Kanye West recently produced another polarizing creation that seized the attention of global audiences. West’s latest album, “Donda,” reached #1 on the Billboard 200 chart after the greatest opening for any album this year. Over the course of the past two months, the album has remained in the top 10 and become a topic of heated debate.
“Donda” was set to release on July 24, 2021, but was delayed multiple times leading fans to speculate it may never debut. Before the album’s release, multiple listening parties were held, including one in Mercedes Benz Stadium, where Kanye lived for two straight weeks.
When recognizing the tumultuous state of West’s life since his last album, it is realistically a miracle that this album sounds as impressive and cohesive as it does. Kanye has publicly struggled with mental health, feuded with other artists such as Drake and is currently filing for divorce with Kim Kardashian.
The album itself is passionate, lengthy and emotionally taxing for listeners, offering vocal and acoustic diversity. As a tribute to Kanye’s mother who passed away in 2007, “Donda” is unique compared to West’s past work. She had a major impact on Kanye and inspired a majority of his recent music.
The first track is, on the surface, odd or even annoying, as it consists of the word “Donda” being chanted 60 times in a span of 57 seconds. The chant is accompanied by nothing, and R&B singer-songwriter Syleena Johnson’s voice is eerie and disturbing.
Following the chant are two memorable, lyrically stuffed songs which feel more like intros than complete thoughts. “Jail” and “God Breathed” are catchy and voluminous, featuring repetitive phrases and eccentric sounds.
Then comes the heart of the album. The next three songs are vehement and upbeat, definitely intended to energize the listener. As diverse as this compilation is, these songs represent the style and focus of this album. “Jonah,” featuring Vory and Lil Dirk, is an intense transition to the lighter portion of the release.
An obvious theme throughout the rest of the album seems to be a cry for help; Kanye is living in sorrow and pain. Although his religious views are confusing and oddly personal, the fact that West announces his faith and produces Christ-centered music is reassuring.
After listening to ”Donda” for the first time, audiences will feel emboldened and energized. West gives perspective and a sense of gratitude to listeners by promoting the idea that we are blessed to be alive today.
Overall, “Donda” can be considered a masterpiece or a disappointment, but there is no questioning the legendary status of the homeless king of hip-hop. Kanye West has been constructing remarkable pieces of poetry for decades.