Following a three-year delay, four listening sessions, several tweaks, and refurbishments with millions of words of speculation from the media, 43-year-old rapper, Kanye West finally released his “Donda” album to streaming platforms this morning.
Although it’s unclear on the exact time it was posted, a press release from Def Jam, West’s label, arrived at about 8:15 AM. In July 2020, West announced that his new album would be called “Donda: With Child” and hinted that it would launch “this Friday.” That would prove the first of many delays to come.
It was around this time that West announced his interest to run for president, so the album wasn’t on the list of his scale of preference at the time. Later, in September, he wrote in a tweet that he wasn’t going to release another album “till I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal.”
After months of silence on the project from the rapper, it was announced last month that it would finally arrive on July 23, days after a listening party West hosted in Atlanta. That date came and went with no Donda– another missed release date over the past month, spurring frustration from fans.
The most recent listening party, which featured a surprise guest, Marilyn Manson, took place on Aug. 26. It was promised that Donda would come forth, and this time, it has. FINALLY!
What Fans Should Expect From ‘Donda’
This album is named after his mother, Donda West, an English professor who died of complications resulting from cosmetic surgery. Her death had devastating effects on her son.
This album is a tribute to her and marked the rapper’s tenth studio album and his first since 2019. Samples of his mother’s speech also feature on the record.
The 27-track record, which comes in at a lengthy one hour and 48 minutes, featured contributions from Hip-Hop stars like The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Pusha T, The Lox, and several others.
There’s a guest appearance from Kid Cudi and a sample from Lauryn Hill. No collaborators are featured, although he has serious star power and talent throughout the album.
This may be because it was rushed to stores, or just West not wanting any other names in the track-listing. There were many other notable names found in the credits outside of vocal contributions such as Gasaffelstein on “Jesus Lord” and “No Child Left Behind” as well as Mike Dean who was of course involved with almost all productions of the album.
Per NME, who reviewed it immediately after its release, they noted that “‘Donda’ is incredibly – and unnecessarily – long.” They also noted a lot of ideas (or what could be good ideas,) and some legit great tracks, but if West had taken a little more time to edit things, this 10th album could have been a classic – “focused, poignant and powerful.”
A lot of songs on this track-list are nothing short of amazing and show West in his natural introspective, thoughtful mood. One thing we shouldn’t forget is that “Donda” wouldn’t exist if not for West’s mother. This features across the record, whether the rapper is working through his feelings about her death like in “Jesus Lord,” or including recordings of her speeches.
West’s mom gets things started on the album by cheekily saying; “What did he want me to talk about? Well, he said something a little bit dangerous – he told me I could talk about anything I wanted to. And you know, I am my son’s mother.”
“Donda” might not be a rushed job, but NME thought it could have benefitted from a little less time spent on it.
“Not everyone needs all 27 of these tracks, but dig deep into its contents and you’ll find enough gems to make his 10th album worth your time,” NME concluded.
Jay-Z’s Verse On ‘Donda’ Is Here To Stay
At his recent listening party, West was flanked by two musicians who were recently said to have been deep in the trenches of controversy.
Shock rocker Marilyn Manson, who denied several allegations of sexual assault, and rapper DaBaby, who was publicly bashed for his homophobic comments at a music festival.
In the listening party, West replaced Jay-Z’s verse on “Jail” with DaBaby’s. However, as it stands, Dababy’s verse has been ditched and Jay-Z‘s, reinstated.
This was despite West’s post on Instagram which claimed he wouldn’t take Dababy’s verse off, because of his public declaration to vote for him during the former presidential election.
Reactions From Fans
It’s barely been a day, and fans have gone into a frenzy over the rapper’s new album.
Once they had the chance to listen, fans took to Twitter to express their unanimous agreement and excitement over the album.
Others were pleased about a line that referenced the great Lionel Messi, who is making his debut for PSG today. In the “Donda” album, West dropped a line that read;
“I talk to God every day, that’s my bestie. They playing soccer in my backyard, I think I see Messi,” paying obeisance to the football player and weighing in on the fact that he might be the GOAT of football.