All Kanye West wanted to do was release some new music this afternoon. The musical superstar's latest release has been submarined by "a slight distortion in the main loop," a problem that's set off an insane chain of illegal uploads and copyright takedowns. It turns out even self-proclaimed gods have to deal with technology issues once in a while. Stars: they're just like us! (You can now listen to the reuploaded track above.)
Real Friends produced by me/sample by Frank Dukes and Boi 1da/drum programming by Havo— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 8, 2016
The soulful "Real Friends" featuring Ty Dolla $ign and a snippet of Kendrick Lamar feature "No More Parties in LA" appeared on SoundCloud Friday morning following a tweet from West's wife (and apparent publicist) Kim Kardashian West, but it only lasted on the service for about ten minutes before showing up as private.
Since that initial upload, the song has been rocketing on and off of various secondary services and sites like YouTube. It lived on Audiomack for a few minutes before being hit with a DMCA takedown notice, after which a version popped up on Missinfo; there are dozens of illicit rips flooding YouTube and SoundCloud, some of which are deceptive or pitch-shifted.
West tweeted that some loop distortion was responsible for the original takedown, and he also confirmed an official upload would make its way back to SoundCloud soon. 30 minutes later, West send out another tweet and uploaded a new version of the song, then promptly deleted it again. But he did wish everyone a happy weekend so there's that!
Nearly an hour later after a few more uploads and takedowns — what else should we expect from someone who mixed "Stronger" 75 times because the kick drum didn't sound right? — West finally put the song back up, hopefully for good.
Un momento, there was a slight distortion in the main loop within Real Friends.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 8, 2016
It will be back up shortly. When it’s back up all rippers please rip the new one instead.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 8, 2016
New version is up. Please please erase the old one I wasn’t satisfied with the sound quality.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 8, 2016
I hope you have a nice weekend.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 8, 2016
Kardashian's tweet suggests West may be bringing back regular Friday releases in the run up to his new album Swish. Back in 2009, West dropped 15 free tracks in the 15 weeks preceding the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as part of his G.O.O.D. Fridays promotion. Many of the tracks, including "Power," "So Appalled," and "Devil in a New Dress," eventually appeared on the album in some form.
This is the sixth song West has previewed in the last year, and he's worked with an eclectic mix of collaborators. Paul McCartney, Sia, and Rihanna have all featured on tracks with West in recent months, and "Real Friends" marks a return to the soulful, easily melodic sound of West's early work. No one's sure what West's new album will sound like, but we might not have to wait much longer for an answer: it sounds like Swish is going to be released in the next few months.
I’m finishing my album and my next collection…— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) December 13, 2015
Update: January 8th, 3:30PM ET: Updated with the song embed and more context.