Kanye West is never one to shy from a dramatic performance, whether it’s urinating on his Grammy on Twitter or creating three live events of his upcoming album, DONDA.
Ye, as he prefers to be called after filing documents to legally change his name with the Los Angeles Supreme Court, has been teasing the album since recording it in September 2018.
After a live stream event on Apple in Atlanta only two weeks ago, the rapper debuted in his home town Chicago at Soldier Field. Despite arriving two hours late, fans didn’t seem to mind, and with over a 5.4 million views of his previous Atlanta stream, it’s safe to say it was a success.
Featured in the event was a replica of the Chicago church Ye grew up in. He lit himself on fire before Kim Kardashian West appeared in a wedding dress and veil covering her face, walking towards her husband, from whom she filed for divorce back in June.
DONDA was finally released on August 29, though not without some of the Grammy winner’s flair for drama: he claimed on Instagram he didn’t authorise the release.
The artist’s 10th album has broken Apple Music records within 24 hours of release, with 19 songs in the Top 20 and number one rankings in 152 countries. It’s a testimony to the process and time Ye put into it.
Not one to shy from controversy (or wearing a MAGA hat), the latest listening event had artists Marilyn Manson and DaBaby standing on the front porch of the Chicago home and, unless you’ve been sitting under a rock, having the recent ‘cancelled’ DaBaby was a brave choice.
On July 25, DaBaby announced at his concert, “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up.”
The remarks left the LGBTQ community outraged. Madonna and Demi Lovato were among the celebrities who spoke out against the rapper’s remarks.
Fans of the Yeezy creator have been anxiously awaiting the release of Donda for over three years, with endless rumours that it was coming followed only by disappointment.
“As a Kanye fan I have been waiting for DONDA since it was announced under the title Yhandi in 2018,” said mega-fan Mansour Shakur. “It’s been an absolute roller-coaster, from delays to filler albums such as Jesus Is King in 2019 while we waited for DONDA.”
Now that the long-awaited album is here, fans are speculating about every lyric and its overall relation to the mother of Ye’s children, Kim, in particular with lyrics on song ‘Hurricaine’, which allude to Ye cheating on Kim after she birthed two of their children, North (8) and Saint (6).
"Here I go actin' too rich, here I go with a new chick And I know what the truth is, still playin' after two kids It's a lot to digest when your life always moving"
Despite critics calling it one of the worst albums released by Kanye West, with Rolling Stone giving it 2 out of 5 stars, the downloads tell us a different story. The album is an experience of gospel, healing and honesty that Ye has spent years creating. Is he back to his original self? We say no, but he has risen to a new level, and it’s well worth a listen.