Religion and Kanye West go hand and hand. Nearly a decade ago, Kanye West provided fans with the weekly series of new releases that went on to be titled as, G.O.O.D. Fridays. In support of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye enlisted fellow G.O.O.D. Music members as well as notable names in rap music for the ultimate experience.
Prior to premiering Runaway at the Video Music Awards, Kanye decided to release the first track of the series, which was the Jay Z assisted, Power remix on August 20, 2010. The series went on to last four months as it ended with Christmas In Harlem. With a slew of memorable verses, widely appreciated posse cuts, and iconic quotables, the 15-track series gave a glimpse to what was to come on arguably Kanye’s best album.
Described by Kanye West himself as “an exercise in the power of art”, the series gave him the excessive abilities to release what he wanted to, when he wanted to, with no limitation.
Every Good Friday it has become a tradition to revisit the noteworthy tracks, so CTRL does just that. Here are all 15 tracks from the original series ranked and reviewed.
15. Take One For The Team, featuring Keri Hilson, Pusha-T, and CyHi Da Prynce
Composed over a semi-awkward distorted beat, Take One For The Team does what the title suggests, it takes one for the team as being the lowest ranked GOOD Friday song. Much like the rest of the songs listed, the track features a guest lineup, but that’s the only memorable aspect of this particular song.
14. G.O.O.D. Friday, featuring Big Sean, Common, Kid Cudi, Pusha-T, and Charlie Wilson
With hints of euphoria, the title track for the series remains as the most feel good track of them all. Featuring members of G.O.O.D Music, the track glides through uplifting melodies, with an overall positive energy that avoids coming off as corny.
13. Don't Look Down, featuring Lupe Fiasco, Big Sean, and Mos Def
Notable for being one of the few Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco collaborations that fans ever received, Don’t Look Down was a preview of what was never to come. The potential of two prominent names of 2000s rap collided on a reunion track years after both acts decided to stir in different directions. A rare number in rap.
12. Runaway Love (Remix) featuring Justin Bieber and Raekwon
Riding the success off of being the ultimate teen heartthrob of the early 2010s, Justin Bieber was on a hot streak that laid the foundation of his career. Before his career shifted into being influenced of the sounds of hip-hop, Bieber enlisted Kanye West for a remix to his hit, Runaway Love. Featuring a quick Yeezy verse, and a Wu-Tang beat, the remix was unexpected but necessary.
11. Power (Remix) featuring Jay Z and Swizz Beatz
A preview to what was to come on Watch The Throne, Kanye West enlisted Jay Z for the official Power remix. A memorable hard hitting Jay Z feature proving that The Throne was always meant to be.
10. Looking For Trouble, featuring J. Cole, Pusha-T, CyHi the Prynce, and Big Sean
Holding a special place in the hearts of rap fans across territories, Looking For Trouble was possibly the first and the last Kanye West and J. Cole collaboration. Released a week before Cole’s third mixtape, Friday Night Lights, the track was Cole’s introduction to the mainstream masses. Roc Nation’s newest signee made a name for himself, and proved his presence.
9. Chain Heavy, featuring Talib Kweli and Consequence
Enlisting Consequence and Talib Kweli for a Q-Tip produced GOOD Friday track, Kanye West curated a dream team of rap heavyweights. Calling’s in his longtime collaborators, Kanye trades in bravado rhymes for conscious lines, while Kweli enters with a rapid fire delivery, and Consequence flips the switch with a storyteller perspective. All compiled over a Q-Tip beat, the song is everything you’d expect from these longtime partners in crime.
8. Don't Stop, (Child Rebel Soldier)
The ultimate missed opportunity was a Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco collaborative joint project executively produced by Pharrell. Child Rebel Soldier is the rap boy band that remains a “what could’ve been”, but at least we have this track to hold us over. (The track isn't available to be streamed, but to get a glimpse of Child Rebel Soldier, revist Everyone Nose remix featuring Lupe Fiasco).
7. Lord Lord Lord, featuring Swizz Beatz, Mos Def, Raekwon, and Charlie Wilson
Kanye West, Mos Def, Swizz Beatz, Raekwon, and Charlie Wilson, an all star lineup with each team member proving why they’re playing the game and not on the bench. A track composed of a minimalistic production that is simplistic and soulful. With each A-List rapper delivering effortless and nonchalant verses, Charlie Wilson takes listeners to church on GOOD Friday.
6. Devil in a New Dress
You’re reading this and then you take a second look. Yes you’re reading this correctly, and no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, Devil in a New Dress missed the top five. Before the epic midpoint instrumental interlude, and Rick Ross’s career defining verse, the solo version of the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album cut held its own with an impressive Kanye West performance.
5. Christmas in Harlem, featuring Teyana Taylor and Cyhi the Prynce
Since its release nearly a decade ago, Christmas In Harlem has stood the test of time. The key importance to any Christmas classic is longevity, case in point: Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You topping the Billboard Hot 100 nearly 25 years later. Though Kanye’s version of a Christmas carol probably won’t match the success of Carey’s, that’s not the point. Christmas In Harlem rivals Run DMC’s, Christmas In Hollis, as the essential rap holiday anthem.
4. So Appalled, featuring Jay Z, Pusha T, Cyhi Da Prince, Swizz Beatz, and RZA
Arguably the greatest rap posse cut of the 2010s (alongside Danny Brown’s Really Doe, and A$AP Rocky’s F*cking Problems) So Appalled will leave any listener appalled but in all the best ways. With each rapper leaving the rap game on notice, the track embodies the best out of every featured guest. For many, this was their first introduction to Kanye’s longtime collaborator, Cyhi da Prince who provided the standout verse. Though the song features quotable after quotable, the most notable is Cyhi’s calendar line, “ I met this girl on Valentine's Day ***** her in May, she found out about April so she chose to March”. Iconic!
3. Monster, featuring Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and Bon Iver
What do you get when you combine Kanye West, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and Justin Vernon all on one song? A showcase of musical madness that is genius in all of its chaos. While both Kanye and Jay deliver memorable verses, it was the newcomer, Nicki Minaj, who upstaged the veterans with a verse that is still covered, referenced, and studied nine years later. Bold statement incoming…Nicki Minaj’s verse is the most important performance by a female rapper of all time. Bringing her character to life, Nicki provided animation, charisma, and confidence, and at this moment it was when Nicki reassured that she arrived. “You could be the king, but watch the queen conquer”.
2. The Joy, with Jay Z
Repurposed and remastered as a Watch The Throne bonus track, the most soulful out of the series collection, The Joy brilliantly flips Curtis Mayfield’s, The Makings of You. A out of the ordinary tribute with lots of history.
1. Christian Dior Denim Flow, featuring Lloyd Banks, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Ryan Leslie, and John Legend
It’s noted in history, that Kanye West is the most stylish name in hip-hop. His astonishing history with fashion only makes it natural that he has a knowledge of the most profound models of the time. Utilizing his verse as a concept to rhyming supermodel names, Kanye runs out of bars, as Pusha T comes in with a verse that references his appearance at the 2010 VMAs, “oh you was watching? Who the **** wasn’t?”. Ryan Leslie and Lloyd Banks, yes Lloyd Banks trade verses in which they all come correct and flow right in. With John Legend, Kid Cudi, and Ryan Leslie all brilliantly share the chorus, the genius behind it is how distinctive each vocalist is.
In support of the release of his seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo, Kanye West revived the series by releasing tracks that featured contributions by Ty Dolla $ign, Kendrick Lamar, and Andre 3000. Here are the 2016 tracks ranked.
3. 30 Hours, featuring Andre 3000
Polarizing for it's midpoint freestyle, 30 Hours had the potential to be greater than it was sought out to be. Revolved around a sample of Arthur Russell' Answers Me, Kanye reminiscences on a failed relationship as he reflects on a hectic ad-lib track.
2. No More Parties in L.A, featuring Kendrick Lamar
Resonating with fans with vivid storytelling, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar go toe-for-toe on No More Parties In LA. A collaboration that took years in the making after Kendrick opened for Kanye during the YEEZUS Tour, both rappers joining forces is the ultimate dream. A great Kendrick Lamar verse was expected, but an even better verse from Kanye West still leaves fans in awe. All matched with a Madlib sample that appeared in G.O.O.D. Music's New God Flow, this song will satisfy your rap cravings.
1. Real Friends, featuring Ty Dolla $ign
The song that revived the G.O.O.D. Friday series is the best of the three releases. Kanye gets personal on Real Friends, a track that details the effect fame had on brotherhood. Raw and emotional, the qualities of every great Kanye West song.