmosphere of this song is melancholy. Even the introduction gives away the fact that this is not you regular upbeat number one hit about sunshine and butterflies. The words are raw and real. The writers did a good job of ensuring that people understand the song and understand how it relates to Kanye, other celebrities and in some cases also the listener. Without a doubt, ‘Real Friends’ is my favourite song from The Life Of Pablo. Followed by ‘I love Kanye’, obviously.