Donda Review


Slava Miroshnichenko


After 3 listening parties and much controversy,  producer and artist Kanye West released his tenth studio album, Donda, on August 29, 2021. The 27 track album, dedicated to West’s late mother, Donda West, is a surprisingly delightful album to listen to despite the controversies surrounding the album. The album included big-name artists such as DaBaby, Marilyn Manson, Roddy Ricch, Jay-Z, and countless others. On its release, Donda rose to the top of music charts and became Spotify’s second-biggest album debut on release, reaching 94 million streams on Spotify and 60 million streams on Apple music.


What’s the deal with the release date?

There seems to be a trend when it comes to West’s release dates when it comes to albums. West’s debut album, The College Dropout, was released two weeks after it was supposed to be released. West’s most popular and most anticipated album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, was released two months after the original release date. The longest fans had to wait for the release of an album was his 2018 album Ye, which fans had to wait over two years to get an official release. Following the trend, it is no doubt that fans were expecting Kanye to release Donda later than the original release but hey, better late than never.


Overall album overview

The 27 track album was an overall pleasant listening experience. The album was an interesting fusion of gospel lyrics and hip-hop beats. Some of the more notable songs of the album including Off the grid, Jail, Hurricane, and Moon. Off the grid is an obvious fan favorite. The song has a catchy chorus and a very upbeat beat and melody. The song features Playboi Carti and Fivio Foreign which is a perfect combination for the song as the artists keep the song flowing and the listener on their toes with each of the rapper’s verses. Off the grid is a perfect hype or pump song that really gets the blood flowing. Sadly, Off the grid, is one of a few songs that are really considered “hype” songs. The rest of the songs in the album are slower and tend to lean more for storytelling than actual instrumentals and beats. While the album is dedicated to West’s late mother Donda, Kanye talks about his struggles in the music industry and personal issues such as losing his mother and the general issues that come along with being a star.


The controversy behind the album

Wherever there is Kanye West, there is always controversy. In 2018, West stated in an interview “When you hear about slavery for 400 years… For 400 years? That sounds like a choice.” The rapper has also faced outlash for supporting former president Donald Trump. Donda faces its own controversy with the song Jail pt 2. The track features two controversial figures in the industry, DaBaby, and Marilyn Manson. DaBaby is facing controversy due to his homophobic remarks during Rolling Loud Miami stating, “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, the put your cellphone lighter up.” DaBaby believed that members of the LGBTQ+ are infected with such contagious diseases and wanted to praise those that were not affected by such infections. While DaBaby was facing outlash for what he said during a show, Marilyn Manson is in hot water for alleged sexual assault charges. The artist was allegedly a subject of rape, sexual assault, bodily harm, and domestic abuse. It is not known yet whether these allegations are true or not but it is enough to have fans want Jail pt 2 to be removed from the album in its entirety.


My personal opinion

Overall, I really enjoyed the album. Even though I’m not an avid hip-hop listener, I found all of the songs to be enjoyable and even recommend the album to anyone that is listening for new music to listen to. The album is a sweet memorial by West that can really move the listeners and resonate with West’s loss. I recommend listening to Praise God or Moon for anyone that has never dipped their feet in hip hop as they are pretty melodic and not too intense lyrically or musically. I liked the song Praise God because of it’s upbeat instrumentals that can hype anyone up. The simple lyrics to the song also make it a memorable song that can just keep replaying in my head over and over. I think what really sells the cake on Praise God is the little praise in the beginning of the song and a smooth transition into the actual song. While Praise God is an amazing hype song, Moon is quite the contrary. It is a “feel good” song and reminds me of Mac Miller’s or Joji’s style of music. Moon is just a song you can put on when you are feeling sad, happy, tired, or anything really. My only nitpick with this album is the part 2 songs. These songs were added to not over-saturate songs with features so West copy and pasted the songs just with different artists. With an album that is almost two hours and two songs, I would give this album an 8/10 due to the sophistication of the songs and the story behind the songs.