“Donda”: Do or Don’t?


Anthony Abrahantes

Kanye’s new album DONDA finally dropped, but does it live up to expectations?

Tanya Colodner, Staff Writer

Album: “Donda”
Artist: Kanye West
Release Date: Aug. 29, 2021
Rating: B+

World famous music star Kanye West has finally dropped his long-awaited album “Donda” with label Universal Music Group. This is his 10th studio album and it is already breaking records by being the third most streamed album in the first 24 hours. West is arguably one of the most influential artists of our time and has been the subject of many controversies over the years. Yet, fans keep returning to his music due to his amazing lyricism, featured artists and compelling persona.

“Donda” had been pushed back many times since its initial set release on July 23, being officially released on Aug. 29, more than a month later. This month of limbo heavily teased fans, with just several listening parties occurring for select groups prior to the release. This album once again dives into the Hip Hop gospel that West first try out on his previous album “Jesus is King”. Donda, dedicated and named after his late mother, dives into ideas of religion, regret and sadness. This album stands out from his previous due to its diverse features and unique symbolism in discussing such topics.

“Donda” starts off strong with the hit “Hurricane” featuring Lil Baby, the Weeknd and KayCee. Lil Baby opens up by mentioning his growing devotion to god and uses symbolism in Yeah, walkin’ on the bridge, I threw my sins over the deep end”, using a bridge to show him moving to a more religious stance. This concept would continue throughout the song, with all the featured artists talking about religion. In each artist’s respected verse, they disclose their views on God in their own words.

After “Hurricane”, the album continues into “No Child Left Behind”. This song, featuring Vory, describes West’s trust in god. West describes his utter trust in God versus his trust in his friends. This would be important in the storyline of “Donda” because it shows that due to past experiences in life, he’s had to turn to religion, referencing the hard time he went through after his mother’s passing. Donda was very meaningful and resonated deeply with me. I loved how we were able to see a deeper view into Kanye and his mothers relationship

Donda was very meaningful and resonated deeply with me. I loved how we were able to see a deeper view into Kanye and his mothers relationship,

— freshman Erick Silva

The last song, “Jesus Lord pt 2” goes into detail about his mother and his journey. It starts off with West asking if you know someone that needs Jesus. He’s asking this after he’s finally come to peace with his mothers death and wants to help others. Even though he’s gone through the grieving, he raps about how the darkness is trying to get back in the devil’s watchin’, he just peekin’ in”. He explains that he’s gotten through his depression and this is probably why it’s the last track in the album, to show his progression of grieving. This song is very deep and relatable which puts it high on the tier list.
The album includes a lot of religious standpoints which seem very sudden. For listeners of Kanye that are not religious, this creates a strain between his signature sound and the impact of his lyrics. Songs like “Jesus is Lord” limit the universality of the album.

“I’ve been listening to Kanye for many years but this album is so long, it’s kinda annoying,” freshman Bryan Martinez said.

The consistency of the album is rocky at best, resulting in high favorites and some absolute misses. This could also be a result of the album being so long, as the songs and ideas are dragged out and some songs hold no meaning to the theme. The features are very impressive and seem to have people from every genre, which is an incentive for listeners who aren’t necessarily into gospel. Personally I think Kanye really took his experience of losing his mother and perfectly translated it into an album. He shows the process of grief, not textbook, but as he experienced it. The album had its faults considering pacing but makes up with its beautiful message. I give this album a B+ because it lived up to my expectations but fell short with rollout and length.