Yeah… so I’m going to try to be as non-partisan as possible when doing this. Key word being, “try.”
My favorite album from Kanye West flips between 2007’s Graduation and 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Those versions of Kanye haven’t existed in years, which in a sense is understandable as one would expect people to evolve and change with and over time.
It’s just safe to say that some people weren’t prepared for this heel turn from Kanye.
However, when you take away everything — although, and I’m being totally clear here, I haven’t forgotten and won’t forget the past few years of Kanye’s antics (and I mean everything), which has resulted in my utter and complete apprehension about the guy (and I don’t do that “separate the man from his music” logic) — a solid chunk of his music over said years has been — and I’m being nice here — largely forgettable (2016’s The Life Of Pablo had fleeting moments, but 2018’s ye and 2019’s Jesus Is King were… underwhelming… at best), and hasn’t come remotely close to his music before them. But you know how that goes: you speak your personal truth-slash-opinions, and out comes Free Thinker Twitter to try to shout you down about it.
So, here we are with West’s tenth studio album, DONDA. Named after his late mother, and anchored by an exorbitant rollout that included a pair of stadium shows in Atlanta (which was followed by Kanye essentially living in the Mercedes Benz Stadium for a few weeks) and one in Chicago where he brought out embattled musicians DaBaby (we know what’s he’s been doing) and Marilyn Manson (who is currently facing multiple lawsuits for sexual assault), lit himself on fire, and initially deleted Jay-Z‘s contribution to the album (before sharing screenshots on Instagram between himself and his manager explaining how DaBaby’s verse — which replaced Jay’s — would not be cleared). A 26-song drop (which is a sharp turn from the barely 20-minute albums he helmed from Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, Nas, and Kid Cudi in 2018), the project features a wide range of guests: Syleena Johnson, Playboi Carti, Fivio Foreign, The Weeknd, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Baby Keem, Travis Scott, Vory, Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Don Toliver, Kid Cudi, Ariana Grande, Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn, The Lox, Jay Electronica, Swizz Beatz, Chris Brown, Pop Smoke, Roddy Ricch, Shenseea (who allegedly used to be in some kind of relationship with Kanye’s on-again, off-again, on-again rival Drake… so, there’s that) Ty Dolla $ign, and his Sunday Service choir group.
See? I tried.
Stream DONDA below.