Kanye West made music headlines in late April 2018 when he tweeted the release dates of a series of highly anticipated albums that he executive produced. Kanye shared that Pusha T, Teyana Taylor and Nas would be releasing albums, as well as his own solo album and a joint album with Kid Cudi. What was even more special about this news is that these albums would be releasing at weekly intervals, every Friday starting May 25, 2018. To many hip-hop fans this weekly rollout draws a direct parallel to Kanye’s 2010 G.O.O.D. Friday releases, that were in support of his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The parallels between both Kanye-led release efforts creates an interesting discussion: Which G.O.O.D. Fridays rollout was more impactful?
To build excitement for Kanye West’s fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye and his G.O.O.D. Music label-mates released 15 free songs. 14 of them came on a nearly weekly basis, from late August 2010 to the album release on November 22. The 15th track, “Christmas in Harlem,” released December 17, 2010. In addition to raising hype for the album release, this song rollout helped provide exposure to new artists of the time and recent G.O.O.D. music signees Big Sean, Teyana Taylor and Cyhi The Prynce, none of whom had released a debut album by that point in their careers. The marketing strategy of G.O.O.D. Fridays also inspired other artists to promote their music in a similar fashion. In 2010, Swizz Beatz started his own series of free releases called Monster Mondays.Although it was never directly called a reboot of G.O.O.D. Fridays by Kanye West or his collaborators, the 2018 album rollout was just that in everything but a naming convention. For all the artists who released albums during this 2018 run, it is interesting to note it had been a few years since all of their last album releases. To name a few, it had been six years since the last Nas album, four years since Teyana Taylor’s last album and three years of waiting for a Pusha T album. Although the 2018 rollout resembled its 2010 predecessor in frequency, it greatly outweighs it in content due to album releases instead of singles. The 2018, albums are also different in composure to their most present day hip-hop albums. Each of the albums released only featured seven songs, except Teyana Taylor’s eight album project. According to Pusha T, in an interview on his Beats1 show KingPush Radio, this was a deliberate expression of the quality of music over quantity of songs.
Four points help to enumerate the differences between the impacts of the 2010 and 2018 G.O.O.D. Friday releases. First, the 2010 edition showcased a novel marketing strategy in hip-hop, which has been used to different degrees by other artists since then. The magnitude of free music released was unparalleled to that point in time. Second, the 2010 rollout helped to jumpstart the careers of up-and-coming artists Big Sean, Teyana Taylor and Cyhi The Prynce. All artists have since released successful studio albums, all of whom have placed on the Billboard 200 album charts. Third, the 2018 releases featured significantly more content that its predecessor, through releasing albums at the same frequency of 2010’s singles. Lastly, 2018’s run featured highly anticipated projects, years in waiting, of well known and established artists. Based on these points, it seems apparent that the 2010 G.O.O.D. Friday rollout was more impactful due to its ingenuity, its implicit inspiration to the 2018 run and the careers it helped launch into the mainstream. A hard argument for today’s hip-hop fan, the answer to this question is clearly open to interpretation. What do you think?