Download NEW Album : Kanye West By DONDA (Zip File) “Donda,” which will be the 22-time Grammy winner’s 10th studio album, is only the latest of his releases to stray from norms.
Named after West’s late mother, “Donda” was scheduled for July 2020 before it was indefinitely delayed, though he announced the title and shared album artwork that month. News of West’s political antics overshadowed his music at the time, with West announcing over the Fourth of July that he would be running for president. The statement led to much scrutiny over the legitimacy of his candidacy, speculation as to how his running might affect the race and concern over his mental health.
Shortly after West announced his candidacy, Kim Kardashian West, who would later file for divorce from her husband of several years, requested “compassion and empathy” for him. While acknowledging that West was “subject to criticism because he is a public figure [whose] actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions,” Kardashian described him as “a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother … has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder.”
West’s presidential bid eventually fizzled out, and his concession speech consisted of a brief, since-deleted tweet: “WELP.” He hasn’t been active on Twitter since, though he returned to Instagram last week to promote a new Beats by Dre commercial starring American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson (who was barred from competing at the Tokyo Olympics because of a positive marijuana test) and featuring the upcoming “Donda” track “No Child Left Behind.”
The video, which West scored and edited, also teased the album’s missed Friday release date.
West reportedly remained silent while streaming “Donda” at the listening event held Thursday in Atlanta. The Associated Press described the album as featuring “gospel themes, hip-hop vibes, his Auto-Tune vocals” and noted that it included a track featuring Jay-Z, a West mentor with whom he has shared a tumultuous professional relationship. Audio engineer and producer Young Guru shared on Twitter that Jay-Z recorded his verse Thursday at 4 p.m., just hours before the event.
Last night, Kanye West debuted his upcoming album DONDA at a listening party in Atlanta in front of an excited crowd. In true Kanye fashion, no one knew what to expect, nor what the album would actually sound like. Previous albums such as The Life of Pablo and Kids See Ghosts have all been revealed in drastically different ways, from a fashion show at Madison Square Garden to a cozy gathering at the rapper's Wyoming ranch.
This week has seen Kanye once again coming back to social media, returning to fashion looks reminiscent of his 2014 aesthetic, debuting the first DONDA track in a Beats by Dre spot, as well as potentially performing at Rolling Loud in Miami – making it clear that he's really back this time.
Gearing up for the album's official release, here are five main takeaways from Kanye's DONDA listening party.
The listening party took place in Atlanta, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 42,000 people were in the crowd, who had all previously bought tickets for $20 or $50 prior to the event to be the first to listen to the upcoming album. The performance took place on a big empty floor, with the rapper pacing across the stadium whilst the music played out loud on speakers. The rapper didn't say anything throughout the 45-minute long event, nor when it ended. It was all just total silence. We know Kanye has been loving the work of Bottega Veneta in recent times, and perhaps he’s adopting their silent approach as a personality trait, too.
We already know that Kanye never disappoints when it comes to features, and ahead of the album's reveal, fans have been speculating as to who would snag a spot on a track. The first feature on the album is long-time Kanye collaborator Pusha-T, on the track "Come to Life," and throughout the tracklist, we also see Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Lil Durk, Roddy Rich, Pop Smoke, Vory, and more. One name that is missing, however, is Tyler, The Creator, who Kanye was photographed in the studio with recently, leading fans to think the album might still not be fully finished.
Kanye's mother Donda West, who the album is named after, is also featured on the album. Samples of her speaking are intertwined with the songs, followed by lyrical nods to the rapper's relationship with God and his struggles with loneliness – something the album is centered around.