It’s a testament to Kanye West’s star power that even after kissing Donald Trump’s ring, declaring American chattel slavery “a choice,” and pivoting to gospel, he still managed to pack a space-age coliseum to debut his tenth solo album Donda. But the Kanye that showed up to Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium more than a month ago, for the first of three Donda livestreams, was markedly different from the one that debuted The Life of Pablo at Madison Square Garden in 2016. No longer surrounded by friends, family, collaborators, and hangers-on, he was alone, covered from head to toe, and pantomiming to clearly unfinished songs. By the third Donda event, last week in Chicago, West—who recreated his childhood home in the middle of Soldier Field—had drawn in a dizzying array of supporting characters, including accused abusers, confirmed homophobes, and his estranged wife wearing a wedding dress.
During the extended stretch of Sunday afternoon that I spent straining to force myself to start listening to the way-overdue, yet strangely unexpected, release of Kanye West’s eleventy-dozen-hour-long album Donda, my mind kept wandering: What must it have been like, I wondered, to be a books critic during the time that Norman Mailer was regarded as one of the most important American writers? Here was a guy who, over the course of three decades, helped radically transform the practice of non-fiction, co-founded the culturally indispensable Village Voice, and led a charismatic, compelling public life. He was also a macho egomaniac, who wrote massively screwed-up things about race and feminism, was obnoxious and pugnacious, and, oh yes, was convicted of stabbing one of his six wives with a pen-knife in a drunken brawl. Now imagine being a newspaper book critic in the mid-1970s assigned to write about the new Norman Mailer book. You’d want to say, “Do we really have to give that son of a bitch the time of day, again?” But then again, that book might turn out to be The Executioner’s Song, the nonfiction novel that Joan Didion called “astonishing,” which helped reshape the debate over capital punishment in its time.
DONDA, the newest release from Kanye West, could be his best-selling album in almost decade. According to HITS Daily Double, the 27-track record is projected to earn at least 300,000 equivalent album units in its first week, greatly surpassing Jesus Is King‘s 264,000 units, Ye‘s 208,000 units and The Life of Pablo‘s 94,000 units; Yeezus raked in 327,000 units in its first week.
After hosting three public listening parties over the past six weeks, stalking Mercedes-Benz Stadium like a high-fashion Phantom of the Opera, reigniting his beef with Drake, and bringing DaBaby and Marilyn Manson out on stage, Kanye West has finally released his 10th studio album, Donda. It’s a long project—27 tracks and an hour and 48 minutes—and there’s a lot to dissect. Here, our staff shares our instant reactions to the album, including what works, what doesn’t, and whether the spectacle of this summer was worth it.
To overcome what ails you, you must surrender. That is the third directive on the famous 12-step road map to sobriety and stability. Recovering from an internal battle that has had external repercussions means deciding “to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God,” according to the Alcoholics Anonymous guidebook, from which multitudes of 12-step programs—treating multitudes of psychological conditions—are modeled. God can mean different things to different people, but in AA’s original conception, the Christian god takes the burden.
Contrary to its trolly rollout, this new horse dewormer of an album that Kanye West dropped early Sunday morning doesn’t qualify as edgy, no matter how hard anyone wishes it to be. As listeners, we’re reflexively drawn to that imaginary edge, the precipice where artists flirt with the unknown while keeping their feet planted in consensus reality — and yes, it’s true, West once made great, era-defining music on that bluff. But now, after years of stylistic dithering and MAGA footsie, it’s clear that this guy has stumbled over the edge and drifted into a dead zone of aesthetic inertia. His new music contains only one unpopped kernel of cosmic truth: The void is boring.
And here we have the latest status update on the ubiquitous Chicago producer, rapper, and self-anointed God, seemingly humbled by life and divorce proceedings from his superstar ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, whilst carrying with him a seething loneliness ever since the death of his mother, whose absence is channeled through the edifice of his South Side childhood home while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with men who’ve shown nothing but disdain for the women in their lives. Kanye West, after spending what felt like 40 days and 40 nights exiled underneath the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, throwing three arena-packed multi-million dollar listening sessions, and boasting a collection of features that rivals DJ Khaled, is a man whose contradictions have folded into themselves. He is a bird trapped in a cage of his own making. He is not suffering from a hint of cancel culturitis. He is, quite simply, a middle-aged man who once touched the hem of musical brilliance with nothing left to give.
UPDATE: Spotify has corrected a statement it sent to Variety earlier on Monday that inaccurately stated that West also topped Rodrigo’s record as 2021’s most-streamed artist in 24 hours; West’s record is only for 2021’s most-streamed album in 24 hours. After several weeks of one of the most highly publicized and confusing album rollouts in history, Kanye West’s “Donda” finally was officially released to streaming services at the unusual, if not completely unprecedented, time of early Sunday morning. While it’s unclear exactly when the album was posted, a press release from Def Jam, West’s label, announcing it arrived at around 8:15...
In the 24 house since Donda's release, West also became Apple Music's most-streamed artist and took 19 of the top 20 spots on the streaming service's Daily Top 100 Global songs chart. After multiple delays, West released the 27-track Donda on Sunday, following a Thursday night listening event held at...
Kanye West has finally let loose LP10. On Friday (Aug. 27), the Chicago rapper released his latest album, Donda. The offering is ’Ye's 10th solo studio LP, and arrives after his 2019 gospel album, Jesus Is King. The project is named after Kanye's late mother, Dr. Donda West, and contains...
Kanye West’s long-awaited album Donda was finally released Sunday. However, the track “Jail pt 2” was briefly unavailable to stream. In a post on Instagram, West complained that his label, Universal, had put out the album, his tenth, without his “approval” and that the track—which featured rapper DaBaby, who’s faced criticism for his homophobic comments—had been blocked. In a separate, now-deleted post, West blamed Donda’s delay on DaBaby’s management not giving permission to use his verse on Jail pt 2. The song also features a chorus from Marilyn Manson, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual abuse and assault.
Kanye West is going to have millions pouring out from his ears. The 44-year-old “Power” rapper is set to debut his newest album, “Donda,” on Thursday with a listening party — his third event overall — in Chicago’s Soldier Field. So how much money in total has he made from...
The rapper's long-awaited tenth studio album appears to be nearing completion; it features Jay-Z and touches on West's divorce
After multiple delays, listening parties and extended stays in various arenas, Kanye West has finally released new album Donda. It features appearances from Jay-Z, the Weeknd, Pop Smoke, Pusha T, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, Jay Electronica, The Lox, Young Thug, Lil Baby, and more. Listen below.
The "Watch the Throne" artist has frustrated fans again as his latest album remains unreleased despite earlier promises.