Oh, he’s up!
Releasing his tenth full-length studio album Donda on Aug. 29, world-renowned hip-hop artist Kanye West has done it once again.
Kanye West is back.
West released a phenomenal record. Yeezus delivered late on Donda, an album named after his deceased mother, but did not disappoint. Headlined by features such as Jay-Z, Baby Keem, Travis Scott, Playboi Carti and my own personal favorite, Fivio Foreign, West had a plethora of help creating this masterpiece of an album devoted to God and his mom.
However, this is not to say that Kanye was carried by featured artists as there were a number of solo tracks where West excelled. In “Believe What I Say,” West goes back and forth on an upbeat monologue, reminding himself to not let the fame and success he has garnered get in the way of what is most important in his life: God, his children and his admittedly strange on-and-off relationship with model Kim Kardashian.
With Donda, Kanye continued on his righteous journey from his previous album, Jesus is King, censoring all foul language (slurs, expletives etc.) from the record as the material is all loudly based on Christianity and faith. Kanye continues to explore God and what he means to him. But, where Donda differs from Jesus is King is the constant presence of Donda West, whether it is a sample of her speeches when she was a professor or it is just Kanye rapping about how much his mom meant to him.
For most that are fortunate to have a mother, we love them unconditionally. Donda offers a look into the mind of a boy yearning for the physical love of his mom, eerily tapping into an emotion that resonates with me, despite having two loving mothers. There were points on this album where tears filled my eyes because of the sheer emotion leaking out of the songs.
A willingness to show vulnerability has always been a redeemable quality of Kanye’s work. He has never shied away from controversy or speaking his mind, for better or worse. As a result, we as the audience get some of the rawest, unforgettable audio tracks imaginable.
On “Off the Grid,” we hear Fivio Foreign rap, unlike anything we have ever heard before, speaking on his days in prison and his day-to-day struggles losing loved ones. Finally, on “Moon,” Kanye, Kid Cudi and Don Toliver synthesize on a painful, melodic track that explores past memories and looking forward to an uncertain future.
Overall, Kanye and his team went above and beyond to deliver an emotionally attached and sonically pleasing long play.
As far as the album goes, Kanye did not disappoint fans. He is one of the greatest musicians ever to step foot on the planet, and he delivered an amazing album to stake his claim as the G.O.A.T.. Exploring themes like his mom’s passing and his continued dive into Christianity were executed perfectly, and as a result, the album did well as West’s comeback.
However, for Kanye, where this album may have been most impactful, lies in controversy. Ye’s album was 37 days late; mixing was suspect at best when first leaks of the songs surfaced, and biggest of all, Kanye’s ongoing feud with fellow rapper Drake hit a high point once again.
Through the years, the two megastars have had their share of feuds, whether it would be Drake rapping certain unflattering bars about Kanye’s wife at the time-Kim Kardashian, or Drake getting into a massive spat with Kanye signee Pusha T.
However, compared to past scandals, the beef this time was much more civil, with each artist delaying their album in an attempt to boost sales over the next record release.
Kanye West will always be associated with drama.
Kanye West will also always be associated with greatness.
Never change, Ye.