RAVE: ‘Lady Friend’ – Chance The Rapper and The Social Experiment

Photo by Jason Nocito for The FADER

Photo by Jason Nocito for The FADER

This song reminds me of another* which, right now, I can’t quite map my memory on but I’m absolutely positive it’s something that I’ve heard before that is as lovely and as earnest as this brand new ode from Chance The Rapper – definitely one of my favorite artists – and his jazz posse, The Social Experiment. I first found out about this development via an article on The FADER. For my money, it doesn’t sound too far-fetched that Chancelor Bennett (Chance The Rapper’s real name) would decide to take this step. His 2013 album, Acid Rap, is rife with collaborations; including Childish Gambino, Ab-Soul, Action Bronson, Twista, and fellow Chicago artist Vic Mensa. And as The FADER pointed out, it’s not uncommon for rappers to switch gears (Lil Wayne and Jay-Z on a stratocaster doesn’t count) and foray into something new or different, and I’d say Chance’s move isn’t exactly historical. But the thing about this is, his next outing, Surf, isn’t a solo album, but the debut of The Social Experiment, the “four-member songwriting and production unit that began as Chance’s backup band on his 2013 tour of the same name.” This collaborative effort is beginning to spring potential – officially as a group moving forward – but given the track history of their relationship, there’s a huge possibility that these guys have more than they’ve got on their sleeves already.

Now, about the song.

There’s an inexplicable beauty in this song’s arrangement, like watching a rose bloom in slow motion. There’s tenderness, like the gesture a man makes when he’s holding your arm, grazing on the small of your back, when you both cross the street. It’s like that sweet picture when you’re both caught on camera; you with a faraway look, him watching you – frozen in the moment. But what I love the most about is that it could not be exactly, exclusively romantic in nature. A man can sing it to his dearly beloved lady friend (as in a friend who’s female), which for me, is a comforting thought. That love between a man and woman (or of the same gender) does not automatically translates or dictates romance, but of genuine affection. Or at least that’s how I interpret this song. It paints a picture of two people holding hands; or of two people asleep, head on the shoulder. Love lingering in the space between them.

*I remember it now. It was Raleigh Ritchie’s “Bloodsport.”

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