Kanye West's "Real Friends" Lyrics Suggest A Fame-Related Existential Crisis
Praise be to Yeezus, for on Friday we are all very #blessed. As it would turn out, Kanye West will be releasing new music every Friday, according to wife Kim Kardashian via Twitter, and it seems as though he's already gotten the party started. On Friday, Kanye's "Real Friends" was released on SoundCloud side-by-side with a taste of "No More Parties In LA," and it's doing so great that the world wide web has pretty much imploded in response. That's right, people are in such a rush to listen to "Real Friends" that it basically crashed. But I managed to get a listen of the track before this dark tragedy, and, now that I've rolled it around in my head I've started to wonder: what do the lyrics of "Real Friends" actually mean?
I mean, OK, let's be honest, that title really doesn't sound vague or misleading, as far as I can tell the track is overarchingly about the mistrust that comes with fame and questioning who exactly is your "real friend" is. Ty Dolla $ign gets control of the bridge, because presumably he and Kanye are real friends. Nothing super complicated here.
But certain lines lead to confusion, so let's just take another look and break up a few of the lyrics anyway.
"Real friends, How Many Of Us, How Many Of Us, How Many Of Us, How Many Jealous, Real Friends"
So, right here he's questioning how many of his friends are real (told you, super straight forward), and how many of them harbor jealous feels. Or Kanye is getting real existential by using sort of a royal we throughout the song, and he's questioning if he's a real friend. As you'll see, it's not 100 percent clear.
"Real Friends, There's Not Many Of Us, We Smile At Each Other, How Many Honest, Trust Issues"
Kanye sheds his doubts that there are many real friends out there these days, that everyone puts on a big publicity show but nobody really trusts each other. So wait, does this mean his alliance with Taylor Swift isn't a genuine union?
"Switch Up The Number, I Can't Be Bothered, I Can Not Blame You, For Having An Angle, I Ain't Got No Issues, I'm Just Doing My Thing, Hope You're Doing Your Thing To"
Here Kanye belies an acceptance about the way things are in the great wide world of celebrity. There's this slight implication that the person who he thought was his real friend (yet turned out to be using him) is detached from his life. He's OK with it, though, so long as they don't intersect paths, and keep on moving on.
"I'm A Dead Beat Cousin, I Hate Family Reunions, F*ck The Church Up By Drinking At The Communion, Smell The Free Wine Now My Tux Is Ruined, A Tabloid A Day, What The F*ck We Doing"
I don't... I'm not really sure how literal this part is, I don't know if Kanye goes to family reunions and drinks all of the wine at church or something weird. Maybe that's a deleted scene on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which would explain why he's rarely on the show. More than that, though, I think this showcases that Kanye is less than perfect. As big as his ego gets, sometimes he's able to cop to the fact that he's less than perfect. The tabloids don't pop up for nothing... usually.
"Real Friends We All Came From The Bottom, I'm Always Blaming You But What's Sad, You're Not The Problem"
Potential Drake reference? Not necessarily, but the two seem to be good pals. However, this line seems to suggest that Kanye harbors resentment towards one of his buddies, while recognizing that it might just be his own jealousy. Weird.
"Damn I Forgot To Call Her, Sh*t I Thought It Was Thursday, Why You Wait A Week To Call My Phone In The First Place, When Was The Last Time I Remembered A Birthday, When Was The Last Time I Wasn't In A Hurry"
All right, this whole part seems to suggest that Kanye kind of dropped the ball on someone's birthday. Obviously the "her" in this isn't specified, maybe it's one of his satellite in-laws, you can't be sure. All we know is that Kanye is so busy being Kanye he can't remember to send that "Happy Birthday! =)" message on Facebook... and he feels a little bad about it.
Overall, though? The song seems to target that the world Kanye lives in makes him feel uncertain about who is his real friend, how much of his friends are competition, and if he, in fact, is a real friend back. Life in the fast lane will do that to you, you know? Whether or not Kanye is or has real friends though, you can't deny it's a boss track, so feel free to check in on it (you know, if Kanye ever puts it back on SoundCloud).
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