“Good Friday” (feat. Kid Cudi, Common, Pusha-T, Big Sean, & Charlie Wilson)
Hey! I want to end the week on an up-note, you know? Despite my last few posts about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I am a happy, well-adjsuted type of person. It’s just, you know, there’s so much everything going on all the time in life. You just find the things that help you connect with it.
Kanye’s music is, above all, a celebration. It’s usually a celebration of himself, but nearly as often it’s a celebration of his family, his friends, the cities he’s been in — everything, life. This song, “Good Friday”, is probably my favorite non-album track. There are of course some other G.O.O.D. Fridays releases that recommend themselves: “Power” remix with the non-CEO of MegaUpload, Swizzy; “Christian Dior Flow” is excellent: swaggy and crispy in a good way; “Take One For The Team” is like amazing for just about every reason; “Christmas In Harlem” would have been great on Beyonce’s 4.
But “Good Friday” is the highest high point. It’s practically the title track. It’s a bridge from past to present. The first line,
Party people in the place to be
You are now in the midst of a real MC
Throw your hands in the air if you’re real as me.
alludes to the classic Boogie Down Productions song “South Bronx”, which itself was a shot in the “Bridge Wars” between KRS-One and Marley Marl (that guy mentioned on the one Girl Talk song with Biggie, remember?). So right away, Kanye’s encapsulating his own weird freegan G.O.O.D. Friday project within the larger frame of hip-hop’s genesis. You should also note that just a few years before this, Kanye thought he was over hip-hop and that ‘throw your hands in the air’ mentality.
“Good Friday” is a throwback tune and an anodyne for his recently complicated, douchebag music. Not really a banger, but it’s got those crazy big drums: they’re loud and clip just a bit like the 808s and Heartbreak-era drums, but they’ve also got that dry-wet mix echo that RZA was so great at making. The song sounds great out a car trunk.
I used to kind of despise this song. I think most things I end up liking, I at one point sort of despised it. A big part of the song’s old-new dynamic is that it’s a showcase for Pusha-T and Big Sean, some recent G.O.O.D. Records signees at the time. Pusha-T acquits himself just fine. If he could write funny, smart, tight verses like,
As ‘Ye flips the piano
The mood swings like the change of a channel
He’s heating up like they wrapped him in flannel
Selling kilos through your iPod Nano
I would buy into his nascent solo career. It totally cracks me up, how he mashes up his characteristic trap rap cliches with the idea of Kanye being a musical savant-auteur. I think
Big Sean annoys the ever-living fuck out of me. The way he says “balls” drives me batty. I don’t really recall his other appearances, but I think this is a song-specific vocal conceit — which is good for him, I guess. He does almost ruin the song with his stupid rapping style, but his line, “Hold on. That’s the girl you gave a wedding ring? / Man, me and my ni//as nutted on her everything” is unfortunately memorable.
Just, overall, I love this song’s bounce and buoyancy. (I guess that’s why Big Sean thought it was acceptable to rap like a 13-year-old going through a confusing transformation.) It’s so damn happy, and unmitigatedly so. Not even a typically funereal Cudi hook and an asinine Common verse can bring it down.
I was thinking about it and talking it over the other night, and one of the biggest miracles surrounding My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I think, is that it was not a double album. I mean, what’s a bigger Rockist Trope than the bloated double album? G.O.O.D. Fridays had more than enough material to make a double album out of it all. I feel like Kanye probably considered doing that, back when he was going to call it Good Ass Job. It would have been his Wu-Tang Forever, served as a jumping off point for is G.O.O.D. brand shit, and built up buzz for the likes of Big Sean. That he didn’t do this is, maybe, a good testament to his Capital-A Artist bona fides. He, like all the shitty struggling artists out there, might think that you just have to do your best and then money will follow. I think it’s clear that, despite all that college dropout rhetoric, his mom and dad probably did instill a decent vision of the meritocratic American Dream.