Tell Your Friends

Album: Beauty Behind The Madness (2015)
Charted: 74 54

Songfacts®:

  • Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye was raised by his mother and grandmother in Scarborough, Toronto. He dropped out of high school at the age of 17 and moved to downtown Toronto to pursue a music career. Broke and homeless, he spent much of his time indulging in sex, substance abuse and petty theft. This song paints a picture of his "reckless" lifestyle at the time. "As soon as I stepped foot in the city, it was a feeling I got addicted to," the singer told Rolling Stone. "Lights, no sleep - either you're going to make it or die trying."
  • Tesfaye's hedonism lifestyle is a major theme throughout Behind The Madness. In this song's chorus, the Toronto singer tells listeners to spread the word about him and his music:

    Go tell your friends about it (About it)
    I'm that n---- with the hair
    Singing 'bout popping pills, f---ing bitches, living life so trill
    .
  • The track was co-produced by Kanye West, who also styled Tesfaye for a GQ shoot promoting Beauty Behind the Madness in which he sported the first Yeezy Collection with Adidas.
  • The song's music video was directed by Grant Singer, who also collaborated with the Weeknd on his clips for "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills."

    The video begins with The Weeknd burying himself alive in the middle of the desert. We then see him walking through the landscape, while the old man character, who lit the singer on fire in the "Can't Feel My Face" visual strides towards him. The Weekend shoots the red-haired old man after which the visual segues to another Beauty Behind the Madness track, "Real Life."

    The old man is played by Rick Wilder, frontman of 80s punk-rock band The Mau-Maus.
  • The song samples Theophilus London's track "Can't Stop," which features Kanye West.
  • The Weeknd says that Kanye West used his 2010 track "Devil in a New Dress" as a reference for his work on "Tell Your Friends."

    "Everyone's a character on my album, and his production, voice, and input is a character, too," he told Pitchfork. There's so much detail in his sessions, and he definitely helped craft who I've been, subconsciously, for the past few years. To actually be with him and talk to him and work with him, it's just like coming to life."

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