WTVQ ABC 36 REVIEW: Kanye West’s “Donda” arrives proving patience pays off

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kanye West is an artist who always has been surrounded by wild moments and controversy. The rollout of his latest album is no exception, but it culminated in what could be considered the ultimate Kanye record.

“Donda” by Kanye West was first announced to be in the works more than a year ago. Despite the cover art being released and multiple track lists being seen online, nothing ever came of it.

Fast forward to July 2021 and rumors of the album being released soon were confirmed and a sold out listening event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was held with the album expected to come out the next day. However, the album did not drop and that pattern was repeated a couple weeks later when another event was held and the album was not released again.

By the time a third event was announced at Soldier Field, it was anyone’s guess as to if the album would come out this time. Thankfully, fans woke up the morning of Aug. 29 to a finished album that delivered on every level.

Kanye’s 10th studio album takes the best parts of his discography and blends them together perfectly. The grandiose theatricality of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” the experimental production of “The Life of Pablo,” the vulnerability of “Ye” and the religious content of “Jesus is King” all come together on “Donda.”

All of Kanye’s albums have strong narratives, and this latest offering is no exception. The album kicks off with the song “Jail” about being locked up and concludes with “No Child Left Behind” about the miracles God has done for him, illustrating a clear story arc of a sinner becoming saved.

Songs like “Off The Grid,” “Praise God” and “Junya” take the current popular style of hip-hop production and adds Kanye’s flare. It takes the songs from something formulaic by anyone else to songs guaranteed to get listeners excited and moving.

The album is filled with features from other artists that compliment the production. A perfect example is “Hurricane” with The Weeknd’s heavenly chorus supplemented by a church choir and the way Lil Baby slides onto the track effortlessly. Roddy Ricch’s delivery on “Pure Souls” adds to the celebratory feeling of the song.

Emotional moments are spread throughout the record, named after Kanye’s late mother.

“Moon” featuring Don Toliver and Kid Cudi provides a vibrant interlude. “Come to Life” details Kanye’s relationship with Kim Kardashian in a way that feels like the climax of a movie with the accompanying piano backing up his vocals.

Some might view “Donda” as bloated and indulgent with its runtime of an hour and 48 minutes along with four bonus tracks. However, the length makes listening to the album more of an experience than just another rap record.

Overall, “Donda” is Kanye West’s best album to date. West is able to take all of the musical styles he’s worked to innovate and bring them together for his most cohesive and artistic album. It is clear to feel what Kanye feels while listening to the album and it makes for a an experience unlike any he has crafted before.

— HAGAN WELLS, WTVQ ABC 36 News Music Buff

Categories: Entertainment, Local News, News

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