Donda drops

The long-awaited 10th solo Kanye project is released


Album cover via Def Jam Recordings

The plain black album cover came as a shock to many fans. Most were too happy to see the album released to care, though.

Rating: 9/10

After 3 listening parties, a staged remarriage to Kim Kardashian, and burning a replica of his childhood home, the shenanigans are over. Kanye West’s album Donda has been released to streaming services around the globe.

The project spans 27 tracks long, and gives 1 hour and 44 minutes of pure Kanye to satiate his ravenous fan base, who have been clamoring for Donda since the initial projected release date of July 23.

JAY-Z, The Weeknd, Lil Baby, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, Don Toliver, Young Thug, Chris Brown, and the Lox make up a star studded features list. Disgraced artists DaBaby and Marilyn Manson are featured on the track “Jail pt 2” which was released after the initial album release due to complications with DaBaby’s manager.

Kanye explores his journey through his faith in Jesus, mental health, and dealing with the passing of his mother Donda West in this masterfully done album.

For being so long, the quality is remarkably consistent. The production is near flawless and sounds like a complete album, despite many early critics saying that it needed more time in the mixing and mastering process.

“I thought the album sounded unfinished. Since Kanye postponed the release, I expected a much more polished project than what came out,” senior Sujan Acharya said.

There is a medley of rap and gospel music that makes for good variety in genre. Kanye starts off strong with a string of three rap songs, “Off The Grid,” “Hurricane,” and “Praise God” that are crowd pleasers.  The long awaited “Hurricane” kicks off with the Weekend proclaiming that he can “walk on water” in his resonant high pitched voice in a way that feels ethereal.

Keeping with his Christian values, Kanye censored all curse words, offering a new perspective on rap which is usually filled with explicit material, to which Kanye has contributed to many times in the past.

Track 10, “Believe What I Say” is my personal favorite. Kanye’s flow and melody is reminiscent of his style on The College Dropout.  He takes a break from his usual deep and hard-hitting lyrics to show his sweet side on the chorus. “One last sparkle to follow in my light, One last sparkle to follow in love.” Overall it’s a feel good song that will remind listeners of the Old Kanye.

Themes of faith and being reborn are explored throughout many of these songs. On “Lord I Need You,” Kanye opens up and exposes his vulnerability. “Lord, I need You to wrap Your arms around me, I give up on doin’ things my way.”

Between its two parts, “Jesus Lord” takes up more than 20 minutes of the album. Lyrically, this is Kanye’s best track on the album; he pours his heart out and explores his feelings of suicide and coping with the death of his mother.

Other times, Kanye chooses to be less lyrical and let the music itself tell you a story. “No Child Left Behind” is primarily composed of a beat, with Kanye repeating “He’s done miracles on me” at the end. Despite the lack of words, the song still feels emotional to the listener, a last grasp at the spirit of Donda from Kanye.

The entirety of the album is incredibly well done, and the variety of old and new talent featured, as well as the mix of gospel and rap leads to an immersive and intense experience for the listener.