There was a fever of anticipation for this project for many reasons.
The public is more than aware of Kanye’s relationship with his mother, to the point that some blame his mania on her passing. Therefore, an album in her honor has to outdo West’s past releases because it’s only fitting, right? Especially if this project was created to adorn the woman you attribute your success to.
The recent beef between him and Champagne Papi and who would grace our ears last or first?
And the array of avant-garde stadium expositions, which felt more like art installations, all led up to the finally released 10th studio album last Sunday–Donda.
Now, let’s dive in because this album has received an ample amount of mixed reviews.
Based on Kanye’s previous projects, the appearance of alleged abusers (which we’ll get into) and the heavy suspense, it earned a 7.5/10 in my book.
“Donda chant” was excessive and creepy; for the sake of art, it did execute at existing in a world of abstractness. However, the first time fully listening to that track was my last. It is essential to mention that Twitter decoded its ambiguity.
Without realizing it, Kanye communicates issues by the very placement and creation of some of these tracks. Infamous for his frequent acts of misogyny and objectification towards women, it’s easy to claim that issues surface because West is still sucking his mother’s bosom. In short, “Donda Chant” is surreal proof of West’s exasperated Odieus Complex and mommy issues, which he somehow blames his past lovers for.
West is a calculated artist, so Jail being the first actual song featuring Hip-Hop mogul and industry brother Jay-Z affirms his social intentions with this project. “I’m pulled over and I got priors” “; we all liars, let it go.” Hop’s favorite alt party rappers
We’ve already dug our graves and buried the hatchet, so let us be because the only entity that can judge us is God. It’s obvious that West is referring to his frequent social imprisonment from his sometimes toxic out-of-the-box thinking.
It also seems he is proclaiming the all sins are equal argument by collectively pluralizing his flaws.
This track sets the tone for the rhetoric and discourse on the album that some have referred to as “desperate.” Almost two hours of West’s narcissism sugar-coated with evangelism and coexistent cries for acceptance and latent accountability.
The rugged rhythmic rock influences paired with an eloquent chord progression that climbs off of 5ths make for a melodic tune. West’s jovial yelling, “Guess whose going to jail tonight,” in addition to this carry a teenage angst aesthetic that only feels just to play at the end of summer. A party rock ballad.
The outro adopts similar Sounds from 808 heartbreak that inspires you to jolt into contemporary dance. Jail definitely made the fave list.
Crying for help as he drowns in the deep end, West’s vulnerability shines through on Hurricane. If you listen closely, you can hear that Hurricane and Moon have the same melody but are executed entirely differently. Hood lyricist Lil Baby adds a trappy sound while The Weekend’s voice effortlessly glides on the beat. Hurricane made the list.
Baby Keem and Travis Scott make for a duo we didn’t even know we needed on ‘Praise God.’ Heavy bass under shrill pitchy auto-tuned vocals from Hip-Hop’s favorite alt party rappers. Encompassing a message of adversity is just the fuel to success, so we deserve this acclaim.
A perfectly executed Lauryn Hill, Doo-Wop sample earned ‘Believe What I Say’ the crown for the catchiest song on the album. Tied with Praise God for turn-up anthems, West let loose on this track and had some fun. Honorary mention for ‘Remote Control’ fitting into this category.
We were genuinely delivered heaven and hell on “Heaven and Hell”. The staccato ad-libs were a terrible way to end what was a symphonic electronic rap tune. Once again, West loses our gaze and focus by slipping into the abyss of non-coherent flurry just as he repeatedly did on “Ye.”
Donda’s words were prophetic and brought us to church and Ariana and the choir took us home. It’s important to know who and where you come from because it can help you on your journey for where you’re going and maybe West needs to obsess over his mothers’ presence and part in this world and community to navigate his own better.
Throughout the album, there are these melodic ascensions in the chord progressions, which juxtaposes the lyrics and albums symbol in our society as it serves as a decision. Paradoxically enough, West’s message still holds so much truth concerning this saturation of cancel culture that doesn’t necessarily cancel anything or anyone but caters to the idea that because you or I may “be woke,” we deserve a platform and recognition while this individual doesn’t. This again is supported by his faith because even though the bible addresses “upholding our brothers and sisters through Christ,” it does not condone the inevitable human judgment that comes from that.
Come to life is an ideal example of this. On a beautiful chorus of spiritual cries, West blames his need for redemption on his crippling sadness and simultaneously contradicts this with “they cannot define me, so they crucify.” Attributing his otherworldy thinking for being misunderstood. When once again, it is a desperate act of grandiose misdirected into self-pity. West makes a symbol out of himself, Da Baby and Marilyn Manson. “Jail” didn’t need a pt.2, though; we must briefly identify it, given its sad existence.
When those in our society act out in ways that oppress communities, it is only just to hold those individuals accountable and garner justice for those affected by their ignorance. Using faith to justify the knowingly corrupt acts of these individuals should be blasphemous, at best. No one on this album deserves pity or reconciliation. If they cannot eat their pride or pain and understand the ramifications of their actions, they can fade into obscurity like many other celebrities.
Last but not least, it is easy to praise and hail “Moon” as the best song on the album. We are presented with Cudi’s exposed expressions and his relentless uninhibited hums. That pair flawlessly with the mellow guitar, whose subtly balances out the intensity of this somber chord progression. “I wanna go to the moon. How can I get through, don’t leave so soon.” Symbolically, this song earns its flowers because West releases all the weight he’s carrying from his mother’s passing and the years following after on this song. Just unloading years of manic depression and cries for understanding and aid. I definitely added this one to my sad girl playlist after the first listen.
This would’ve been the right song to end the album on because this song encapsulates the concept, the music influences, West’s journey and pain, everything.
Honorary mentions go out to “No Child left behind” with Vory’s soulful sing-rapping over foreboding organ synths, Pure Souls with the petty placement of Shenseea on a gospel tune which is new for our ears. “Jesus Lord” for Kanye’s delectable storytelling that he’s sadly toned down on over the years and New again for the iconic line “If I hit you with a W-Y-D? You better not hit me with a H-E-Y. It better be like “Hiii” with a bunch of I’s Or “Heyyy” with a bunch of Y’s.
Somehow, West can still connect with the masses amidst being so disconnected from the latter half of his fan base due to politics and every other reason previously stated. At his core, he can articulate something so trivial though so true.
When you hit my line, you better be excited to talk to me because I’m human and I crave love, happiness, enthusiasm through all the emotional and mental rubbish that this life brings. I’m finding comfort in this empty text.
Kanye doesn’t make music for you to memorize lyrics to. He makes music for you to remember experiences to. You’ll remember “Donda Chant” made you feel like you were in a seance. “Jail” made you feel like calling up your hoodrat friends into doing some hoodrat shit but obviously not in a Migos way.
We took to Instagram to gather one word descriptions for the release and received “Godly, Grieving, grounding, a cultural experience, poetic, intense and return.”