Album Review of the Month: Donda

Kanye West at the Mercedes Benz stadium, promoting his 10th album, Donda. Illustration by Pearl McNames

Kanye fans have longed for the artist, who they call Yeezus, to drop the long awaited controversial album, Donda, and the media is filled with mixed feelings about it. The 27-track list was released on August 29th and revealed to have a variety of features such as Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Marylin Manson, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Travis Scott.. Kanye’s Donda will be his 10th album and has broken streaming service records with 60 million plays in 24 hours on Apple Music, topping 152 countries, and becoming Apple Music’s third most streamed album ever released within 24 hours. 

Donda was created from the image of Kanye’s mother, Donda C. West. Her last heartbeats were heard chanting in the beginning of the album, providing melodic beats of being arrested. The frustration of being married to Kim Kardashain and remaining a good father to his four children, expressing his views of Christainanity and faithfulness, praising Jay-Z for expressing his frustrations over Kanye wearing the MAGA hat in public appearances, and his bipolar disorder, all play a part in his 10th album. 

Fans are scattered and debating whether it was even worth the wait or if it’s another masterpiece from a talented artist. The debate is getting very heated, as Kanye’s childhood home in South Chicago was vandalized to help promote his rival Drake’s album Certified Lover Boy.  The vandals wrote, “Forty Five, Forty Four Burnt Out,” which is Drake’s verse on Trippie Redd’s song “Betrayal”, even “CLB coming soon,” was spray painted on the sign. It is going as far as promoting on billboards across from Drake’s billboards, living and finishing Donda in the Atlanta Benz Stadium to announce his upcoming album, hosting private parties for featured artists, even revealing the address of Drake’s home, creating a group chat and promising Drake that he “would never recover from this.”

A student from Franklin High School, Makye Hall, a long time fan of Kanye West, suggested “The album was like Certified Lover Boy. There were some good songs and some bad.” When asked to give an opinion he thought the album “Had its ups and downs. I enjoyed ‘Believe what I say’ and ‘Moon’ because the lyrics were solid and the beats with the flow were good. I felt like the lyrics can be relatable from another standpoint and other’s perspective. Some of his other songs were okay, some were bad, I felt like he could have done so much better with his music, whether he writes his lyrics or not.”

Peter Le (12), another Franklin student, and another long time Kanye fan. His first thought: “It’s not good. I don’t like it because it’s not my style.” When asked about his beliefs about the album he states, “It’s very Christan so if you like that, there [you] go, praise God, praise Jesus.”

The album leaves the listener with questions and thoughts of their own on what Donda means to them; was Donda really worth the hype? Is this indeed another masterpiece that could kickstart the era of new music? Or, was Donda another album that could be looked at and shrugged off? Can Donda own up to how it was visualized, and how it was supposed to redeem Kanye’s true character? 

Donda may be one of the most controversial albums yet, with debatable features, messages of Christainity, marriage struggles, mental health status, past mistakes that haunt the mind of Kanye, praises and hollers from religion, and it may even redefine the music industry. 

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