For a basketball player, there’s no better sound. It’s the sound of the ball you’re in control of falling into the perfect place. Kanye West has been swishing threes ever since The College Dropout. And here comes “Real Friends,” perhaps his swish-iest single to date. You can practically hear ‘Ye turning his back and walking away before the ball’s even through the net.
Despite the popular narrative surrounding it, “Real Friends” – the new track Kanye West unleashed Friday – is not a return-to-form from Mr. West. “Real Friends”‘s sincerity is most striking, and in some ways it is a distant cousin to Graduation track “Everything I Am,” with its twinkling, hopeful instrumental acting as guiding light. So, what makes “Real Friends” a thrilling new direction more than a tired retread? As passionate as he sounds on “Friends,” he’s never sounded quite so at peace. Marriage and fatherhood can do that to a person. That’s he channeling those feelings – initially in raw, unedited bursts “Only One” and “FourFiveSeconds” – in a refined, more accessible way on “Real Friends” gives us our biggest sign of hope yet that SWISH is going to be another slam dunk.