On January 8th, Kim Kardashian confirmed that Kanye West was relaunching his G.O.O.D. Fridays series in a new incarnation called Every Friday, which will culminate in the release of West’s long-awaited new LP, Swish, on February 11th. We’ll evaluate each track as it drops.
Although Kim Kardashian had promised Kanye was beginning a new stretch of G.O.O.D. Fridays posts, she was forced to cop a Twitter plea after the rapper flew to Italy for a “Yeezy Season 3 fitting.”
So the second entry in Kanye’s 2016 G.O.O.D. Fridays series arrived on G.O.O.D. Monday, with a completed version of the song he’d teased at the end of last week’s “Real Friends.” Produced by acclaimed underground producer Madlib, “No More Parties in L.A.” features the first collaboration between Kanye and Kendrick Lamar.
The song’s primary sample comes courtesy of Walter “Junie” Morrison, the Dayton, Ohio–born songwriter behind the first major singles for the Ohio Players, including the oft-sampled R&B classic “Funky Worm.” In this case, Madlib flipped Morrison’s 1976 solo cut “Suzie Thundertussy,” and cuts it with a Ghostface sample from Supreme Clientele‘s “Mighty Healthy” — a song Kanye previously sampled on 2012’s “New God Flow.” (To add to the matryoshka-doll-like layers, that sample is actually Ghostface quoting 1987 Divine Force single “Holy War.”) The song’s intro comes from Johnny Guitar Watson’s 1977 record “Give Me My Love,” and the bridge comes from Larry Graham (Aubrey “Drake” Graham’s uncle) — a sample of 1980’s “Stand Up and Shout About Love.”
Compared with his more aggressive Yeezus-era records, “No More Parties in L.A.” — even more so than “Real Friends” — suggests a return to the more tasteful and on-brand Kanye of the first G.O.O.D. Fridays era, with its autobiographical narrative and comfort-food soul sample. Of the song’s two verses, Kanye’s is the more effective and affecting: Kendrick is abstract — a verse about women chasing rappers, which could as easily be symbolic as personal, suggesting a parable based in real-life events, rather than a confessional. Kanye’s verse, meanwhile, is packed with the kind of simultaneous relatable, everyday arrogance and self-effacement that made his earliest work resonate. He faces indignities that border on the embarrassing, and swings from transparent self-awareness to complete obliviousness within the span of a few bars. Yet this erratic quality makes the glee he can wring from lines like “any rumor you heard about me was true and legendary” that much more resonant.
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At more than six minutes and containing some moments of rambling (“Back to our regularly scheduled programmin’/Of weak content of slow-jammin’/But don’t worry, this one’s so jammin’/You know it, L.A., it’s so jammin'”), “No More Parties in L.A.” doesn’t have the same level of replayability as last week’s “Real Friends,” but in its messiness and self-indulgence are some undeniably great moments, an inspired concept, and lots of hilarious details about the challenges of being a 38-year-old hip-hop superstar with a wife and kids: “It took 6 months to take the Maybach all matted out/And my assistant crashed as soon as they backed it out,” he raps — the kind of embarrassing detail which suggests a double-consciousness about stunting: its appeal and the humbling daily reality.
This is the Kanye people first fell in love with on The College Dropout, and it may be a retrenchment from Yeezus but it’s one which is well executed here.
Likelihood of the track showing up on Swish: Low
Hit potential: Low
Previous Kanye precedent: G.O.O.D. Friday lead-up to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy