Home / Album Reviews / Single Review: Justin Love – “No Friends”

Single Review: Justin Love – “No Friends”

There is perhaps nothing worse in this world than feeling completely alone and removed from that all-important sense of togetherness we all covet, and in the new single “No Friends,” Justin Love is taking on this feeling with both hands. Love is a mastermind when it comes to manipulating a basic melody to suit his sleek style of rapping, and if you’ve never heard his work before this moment in time, you needn’t worry about appreciating what he does much as a longtime fan wouldn’t in this performance.

This rapper has been mastering his capabilities as a songwriter and entertainer for years now, slowly but surely bringing his bedside manner into the lyrical dimensions within which he finds himself creating powerfully relatable narratives. “No Friends” is, for a lack of better terminology, progressive R&B, and pop-rap with a slight twist (but one nonetheless big enough to make it different from the status quo); it contains none of the self-righteous introspections that have become synonymous with the burgeoning – and perhaps fleeting – subgenre in all of pop music. It’s a helping hand reaching out to give us some help back on our feet in a tense moment, as frequent as they can feel in this life, and one that couldn’t be arriving at a better time.



The percussion here is gentle and never intrusive on any of the melodic components in the song, and I like that it’s still able to set up a pretty strong rhythm even with its basic structure. The groove is driven by the strut of the backdrop once we’re into the meat and potatoes of the track, and it’s often suggested that no matter how much instrumental moxie you put between Love and the audience, he’s going to find a way of getting closer to us with every word he raps or sings. He joyfully turns the reigns over to his backing beat at a few different junctures I initially found to be a bit curious, but upon closer inspection, I was impressed with his decision. This is a guy telling me he doesn’t have to be the center of attention to feel like he’s getting something across to the listener, and his desire to maximize the chemistry between himself and the arrangement of players behind him only makes the sentiment of his lyrical statements here feel even more legitimate.

Those who haven’t already been spinning music from the Justin Love catalog this mid-spring season need to make a point of doing so now, starting with his new single “No Friends.” This is a song equally as appealing to fans of classical and contemporary soft hip-hop aesthetics the same, and when taking into account just how wide a gap these two camps have found themselves opposite in recent years, this is nothing to scoff at by any means. Love has the credibility and the critical consensus on his side, and after this release, he’ll have a lot more fans in hip-hop’s expanding mainstream market as well.


Amanda Beeler


About Michael Stover

Check Also

Single Review: Zach McKenzie “The Day that I Found you”

With his latest release, “The Day that I Found You,” Zach McKenzie reminds us why …