DONDA 2’s awaited release continues West’s success

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Photo courtesy of @Kanyewest on Instagram

Releasing on 2/22/22 DONDA 2 marks Kanye West’s 10th major studio album

By Liam Klein, Opinions Editor

Kanye West or as of October 2021, simply Ye, is one of the most polarizing figures of modern culture. His massive impact can be felt in fields such as the fashion industry, music and even high school basketball. However, in recent years, the once estranged rap star has attempted to reshape his public image and persona. 

The formerly somewhat reserved West has in recent years shared more of his outspoken views, gaining him significant media coverage and criticism. West’s commentary on the music and fashion industries, U.S. politics, race and slavery have been generally polarized. Along with this his Christian faith, and open struggles with mental health. 

All that went right out the window with the release of his 10th studio album “Donda” on Aug. 29, 2021. Dawning black clothes, black masks, and bulletproof vest, West released another commercial success. 

However West wouldn’t stay out of the limelight for very long, as in late 2021 it was announced he and Kim Kardashian would be getting a divorce after nearly seven years of marriage. This inherently only sparked more fan interest and public outbursts by West that led fans to the present. 

The album was released with a whopping 22 songs, the first of which was “Security” which was co-written by West. With little to almost no beat, the track relies heavily on synthesized background noise. In the song, West laments about not being able to see his family and asserts that nothing will get in the way of him being with his family. The song sets the tone for an album that is littered with much more personal songs and lyrics, something that West has never shied away from.

After three forgettable songs including features by Future and Travis Scott, “True Love” features the late XXXTENTACION who passed away in June of 2018. The song samples the beat from one of West’s previous song “Runaway.” The song starts slow and maintains a somber tone throughout the track. On it, West sings about complicated relationships of his past and his failure to keep old relationships alive. The song marks the second official collaboration between the two artists. 

The next major feature on the album is Don Toliver on “Broken Road.” Seemingly a continuation of the song “Moon” on “Donda” on which Toliver was also featured. Continuing with the downhearted tone West sings “That wasn’t me, that was Tyler Durden,” comparing his struggles with bipolar disorders to Brad Pitts’s character from the iconic 1999 movie “Fight Club.” 

After a few songs headlined with features such as Baby Keem and the Migos, there are two songs on the verified tracklist that have not been released, the songs are titled “530” and “Maintenance.” Little is known about these tracks. 

One of the more anticipated songs on the album was “Mr. Miyagi” featuring Future and Playboi Carti. It’s safe to say that this song sticks out like a sore thumb on the album. With its reliance on bass, synthesized vocals and beat drops, the song is shallow. It is a dull excuse for another feature and without a doubt one of the weaker songs on the album. 

After that, one of the headlining songs is “Louis Bags” featuring Jack Harlow. The song starts with a sample of Vice President Kamala Harris saying “We did it, we did it Joe!” putting on showcase West’s unparallel ability to sample songs. In the chorus of the song, West repeats the line “I stopped buying Louis bags after Virgil passed,” this is about the passing of West’s former protege Virgil Abloh who rose to fame as the creative director for fashion brand Louis Vuitton. The song is extremely repetitive but puts the skills of Jack Harlow in the limelight. 

The last song on the album and possibly the best is “City of Gods” featuring singer Alicia Keys and Fivio Foreign. Starting with Alicia Keys on the piano the song quickly changes to an uptempo drill beat. Inspired by previous collaborations with the artists, the song references West’s move to New York City when he was an up-and-coming producer in the late 90s.

Overall the album is definitely above average, however, it was overshadowed by a chaotic release, technical issues and West’s antics on social media leading up to the release. Without a doubt like his previous album’s reputation, “Donda 2” will improve as time passes. With an uncertain future, this could be one of the last albums from West for a while so savor it while it is here.