After a lot of going back and forth, Kanye West released his new album Donda named after his late mother on Sunday.
The album comes after he hosted three events in different locations throughout the country. West has an array of features on the stacked, 26-track album: JAY-Z, The Lox, Jay Electronica, Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, The Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Baby, Fivio Foreign, Baby Keem, Young Thug, Pop Smoke, Don Toliver and many more.
The release sticks to a similar theme Kanye explored on his last award-winning album which was received as a gospel compilation, JESUS IS KING. The rollout was dicey and tinged with a few issues, one main problem was the official drop date, it was swapped three times. Other than that, at his last live event at Chicago’s Soldier Field, ‘Ye brought out Marilyn Manson and DaBaby who has been receiving flack for problematic homophobic comments he made recently. Manson is currently being accused of sexual abuse by numerous women.
When the album dropped on Sunday, “Jail” didn’t feature DaBaby, Kanye took to Instagram and shared screenshots expressing DaBaby’s manager was the cause of this. Then, miraculously later on Sunday “Jail Pt. 2” appeared with DaBaby. Manson is credited on “Jail,” and Chris Brown who previously called out West by calling him a “whole hoe” on his Instagram Stories is credited on “New Again.”
Kanye has been riding high as he’s put together his album rollout that’s kept social media in a frenzy. It’s not a small feat that he’s kept his fans and critics alike engaged for nearly a month. Initially, his first album-centric event featured a taste of Donda. This event was hosted in Atlanta at the Mercedes Benz Stadium where merch was sold and people live-tweeted videos and photos. He appeared alone mainly and music rang off loudly throughout the stadium. A JAY-Z feature appeared to be the biggest highlight of that evening. Then like clockwork on August 5 another event at the same location was announced. Fans attended and heard a different version of Donda, but there was still a fixation on the forthcoming album.
The final Donda event featured a veiled Kim Kardashian West appearing as a bride and Kanye being lit on fire. Following the symbolism that’s been a part of the rollout it’s clear he views this album as a rebirth of some sort, but that is a bit troubling given the inflammatory comments he’s previously made on slavery, why he should be POTUS, and much, much more. It appears he’s hoping for redemption.
Lyrically Donda explores ‘Ye’s Christian beliefs, his reflections on his life, and also centers him still coping with his mother being gone. Jay-Z’s feature on the album forces listeners to acknowledge that their musical partnership hasn’t come to an end.
Even with this attempt to turn over a new leaf, West and Drake’s public beef has hit new heights over the past few weeks. It’s been difficult to not include it as a part of the rollout since it’s garnered public attention.
Beyond the hoopla that’s surrounded Donda, its release is pivotal even if ‘Ye is claiming Universal released it without his consent. It’s a grandiose album with a lot of different sounds and feels, we didn’t expect anything less.
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