Songs We Love: dae zhen., 'Friday' A young Los Angeles rapper joins the storied tradition of great end-of-the-week, just-got-paid songs, with a quaint, warm jam full of small victories.
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01Friday

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Songs We Love: dae zhen., 'Friday'

Songs We Love: dae zhen., 'Friday'

01Friday

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dae zhen.

Courtesy of the artist
"Friday" cover
Courtesy of the artist

Making a song about Friday can be a tricky proposition. On the one hand, there's the bar set by Johnny Kemp's 1987 smash, "Just Got Paid," a song so eternal that all these many years later, its groove, message and refrain still serve as the go-to soundtrack for getting dressed and heading to the club — "Check the mirror/ I'm looking fly/ Round up the posse/ Jump in my ride/ Radio rockin'/ A monster jam/ Feel the rhythm/ Pump up the sound." On the other hand, there's Rebecca Black's "Friday", a tone-deaf, song-length punchline that, after going viral in 2011, pretty much made the final day of the work week off-limits for musical enjoyment. (Not even the combined forces of Nicki Minaj, Future and others could bring the day back to its once beloved musical position.)

Los Angeles rapper dae zhen.'s "Friday," from his forthcoming album Not Nostalgiatic, succeeds in nestling itself closer to Kemp's signature opus than Black's debut. On the song, dae (born Drew Lawrence) has been paid, it's Friday night, he's got a full tank in the hooptie and all he wants is some ice-cold liquor, the opportunity to smoke a joint and maybe bump some Sade with a young lady from Orange County who's responded to his DM's. It's quaint and warm and full of small victories: "My card ain't get declined, so I basically hit the Lotto/ Y'all know I'm young and Black and I'm grateful I'm still alive."

As a rapper, dae's still melding his influences — last year's debut, Women & Wordplay found him heavily indebted to Kanye and Macklemore as stylists. Here he's beginning to come into his own, while continuing to follow paths he's already invested in. Produced by his frequent collaborator Mike Derenzo, "Friday" is indebted to the treated and filtered soul samples of West's early 2000's tracks, lush with varied instrumentation, extra servings of melody and contextualized hopefulness. When Dae sings, "Let's get get drunk and let's get lost/ And then let's get high and let's get crossed/ 'Cause I hate my life, I hate my boss/ But now fuck all that 'cause it's my night off," he belies none of the anger or escapism that those lines suggest. Instead, he's focusing on the good times that are coming. Because it's Friday. And Friday is good thing.

Not Nostalgiatic is out in early 2016 on Soundcloud.