‘Donda’: Was the wait worth it?

By Nate Martinez

It had felt like ages since Kanye West had released another big studio album. 

That’s probably because his last release was 2016’s “The Life of Pablo.” 

To be fair, West had dropped some albums, but not the long, complex and structured albums that fans expected.

In 2018, West released a seven-song EP called “Ye,” which totaled 23 minutes of play. He then went on to drop “Jesus Is King” that same year. 

Now, after three years, a couple of presidential tries, some album fakeouts, a very public split with Kim Kardashian and a handful of live breakdowns on national television, West himself managed to drop the long-awaited “Donda” Aug. 29. 

This album, named after his late mother who died in 2007, wouldn’t be a Kanye album without its share of controversy. 

The release comes after West had a trio of shows, two being in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the last being in Soldier Field in Chicago. 

West was supposed to release the album after his first performance on July 23, but issues like not being able to get certain verses cleared on time had stopped him from doing so.

West’s 10th studio album does a good job at mixing choir-themed music with trap beats and soulful samples. 

West covers many topics in his songs, such as his latest split, his struggles balancing fame with his sanity, coping with his mother’s death and finding God. 

West clearly is still in touch with the younger generation, as he has many new artists featured on the album, such as Playboi Carti, Baby Keem, Lil Durk, Fivio Foreign and Pop Smoke.

The biggest surprise can be found on the second song titled “Jail” featuring Jay Z. As many of West’s fans know, he and Jay Z haven’t been friends for a long time. 

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the feud began. Some say it could be after West’s infamous “Imma let you finish” at the 2009 Video Music Awards ceremony, where he left both Beyoncé and Taylor Swift mortified.

It could also be said that it started when Jay Z and Beyoncé didn’t show up to the West’s marriage at Florence, Italy, in 2014.

The feature comes after the two had seemed to denounce their beef. Now, with the feature, it may be possible for fans to hear another “Watch The Throne” in the future.

West puts on a masterclass at mixing upbeat tones in some songs with monotoned sad ones.

Songs like “Junya” capture his wild manic nature, while other ones like “Lord I Need You” are great examples for how he is able to move across all moods.

Despite West being able to bend the rap genre and include so many big-name artists, it feels a lot less like a Kanye album and more like a collaboration between a lot of artists that just happen to also feature him. 

True, one can tell that West had a hand in every song due to the specific choir/trap beats, but it felt like every song needed to feature a different artist.

Basically, what is being said is that West did a great job in structuring the album just about the way he wanted it, but he also managed to shoot himself in the foot by overshadowing himself.

It should also be noted that West may not have had a choice in his pick of artists, as Universal Records rushed the album out on Sunday morning without his final touches. 

Still, one has to wonder how much time he really needed, as it took three years to construct. He even had his own living quarters set up in Mercedes-Benz Stadium so he could finish it.

Final thoughts: This album was definitely worth the wait. Big names in hip hop can be found throughout the album. 

West’s shifts from inspiring feel-good to songs that are subtle and sometimes cynical.

Play this album in your room when you have time to digest the lyrics. You won’t regret it.