Kanye West’s ‘Donda’ Drops After Series of Postponements


On Feb. 8, 2006, Kanye West and his late mother Donda West hold his three awards backstage at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Tyler Chrenka, Editor-in-Chief

Days after its third mass listening party, Kanye West’s Donda dropped amid chaos, which is undoubtedly driving its massive popularity. 

The 147-minute album is a tribute to West’s late mother, Donda West, who died in November of 2007, and its 26 songs are primarily hip-hop with subtle integrations of gospel. 

The highly-packed album charted #1 on U.S. iTunes less than 90 minutes after releasing, but even without its many masterpieces, the circumstances of its release alone would have brought it to the number one spot. 

Hype around the album began to escalate after West held his first listening party in a sold-out Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on July 22—the day before its original release date. 

Apple Music livestreamed the event, and with 3.3 million viewers tuning in, it broke the record for largest Apple Music livestream, according to Billboard. 

The next day, however, fans were met with disappointment—Kanye had decided to postpone the release to Aug. 5. Instead of an album, fans only had video clips of the previous night’s event. 

But this teaser proved effective, for which the next listening party brought in 5.4 million viewers, shattering the two-week-old record, according to Billboard. 

To many people’s expectations, however, West didn’t release after this event either. 

Three weeks passed and West finally released the album after his third listening event at Chicago’s Soldier Field (which, by the way, broke the Apple Music record for a third time, racking in 5.9 million viewers, according to Billboard). 

The music world erupted at the album’s release; Donda quickly started trending number one on Twitter, and the album shot to number one on streaming services.

But just hours after the drop Kanye posted a picture on Instagram that said “UNIVERSAL PUT MY ALBUM OUT WITHOUT MY APPROVAL AND THEY BLOCKED JAIL 2 FROM BEING ON THE ALBUM.”

Kanye’s intention for making the post was likely to cause outrage among his fans, but it didn’t do much.

One response to the post received 82,000 likes, and it said “Big shoutout to Universal.” Another said “Thanks to them. It was either that or never,” and that received over 100,000 likes. 

Fans across the world had been waiting for the album to drop since the first listening party in July, so they didn’t care that it was possibly released without Kanye’s consent. All they cared about was finally being able to listen to Donda.

So is it worth the hype? 

Because there are several fantastic songs that will have no problem sustaining their listenability, I say yes. 

Out of the 27 tracks on Donda, “Jail,” “Off The Grid,” “Hurricane” and “Moon” are by far, in my opinion, the best. 

“Jail” is the second track and first song on the album, and it does a fantastic job as the album’s opener. It has a loud, uplifting beat that projects an idea of breaking free. It’s not clear what West is breaking free from, but some skepticize he is referring to his marriage with Kim Kardashian West. Not only does “Jail” have enjoyable music and lyrics, but it features his long-time collaborator, Jay-Z. 

Following “Jail” is “Off The Grid,” which many fans consider to be the best song on the album. Throughout the song, West raps about going off the grid for the sake of his peace of mind and his kids. “We off the grid grid grid this for my kids kids kids,” West sings to a fast, intense instrumental background. He is joined by Playboi Carti and Fivio Foreign, who rap about their low times in life. Because of its intensity, “Off the Grid” is the leading “hype” song on Donda.

Right after “Off The Grid” is the current #1 ranked song on Spotify and Apple Music, “Hurricane.” The Weeknd and Lil Baby join West in contributing to the most groovy-able song on Donda, and in addition to these three artists, a church choir sings in the background. Throughout Hurricane, West and Lil Baby rap about their struggles with relationships and deaths, and The Weeknd compliments these rap verses with the main chorus. The instrumentals on this track are techno and sound like those in a pop song. 

And finally comes “Moon.” Throughout the song, West tributes his mother and recounts his struggles with her death. “I wanna go to the moon…don’t leave so soon,” Kanye sings referring to his mother. He longs to reach her as a beautiful instrumental background plays, and his pain and sorrow are emphasized. The intense meaning of this song and the slow, somber beat makes this the perfect song to cry to. 

In addition to these, “Praise God,” “Jonah,” “Ok Ok,” “Junya” and “No Child Left Behind” are awesome tracks on the album, all contributing to perhaps one of Kanye’s best and most personal works.