Will DONDA finally drop?

Graphics by Renee Wang

Another day goes by with fans waiting for Mr. West’s move on his next album—but his antics are starting to get old.

Named after his late mother, American rapper and producer Kanye West plans to release his tenth studio album, Donda, in his next listening event in Chicago on Aug. 26. The album, which is expected to be 24 tracks long, includes a star-studded lineup with Hip Hop icons such as Jay Z and Playboi Carti. Kanye, however, has given no indication that he will release the album.

On the verge of his comeback, West has yet again retreated to his old antics—posting cryptic messages and extending deadlines. But that is expected in being a Kanye fan because the calm after the storm is one of the greatest discographies of modern-day music. However, this time around, it is different. People have grown tired of his stunts and begun to put enormous pressure on him to release the album after two months.

As Kanye’s stunts grow bolder, the influence and hype around Donda only will diminish. If Kanye truly wants it to showcase his sound to his fans: these overblown events are not the way to go.

But it would not be unusual that the whole performance was an enterprise scheme made to milk as much money as possible with the hype around Donda. At first, Jul. 22 was supposed to be the initial release date following a listening party that saw Kanye, dressed in all red, running around the Mercedes-Benz Stadium while Donda blasted on the speakers. We waited, but it was not released. Shortly after, West announced another listening party for Aug. 5. Surely he will drop this time, right?

Unsurprisingly, no.

Instead of a full release, we saw a stage of Kanye lookalikes prancing around as the previews played. The music had changed, with different sounds and new artists, featuring longtime friend Kid Cudi. The hype was at an all-time high at that point, countless fans refreshing their Spotify and Apple Music as soon as the hour had hit 9 PM. According to Apple Music, West pulled in a whopping 3.3 million viewers, impressive numbers for a half-hour show, showcasing the immense success of media play.

It is not the first time Kanye took it to another level when hyping his upcoming releases. As they say, history only repeats itself with fans taking it to social media to display their distaste. As the memes and hate comments kept rolling in, Kanye, lavishing in the attention, sought a perfect time to announce his next listening party in his hometown, Chicago. Fans and haters would have an incentive to tune in to the live stream on Apple Music to see what Kanye has in store. While all of this is leading toward Donda finally being released, it will not come as a surprise if another listening party is announced for the next month as Kanye proves that the theatrics will always overtake simply good music.

The cherry on top of this releasing mess: Kanye has recently taken to social media to renew his heated rivalry with a longtime foe, hip hop artist Drake. A friendship turned sour; Kanye and Drake have a lot of history together, releasing songs with each other and against each other. After the dispute seemed to be squashed in 2018, Drake recently took to the microphone to speak his mind about Kanye in a feature for Trippie Red’s recent album, Trip at Knight.

Drake hinted that Kanye had delayed Donda because he is afraid Drake will drop his album shortly after, taking Kanye off the spotlight. Many fans have already been speculating this, and these assertions have only added fuel to the fire. Kanye took to Instagram to post a deleted screenshot of a cryptic group chat. Kanye sent a photo of the Joker, adding that he loves that Drake keeps on throwing jabs at him, ending his message with “you will never recover.”

He then posted another now-deleted screenshot, this time with the photo of Drake’s home address in Toronto, Canada. Which brings up the question: is Kanye battling Drake again a publicity stunt, adding more hype for both of their respective upcoming albums, or has their dispute truly reignited?

Either way, entertainment for fans has never been so plentiful with the renewal of this beef. With all of the spotlight on Kanye, what will be his next move in a game of musical chess? Will we finally see a successful homecoming story on Aug. 26, or will Donda be lost in the countless Kanye projects that never saw the light of day?

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