Kanye West’s Donda album is released


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Miguel Modesto

Fans of Kanye West speculated that the music artist’s plans for a new album would be scrapped like many before butafter three listening parties,multiple delayed release dates and a residency at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to add finishing touches, Kanye West’s highly anticipated  Donda album is finally here.

West has been in the public light for the past few weeks . Along with his personal issues such as his divorce with Kim Kardashian West, he has been feuding with music artistDrake, going as far as sharing his home address on Instagram before quickly taking it down.

West  has received a lot of negative attention with the release of Donda for his inclusion of Marilyn Manson, who is currently facing sexual assault and rape allegations, and DaBaby, who recently apologized for his homophobic remarks at the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami.

Artists like Chris Brown and Soulja Boy have also expressed their outrage for being cut off from the project. To put simply, there was a lot of anticipation surrounding Donda , for better or for worse.

At about an hour and forty minutes, Donda is West’s longest and most ambitious project. With 27 tracks, West explores different subjects ranging including his mental health and mother to love, society and religion.

The project itself is named after his mother Donda West whose  death in 2007 has impacted him  greatly. The first track “Donda Chant” establishes West’s mother as a central theme to the album.

Given how important West’s mother is to his work and art, to name an entire album after her already establishes this project as a special one —West’s magnum opus.

Donda takes us into Kanye West’s mind. The title  track includes a sample of Donda West’s speech at Chicago State University in 2007, which was recorded only a few weeks before she passed.The weight of her words serves as a powerful interlude leading into “Keep My Spirit Alive.”

In the track, “Jesus Lord”, West’s vocals are so raw and emotional, he talks about distracting suicidal thoughts and how religion has been a way for him to cope with his mother’s death, only to segue into a story about poverty and struggle. The track ends with an outro by Larry Hoover Jr. and sends chills down any listener’s song. In a way, “Jesus Lord” almost acts as the climax of the entire record.

Religion is another major theme found on the album. West reiterates symbolic lyricism from Jesus Is King; however, on Donda, he fleshes out a lot of those ideas more effectively this time around Lyrics aside, production wise many tracks see the return of the use of choirs and organs.

A perfect example of this can be found in “New Again” where he uses synthesizers reminiscent of his 2007 Graduation album along with the choir chanting, “Make me new again” ties it into a grand anthem. Even in a song like “Pure Souls,” West talks about how he has changed because of his newfound faith.

Aside from his mother, West also pays tribute to other inspirations like basketball player Kobe Bryant, fashion designer Junya Watanabe and rapper Pop Smoke. On the track “24”, West sings“We gonna be okay” in a way that would make any Bryant fan cry. The beautiful choir makes it such a haunting song for such a beloved and missed basketball player.

The Pop Smoke tribute on “Tell The Vision” misses the mark of incorporating Pop Smoke and his artistry. The mixing comes off as choppy and the track feels out of place on the album as a whole.

In addition to the tributes, West includes incredible featured artists all over the album such as Syleena Johnson, the Sunday Service Choir, Dem Jointz, Vory, Playboi Carti, Fivio Foreign, Baby Keem, Travis Scott, and more. Each artist contributes a unique synergy to the album by adding on to the overall listening experience. In “Jail,” Jay-Z contributes a verse that sets the tone for the rest of the track listing. While listening to “Hurricane,” fans are welcomed to a tranquil vocal intro by The Weeknd as well as a prolific verse by Lil Baby.

Donda is simple. Fans of West will fall in love with this album.  He does not shy away from who he is on this project. West only delves deeper into his own thoughts and isn’t afraid of being controversial or speaking his truth.