“Donda, Donda, Donda…” A Look Inside Kanye West’s 10th Studio Album


Ahden Islam, Photo Editor

After months of anticipation and frustration, Kanye West finally delivered his 10th studio album, “Donda,” on August 29. The cycle of checking streaming platforms on the days of suspected release dates and finding no album has finally ended. Although Kanye stated on social media that he hadn’t yet granted approval for his record label to release the album, after multiple live performances of different versions of the album, listeners were delighted by the “surprise” drop. The album is lengthy, with 27 songs, including multiple versions of the same songs with different artist features. This detail demonstrates the unfinished nature of the album, and offers a possible explanation as to why Kanye needed more time. Although it may have been hard to take the album seriously, especially with all the antics of recording the album underneath Mercedes Benz stadium and burning a model of his childhood home down during one of the live performances, many songs on the album are really good. However, most of the time it was Donda’s star-studded features that really saved its songs: Jay-Z, Playboi Carti, Baby Keem, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Lil Durk, Young Thug, Jay Electronica and more. At some points it seemed less of a Kanye-recorded album and more of a Kanye-produced album. 

Don’t get me wrong, the genius of Kanye still shone through on songs where he had little to no lyrics. My personal favorites off the album include: Off the Grid, Hurricane, Pure Souls, and Heaven and Hell. It is no surprise that the first three of these all include features of some of my favorite artists (Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, Roddy Ricch, The Weekend, etc.) who really shone with their unique vocals and catchy rhymes–they each  understood their assignment.
Unfortunately, there are still some songs that miss the mark and are mediocre, including Tell the Vision (again just an unfinished version of a song already released on Pop Smokes album, Faith) Donda Chant, Ok Ok pt.2 (an unnecessary revision to an already good song), and God Breathed. Although these songs are not great and made the album unnecessarily long, as a whole, the project is a really enjoyable listen. “Donda” is nowhere as good as some of Ye’s other albums like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or Graduation, but it’s not the worst he’s made. Sure if you put it on shuffle, you may skip a few songs, but the moment you land on a banger, you’ll be singing right along.

Overall Rating: 6.8/10