Kanye West's long-awaited tenth studio album, Donda, which is a tribute to his late mother, is full of historic moments, controversy, music greatness and genius is finally out in full.
1) Tracks from the album were premiered at FOUR separate listening events. Something we had never seen from an Artist on this level. Read an article exclusively about these events here.
As these events were some of the biggest gatherings since the COVID-19 pandemic – Kanye offered free COVID-19 vaccines to the ticketed fans who attended — and event-goers were required to show proof of vaccine or a negative test to enter.
2) 32 tracks of Donda West religious rap-influenced music made its debut at number one on the Billboard 200, making West one of only seven artists with at least ten number one albums in the 65-year history of the chart.
3) Numerous stars attended the listening events, in support of Kanye's work dedicated to his late mother.
This included, in no particular order,- Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian-West and their four children, DaBaby, Marilyn Mansion, Westside Gunn, Jadakiss, Jay Electronica, Dave Chappelle, Chance The Rapper, Lil Durk, Travis Scott, Roddy Ricch, Ty Dolla $ign, Kid Cudi, Don Toliver, Shenseea, and more.
4) Kanye has gone on record saying Donda was released by Universal without his approval.
He wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post claiming, “Universal put my album out without my approval and they blocked Jail 2 from being on the album.”
After the scrapping of Yahndi in 2019 and then borderline exhausting and confusing fans with four listening parties, many believe Universal had a set date when the album needed to be released. As many of us know, Kanye has never been one to drop an album when we think he will, even if he explicitly tweets out a date.
5) During the Donda rollout listening parties and even up into the release of the Deluxe on November 14th, Kanye and his team continued to change and critique the album throughout.
Verses and hooks were cut, changed, or even added. Mostly on the ‘pt 2s' of songs. For example, Kid Cudi has an added verse on ‘Remote Control pt 2‘, Ty Dolla $ign has an added verse on ‘Junya pt 2‘, and Tyler the Creator had backup vocals added on ‘Come to Life‘. Also, the deluxe edition has a completely reordered track list, as well as adding 5 bonus tracks.
Mike Dean, one of the main executive producers of Donda, explained how Kanye West adjusted the album after each listening party. West would shape the album based on in-person and online reactions after each listening party, among Kanye's personal input, of course.
One prime/intriguing example of the critiques comes from the added deluxe track, ‘Life of the Party‘ The song was cut from ‘Donda‘ at the request of the featured Outkast rapper Andre 3000 in protest against Ye's decision to edit out all swear words from the album.
The original track, which can be found here on Youtube, leaked in September, and with it came an aggressive verse from Kanye aimed at Drake. The track was later added to the Donda deluxe and also released as an explicit single, meeting the request by Andre. However, it was mostly an entire new verse from Ye, with no mention of Drake.
*For extended info on all the changes and critiques made on the album into the deluxe edition click here for an article breakdown by distractify.com.
To see Kanye as a guest on Drink Champs podcast talking about many things, including Donda click below.