Donda

After confirming his plan to run for president in 2024, asking the court to legally change his name and getting a divorce, a lot has happened to Kanye West since his last album, “JESUS IS KING” was released in 2019. Recently, Kanye debuted his album, “Donda,” named after his late mother, giving fans a glimpse into the mind of Kanye over the past three years. The 27-track album paints a deeper picture of his life: the pain, regret and guilt. Kanye shows us the real Kanye, and why we all keep coming back.

West is no stranger to the spotlight and not always necessarily for his music. He does what he wants when he wants, and dropping “Donda” never seemed to be written bold on his schedule, teasing fans with drop date after drop date. After the initial release was deferred on July 23, fans turned their heads and began to question when the album would drop. But that was not enough. Holding three listening shows in three cities, Kanye showcased extravagant theatrics: a life-sized representation of his childhood home, him parading calmly around stage on fire and his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian appearing in a wedding dress. Kanye stirred the anticipation in his fans he craved, sending them to the edge of their seats and to Twitter waiting for the “album of a lifetime” to hit.

When Donda finally came out, it was a lot on paper. Although 27 songs and a one hour and 48 minute album is more than a little excessive, Kanye holds the listener’s attention with different lyrical styles and modern featured artists, such as Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, Travis Scott, Roddy Ricch and the controversial DaBaby and Marilyn Manson. The featured artists’ sounds seamlessly combine, even with Kanye’s distinct style, to make music worth listening to. Inevitably, with close to two hours worth of listening, there are some songs that are skip worthy.

The album begins with chanting Kanye’s late mother’s name, Donda, over and over, like a heartbeat. It then kicks into the classical rock bass of “Jail,” showing the artist dealing with his feelings over his recent divorce. Lines like, “Guess who’s getting ‘exed? You made a choice that’s your bad, single life ain’t so bad,” pointing fingers at Kim Kardashian. The catchy words of the chorus, however, overshadow the words and echo through the speakers, making the song what it is. “Guess who’s going to jail tonight,” is the perfect verse to scream at the top of your lungs with your friends late at night.

In the fan favorite, “Hurricane,” featuring Lil Baby and The Weeknd, Kanye opens up about his struggles with life, death and love. The Weeknd’s melodic voice combined with Lil Baby’s range of vocals gives the album the first slower paced song it needs. Kanye comes clean, saying, “Here I go actin’ too rich, here I go with a new chick… still playin’ after two kids.”

No Child Left Behind,” would have been the perfect way to end this album. Played during Kanye’s infamous ascension into the sky during one of his teaser shows, the beginning of the song sounds like what would be playing at the gates of heaven. We see in this song, like many others, Kanye’s strong connection to his faith. The soothing chords are exactly what would’ve closed out the album in a normal elaborate Kanye fashion.

With other commendable songs such as “Pure Souls,” “New Again,” “24,” and “Heaven and Hell,” we see a vulnerable, enlightened Kanye coming to terms with his past. We see all sides of him: faith, family and love. He is throwing in the flag and surrendering all of his feelings into one recording.

Now, is the album good? Yes. Is it great? Maybe. Is it the album of a lifetime? No. “Donda” is for a specific group of listeners. It’s not like the normal faster paced rap albums you hear. You either love it, or you hate it. The album is Kanye: it’s unforgettable, egotistical, insane, yet genius Kanye. It’s why his music keeps selling and it’s why we all keep coming back. If you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter because Kanye is going to keep doing Kanye, and he doesn’t care what you think.