Donda: Kanye West is Back with New Music


Kanye West beside the original cover Art for Donda — based on a drawing he had made of his mother when he was a child.

Kate Loughran, Editor-in-Chief, Senior

Rapper Kanye West had many fans on edge when he began his campaign for his new album Donda, back in early Summer. However, the wait was long for the album, and West did not release it until late August.

Donda is West’s newest album since his release of Jesus is King in 2019. The album is named after West’s late mother, Donda West. Both his mother’s impact on his life, along with West’s religious flair are two of the most notable aspects of the album. The first song on the album, “Donda Chant” is a woman repeating “Donda’’ repeatedly, to the beat of West’s mother’s final heartbeats. In another song, “Praise God”, the song begins with a sample of his mother reciting part of “Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward,” a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks. On the song “Donda”, she also appears, talking through the majority of the song. While West’s mother plays a large role in the thought behind the album, his newfound religious tone reappears. His past album, Jesus is King, was heavily religious and had many gospel-esque songs. Donda differs from this, as it is softer on the religious character of the album, but religious tones shine through. This is apparent even through just song titles, such as, “Lord I Need You”, “Jesus Lord”, “Keep my Spirit Alive”, and “Praise God.” West calls on a higher power, and alludes to a multitude of religious references throughout Donda, furthering his religious tone for his music. While religious in many of its connotations, Donda in many ways reverts back to West’s old style, from albums such as Life of Pablo and Ye. Donda is West’s turnback to his roots, in more ways than one.

Donda features many popular artists including Jay-Z, Playboi Carti, DaBaby, Travis Scott, and Kid Cudi. The album was released shortly after Kim Kardashian and Kanye filed for divorce, which led many fans to think this album would be centered around the divorce, and his marriage. However, the album clearly stays away from this, and instead is focused on his relationship with his mother, and god. In order to get the album done, West slept and stayed at the Atlanta Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As fans anxiously awaited the drop, West’s team released many false release dates.

This post-breakup, newfound religious Kanye opens the door to a new era, and many fans await another Life of Pablo, or Ye album. Donda was certainly a step towards West’s past style and self, and many fans are saying: Kanye is back.