Kanye West released his long awaited album DONDA on August 29th.
Kanye West released his highly anticipated album, “DONDA”, on August 29th, 2021. His album includes 27 songs with features from various artists such as Jay-Z, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, Pop Smoke, Playboi Carti, and more. Kanye held three listening parties in Chicago, Atlanta, and Las Vegas to preview DONDA.
The album’s initial release date was July 23, 2021, but was later postponed to August 6. After multiple adjustments to the songs and album itself, DONDA was released on August 29.
After the release of DONDA, Kanye posted on Instagram, “Universal put my album out without my approval and they blocked Jail 2 from being on the album”. Jail pt2 is the 24th song of DONDA that features rapper DaBaby. Record label Universal Music Group had initially blocked the song due to DaBaby’s verse not being cleared by his manager.
A personal favorite from this album was “Moon,” which features artists Don Toliver and Kid Cudi. Moon is more soft and mellow than the other songs on the album. Another song like Moon is “Keep My Spirit Alive,” featuring artists Conway the Machine and Westside Gunn. The same soft and mellow tunes are heard in this song, in addition to gospel-like lyrics where fellow artists are singing their thanks to god for where they are in their lives now.
After Kanye recently converted into Christianity, he started applying his religious beliefs into much of his new music. This new genre of music was not many listeners favorite, including myself. Kanye expresses his trust and belief in god through his, “Praise God”, “24”, “Jesus Lord”, “Lord I Need You”, and “Jesus Lord pt 2.” The beats used in these songs would be great with different lyrics. If you are not into gospel/christian music, then these songs might not be for you.
Despite criticism from many parties on the album, DONDA charted at #1 in 93 countries on Apple Music. On August 30th, DONDA broke the record for the most streamed album and artist in a day. However, this record was later broken by Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” album.
According to The Rolling Stones, DONDA has garnered about 37,000 sales (313,000 album units) and over 341 million streams. DONDA consisted of a mixed-genre album including hip-hop and gospel, pop, and trap.
“Donda Chant” is the first song of the album that sparked confusion amongst listeners. What did it mean? The song consisted of Donda being chanted for 52 seconds. According to Kanye, the Donda chants were on beat to the last breaths of his mother before passing away.
Kanye also collaborated with The Weeknd and Lil Baby on one of his biggest hits on DONDA, “Hurricane”. “Hurricane”, out of The Weeknd’s usual genre, The Weeknd speaks about Jesus Christ and references the bible. In comparison to other songs on “DONDA” this is one of the less gospel-like songs with a more rich beat and minimal religious references.
A lot of the hype surrounding DONDA came from Kanye’s feud with Drake that recently re-sparked, as they were supposed to drop both of their albums within the same week. Artists were throwing shots at each other on social media building up the tension for listeners as they were awaiting the albums to be released.
Out of Kanye’s 10 studio albums, I would say “DONDA” is definitely not in the top three. It was not his worst, but also not his best. I was really expecting a lot of the old-classic Kanye from previous albums, such as “The Life of Pablo” and “Graduation”. However, DONDA came in with the new, much more religious Kanye we had previewed in his most recent album before DONDA, “JESUS IS KING”.
Even though Donda is not my top album, it is worth listening to see how Kanye has developed in his artistry now. It does have it’s hits which are worth listening to, as well as it’s misses that aren’t. DONDA will have to be a 6/10 on my scale because his gospel songs are not a genre I personally enjoy listening to.
As of now (Sep 19, 2021), many of the songs on DONDA have remained on the Billboard Top 100 charts.
By Marlene Orozco-Vasquez, Staff Writer