To promote My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West started G.O.O.D. Fridays, a series of news songs that were released just about every Friday until the album dropped. These songs were excellent and would’ve been highlights on the rap albums of any other artist. In the spirit of Good Friday (I promise there is no sacrilege intended in this article), I will rank Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Fridays releases from worst to best.
NOTE: Any songs that made it onto MBDTF (sorry, “Monster”, “Devil In a New Dress”, and “So Appalled”) or any other Kanye album (l8r, Watch the Throne’s “The Joy”) as well as any song that came out after MBDTF (peace, “Christmas In Harlem”) were not included on this list. If you are curious, "The Joy" would've been top 3.
10.) “Take One For the Team” ft. Keri Hilson and Cyhi the Prynce
"Take One for the Team" is a funny song about needing a wingman to distract a cute girl's not-so attractive friend. Pusha T plays the hero and takes one for the team. While the song has the potential, there's too much working against it. The beat gives me a headache, Keri Hilson's chorus is obnoxious, and somehow Cyhi the Prynce sneaked his way into a song. He's all over these releases, but he tends to disappear in every one of them. In other words, he's the playoffs Peyton Manning of G.O.O.D. Music.
BEST BARS: "I hate pictures of other people's kids/I hate plastic couches in other people's cribs/I hate when other people's cribs smell like shit/I hate when I leave and smell like the crib"- Kanye
9.) “Don’t Look Down” ft. Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, and Big Sean
"Don't Look Down" has its problems. I'd much rather hear Mos Def rap than sing this mediocre hook, and the piano instrumental doesn't wow me. That being said, this song is a display of building a story, especially by Lupe. Usually known for his absurd lyricism (listen to "Mural" if you disagree), he pieces together the story of a woman, in the form of a phoenix, leaving him. Kanye's voice-modulated verse sounds nice harmonically, but it's not special compared to his other work. Big Sean's double time verse is the best part of the song without question. While this song shaped the narrative of MBDTF as well as its music video, it's wasn't good enough to be put in the album.
BEST BARS: "One, two, three, four, five models on the double/ Give me head all at once, look like they lying in a huddle."- Big Sean
8.) “Lord Lord Lord” ft. Mos Def, Swizz Beatz, Raekwon, and Charlie Wilson
The beat is perfectly laid-back, enhanced by Swizz Beatz "This is something special" pre-hook. Kanye's verse filled with great one liners like "Now that nuts, I only hang with white boys that like black sluts" and "if I'm a douche then put me in your coochie". Wu-Tang's Raekwon delivers with a smooth delivery with nice d-boy rhymes like "It's like being in the livest Lambo in the hood/You a piece of steak I'd rather be that than some bacon." "Lord Lord Lord" would be ranked much higher if Swizz Beatz's verse didn't exist because every time Swizz Beatz tries to rap, a kitten dies.
BEST BARS: "I got lines that's better than niggas' albums, plural/The king of the urban make your shit sound rural/She said I hit it so deep she need a epidural/Them other niggas have you looking like a squirrel."- Ye
7.) “Runaway Love (Remix)” ft. Raekwon and Justin Bieber
If you ever expected to hear the Biebs (combed-over coif Biebs, that is) singing over a Wu-Tang beat in your lifetime, I would ask what you were smoking and where could I get some. Yet, here we are: Kanye spliced "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit" with Bieber's "Runaway Love", and it actually works. Raekwon continues with his low-key boasting, claiming he's "got more stacks than the International House of Pancakes." Kanye puts on for both JB and Wu-Tang, a group who was a huge influence to his career. We're starting to get to the G.O.O.D. stuff!
Was the pun meant sent to my brainwaves to enhance this article...
BEST BARS: "Last name West and my teeth diamonds/She said, 'yo what's your occupation, crazy rhyming?'/Listen to Wu-Tang, trying suits on/Accoutrements is Grey Poupon"- Yeezus
6.) “Looking For Trouble” ft. Cyhi the Prynce, Pusha T, Big Sean, and J. Cole
The song is a retort to Dipset's "Toast", a diss track aimed at Kanye that samples "Runaway". Is there a better way to get even than to have a better song over an enemies track? Dipset thought so but were unsuccessful. Kanye wasn't. He and his crew (along with mixtape-level J.Cole) go in on Cam'ron's "Bubble Music", humbly boasting "Looking for trouble?...You found it, motherfucka."
Ye continues to drop hilarious bars like "The devil stay testing/ ’cause when you chase the pussy it’s a sin
But if it falls in your lap, it’s a blessin." The beat knocks, and the crew holds its own (especially Big Sean -- definitely can see what all the hype was for now), but then J.Cole steals the track. The conclusion to his verse was so mean that Kanye let him have it for his Friday Night Lights mixtape.
Went from quarter to broke to half past rich with my badass bitch
And you don’t want no problems on some math class shit
So check the young genius out
Fuck the world, bust a nut, and let my semen sprout
I thought that real shit is what you been fiendin' ’bout
What you been praying fo’? What you been screamin' ’bout?
Ironic you been sleeping on the one that you been dreamin' ’bout"
5.) “Christian Dior Denim Flow” ft. Kid Cudi, Pusha T, John Legend, Lloyd Banks, and Ryan Leslie
As you can probably tell, the G.O.O.D. Friday tracks are mostly posse cuts. Kanye is no newcomer to the posse cut game as evidenced by "Swagga Like Us", "Mercy", "Forever", "Clique", "Monster" and many more. "Christian Dior Denim Flow" is right up there with the others. John Legend, whom I believe has the best male vocal delivery in music at the moment, nails his hook. His voice bleeds with pain as he sings "I don't know why I keep calling, why I keep calling you." Kanye goes in with his distorted vocals, name dropping brands and models like a checklist. Meanwhile, Pusha T continues his consistently strong rhymes across all of these tracks. "CDDF" gets off to a great start, but it really picks up once the beats slows down. After Push's verse, a mean break beat occurs. When that beat drops out, the bass line chugs along slowly and the best verses are dropped.
The ultimate winner in the song is Kid Cudi. I'll never forgive Ye for criminally underusing Cudi throughout his time on G.O.O.D. Music, but he always shined in the few spots given to him. His work on "Gorgeous", "Guilt Trip", and especially here on "CDDF" are inspired and unique. It helped that this song came out right around Man On The Moon 2's release when Cudi's influence was at its peak. I'm hoping he can recapture that mojo on MOTM3. It was so dope.
BEST BARS: "Christian Dior denim flow/I told her I’m trying to eat out/So what we going to dinner for?" - Malcolm West
4.) “Chain Heavy” ft. Talib Kweli and Consequence
If anyone was looking for old school Kanye, stop looking. This song brings back memories of College Dropout. The legendary Q-Tip produces the track (Fun Fact: Q-Tip is undefeated in the game of life) and the combo of jazzy basslines, ghost-like sound effects created from a Moog synthesizer, and the drum kick make this song KNOCK.
He brings out Talib and Consequence to rap with him as if this was "Get 'Em High" or "Spaceship". To the songs benefit and Kanye's defecit, they both outrap him.
Some wear a suit and tie, they don't wanna remain average
Some wear a suit and tie like a chain and a straight jacket,
My chain heavy, stop in that traffic, coppers harass us
Then DA attack us, want us in chains like B.A. Baracus.
-Talib "Lyrics Stick To Your Rib" Kweli.
3.) “Don’t Stop!” - Child Rebel Soldier (Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Pharrell Williams)
Kanye. Lupe. Pharrell. Back in 2010 these three were in peculiar spots in their careers: Kanye was just returning to the spotlight after the Taylor Swift controversy; Lupe was fighting with Atlantic Records over the creative control of his music; Pharrell had been all over the place producing, rapping, singing, and composing but without scoring his own breakthrough solo album. They have worked together as Child Rebel Soldier in the past (with help from the music mastermind Thom Yorke), and hearing them together again was a treat.
"Don't Stop!" is an example of these three at the height of their powers. Pharrell is more famous for his singing and production, but he can spit, proven by bars like "My flow interrupts your homeostasis/I Rolls-Royce it on a regular basis." Lupe displays his lyrical virtuosity with internal and external rhymes like "For terror made in America, too live/Fuck the property or give me my props properly/For terror made in America, too live/High off life this high technology, DeVry." Kanye goes Kanye with lines like "N * * * * s is hating on the internet I couldn’t tell/I was too busy rapping, G.O.O.D. as hell/I was too busy flying, parasail/To Colette to get the new shit that Paris sell."
The rhymes will always be there with this trio, but they can't compare to the amazing instrumental that they're rapping over. Kanye takes Afro-Cuban rhythms and horns phrases, meshes them with a synth pattern and adds a female "Don't Stop" vocal loop, all without overpowering the rapping! The bridge is utterly flawless as well.
Ye, Lu, and Pharrell are in very different places right now. CRS will probably never materialize but I'm just happy we ever have a taste like we do with "Don't Stop!" Their combined lyrical and instrumental chops make Child Rebel Soldier one of the best rap groups that never was.
Some girls do grab the cojones
Say "you got enough diamonds to at least Sierra Leone(loan) us"
Brand new Ferraris, I gotta make the donuts
CRS is like a hip-hop Christmas bonus.
2.) “Power (Remix)” ft. Jay-Z
It's funny to think that there was a time when Jay-Z was seen as a big brother to Ye. That notion proved unconvincing after MBDTF and completely vanished after they dropped Watch The Throne together. "Power (Remix)" is the last time Hov would be considered the superior to Kanye ever again.
One reason why is because this is Hov's last paternal verse to Ye. He gives him advice explaining "Life is a trip, so sometimes we gonna stumble/You gotta go through pain in order to become you/But once the world numbs you, you’ll feel like it’s only one you." It's a genuine big brother moment, and in a recent pattern of inconsistency from Jay, he drops an excellent verse.
The real reason, however, is because Kanye rises to new heights. His first verse boasts about his triumphant return after his hiatus, stating "My socket was out the plug, now it’s time to get the power back." If Kanye's determination was ever questioned, the line "I don’t stop until I see the end, my vision clear, bitch/I’m on my Van Gogh, I don’t hear shit" put an end to it. His next verse details his political views: support the troops, bring them home, and don't blame a radical religious set, backing the latter by dropping a line in Arabic.
Once the beat switches up to the "I've Got The Power", Kanye unleashes with lines like "But I be feeling like Jordan when I’m recording/‘Cause every time I record, I dunk and slap the boards" and "Don’t even think you can allude to the rumors/I’m immune to the boos, I’ma prove to you losers." The change is completed once he says that Jay's his big brother:
Number one sound across the board, hey
Number one now and forevermore, hey
Number one rule is n * * * * * s don’t hate
Maybe I’ll drop the album, nah, all y’all gotta wait
Yeezy called his shot four months before MBDTF came out. Fear of failure is the only thing that could've held Kanye West back.He has been the biggest rock star since that album's release because he has the power to control his fears.
1.) “G.O.O.D. Friday” ft. Common, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, and Charlie Wilson
You know that feeling after finishing a hard week? The melting of all your worries? Kanye gave that incredible feeling its own anthem with "G.O.O.D. Friday".
Everything about this song is amazing. Kanye's intro, punctuated with that hysterical "oooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!". Kid Cudi's hook. Charlie Wilson's voice fitting in so nicely to the bright tinkling keys (which btw is the same sample that Biz Markie used for "Just A Friend". That boom bap drum beat. THAT BOOM BAP DRUM BEAT! Many days of mine were made after hearing that beat.
The early part of the song set the tone for the following introductory verses from the recently-signed (circa 2010, mind you) Pusha T and Big Sean. We had heard King Push's work with Clipse, and knew his bars like "Money drive you crazy, look at Marbury’s handle/Vaseline face, reminiscent of my tires/Ice cream paint job, something like Breyer's" are the norm for him.
I don't think we knew the capabilities of Big Sean -- a recent G.O.O.D. music signee who has just dropped out of college to join the label -- in 2010. This verse was the one that put him on the map. His goofy delivery, unorthodox flow, and hilarious bars that have become his M.O. won me over instantly.
The reason why this song tops my list (and trust me, it's #1 by a wide margin) is because of all the good memories tied to it. When this song came out I was an overwhelmed, lost freshman desperately trying to find my place in my new surroundings. These releases were ice breakers, an excuse to talk to someone and make a connection. I'll never forget sitting with my buddy Schmale in math class that Friday, ranting and raving about this song, creating this bond that would eventualy end up in us being roommates. It's the same bond I shared with my other new friends at school when we played the song at pregames as we drank Four Lokos and talked about our high school experiences. It's not just a school memory but one from home as well: one I tie to rapping along to the song as my friends and I were at Sandy Cove in Cohasset.
"G.O.O.D. Friday" is the one song that never fails to brighten my mood. It can give me that Friday feelign every day of the week.
BEST BARS: "Man, I always thought with the head inside my drawers/I guess that’s why in school, my grades went from A's to B's to C's/All over double D's, I be absent all week" - Big Sean
"This is for my n* * * * * s, all the ones I ride for/Man, that’s the fam, we let ‘em in through the side door/Hold on: That’s the girl you gave a wedding ring?/Man, me and my n* * * * *s nutted on her everything!"- Big Sean, nice to meet you.
GOOD FRIDAY I HOPE HAVE YOU HAVE A NICE WEEKEND!