Kanye West’s album Donda has Finally arrived


Ryann Engel, Contributing Writer

For months, hip-hop fans were counting the days until Kanye West would release his latest album. When that count hit zero, no album was out. They had to continue waiting beyond the album’s initial release date, until Aug. 29, 2021, when he released his 10th studio album, Donda.  Despite the album’s release being pushed back for almost a month, it still managed to skyrocket to the top of the billboard charts, debuting at No.1 with the second-biggest Spotify debut in history.  Consisting of 27 songs and lasting 110 minutes, Donda is an extremely epic project compared to Kanye’s past releases. 

The extensive album is named after Kanye’s late mother, Donda C. West.  She passed  14 years ago due to heart failure but was always an advocate of Kanye’s musical talents.  Kanye has never shied away from his devotion to his mother and has decided to honor her legacy through his music. 

Kanye hosted three album release parties at the launch of the project.  These events were held in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and in Chicago’s Soldier Field Stadium.  Such extravagant listening parties featured West lighting himself on fire, as well as controversial guests, DaBaby and Marilyn Manson.  Buying a ticket cost as much as $60,000. 

“The listening parties quickly became a form of elite cultural currency, with fans who attended treating each concert like a bougie Met Gala,” said Aja Romano in an article from Vox.    

West flew in many worldwide hip-hop producers to help with the album’s music video.  Because they were not allowed to provide their opinions on the production, Kanye dealt with much criticism.  The Donda producer and fellow musicians were also frustrated after their years’ worth of work had been cut from the production.  The album has also been criticized for not seeming finished, cohesive, or up to par with his previous nine albums.  As a result, the Canadian rapper Drake’s sixth studio album Certified Lover Boy quickly topped it the following week.  

 “I think that the album is great! It is crazy how fast it was exceeded,” said junior Geordan Sparber. 

 The album’s themes are based on West and Kim Kardashian’s recent divorce, his mother’s death, and his devotion to Christianity.  It is possible that Kanye’s religious dedication is why he has stopped cursing in his recent releases, and the only version of Donda available is completely clean.  The opening track, “Donda Chant”, repeats West’s mother’s name to the rhythm of her final heartbeats.  He felt that it was necessary to honor her at the start of the album.  West also addresses his personal struggles through a few of the songs. In the song “Jesus Lord,” for example, West reflects on his anxiety and addiction.

“I ain’t delivering heavenly messages just for the hell of it/Don’t try to test me; I keep it clean, but it can get messy,” said West in the final verse of “Off the Grid.”

Some of the highlights of the album include “Jail” (feat. Jay-Z and Francis and the Lights) and24” (feat. Vory).  Many of the songs are also popular on social media. “Hurricane”, “Donda”, and “Jail” are currently trending on Tiktok, indicating their popularity.  According to Billboard.com, the top five songs on Donda are Off the Grid, Hurricane (feat. Lil Baby and The Weeknd), Pure Souls (feat. Roddy Ricch and Shenseea), Believe What I Say, and Ok Ok (feat. Lil Yachty and Rooga).  Kanye West’s album Donda is also available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, and YouTube Music.