Ye’s Donda is a Breath of Fresh Air


Ye at one of his listening shows

Jacob Sanchez, Writer

Donda is the most recent commercial album of popular rapper, songwriter, producer, and fashion designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. Ye’s 10th album was released on all streaming services last August. It sold 357 million streams in its first week, which at the time, was a yearly high for all commercial albums until Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” overtook it a week later.

It was advertised multiple times in the summer of 2021; when Ye hosted three listening events prior to the release in Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta and Soldier Field in his hometown of Chicago.

Donda, titled after the rapper’s late mother Donda West, starts off with a surprising introduction, with the song “Donda Chant.” The only word in the 52 second song is Donda. Donda is followed up with “Jail”, a song that debuted #3 on the Rolling Stone’s Top 100 song chart. Jail offers a thumping guitar instrumental throughout the track and unique word play from legendary rapper Jay Z. This started the trend of the modern and upbeat collection of songs in the first half of Donda.

From Jail to Remote Control, Kanye serves listeners with great features, upbeat tracks, and memorable hooks, which sets a great quality for the rest of the project.  Notably, the track Hurricane is a crowd pleaser that includes a mesmerizing chorus from Canadian artist “The Weeknd” and a catchy verse from rapper “Lil Baby”. 

Donda transitions from upbeat, and high energy, to a more soulful and religious theme. The songs “Moon”, “Heaven and Hell”, and “Donda” switch the mood for the album, before addressing the deeper songs like “Come to life”, “Pure Souls” and other emotional tracks in the latter stages of the project. Most notably, the song “Jesus Lord” shares his deep thoughts on his experience on the loss of his mother and whether or not he will go to heaven to see his mother there. 

Although there are many highlights to the album, Donda has received its criticisms for the length and filler that is added to the LP. “Tell The Vision” and the tracks at the end of the album that were part twos to previous songs add unneeded length and mess up the mood that was established earlier. These tracks could have been added to the deluxe that was released later in the year. 

However, for most fans in the hip hop community, including myself, this album offered a breath of fresh air for all listeners. There was a great mixture of drama, especially with the news regarding Drake, modern upbeat songs like “Off The Grid” and “Praise God” and classic songs that brought all Ye fans to past projects like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Jesus is King, especially when he refers to a more religious theme. 

The recent nominations to the 2022 grammys clearly shows the quality and enjoyment listeners have while playing Donda. The versatility of the album is very inviting for all music fans, no matter what genre they listen to the most. Like most of Ye’s albums throughout the 2000s, Donda is a must listen for all fans.