Kanye West Releases ‘Donda’

After nearly 16 months of teasers, three listening events, and one presidential campaign, rapper Kanye West has released his tenth studio album, Donda. The album, which runs for 108 minutes and has 27 songs, includes over a dozen features from big artists, including Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Playboi Carti, and much more. 

The album was made known to the public on July 13, 2020, when West released a brief snippet on Twitter, entitled Donda. About two months later, another snippet was posted on West’s twitter account, this preview named “Believe What I Say.” Excitement sparked again on July 17, 2021, when rapper Consequence posted an image of West in the studio with Tyler, the Creator. Pusha T, a friend of West, first announced the initial listening party on July 19. Finally, anticipation peaked when the Beats Electronics company released an advertisement featuring West’s “No Child Left Behind” during Game 6 of the NBA Finals. 

West’s listeners would know that the more-than-year long delay was not much of a surprise. Out of West’s complete discography of 13 albums, Donda, was the eighth that did not release according to the expected date. The release date changed a total of 9 times, after 3 listening parties, before ultimately dropping on Sunday, August 29, at 8:00 AM. 

In what was one of the craziest album releases to date, West previewed the majority of the album over the course of three in-person events, which were also streamed on Apple Music. The first two events were held in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Atlanta, and the third was held at Chicago’s Soldier Field. 

Merely hours after Donda was dropped, a picture was posted on West’s Instagram account, reading in big black letters, “UNIVERSAL PUT MY ALBUM OUT WITH MY APPROVAL.” West also claimed the label blocked another song, featuring Dababy and Marilyn Manson, two artists whose contributions to the album sparked controversy. 

While the album has left critics divided, there is no arguing with the accolades. Donda sold 309,000 units within the first five days, breaking the previous record for highest album sales in 2021. It was West’s 10th consecutive album to debut at number 1 on the Billboard top 200, tying the record for most consecutive #1 debuts in history. Within the first day of its release, Donda became the Apple Music #1 Album in 152 countries, with the third-most streams on the first day of any album release. After one of the most memorable series of events in music history, one can only wonder what could be coming next.