Kanye West’s Recent Album ‘Donda’ Receives Largely Mixed Reactions

Rapper’s new album contains both amazing and weak songs

Naomi Solan, Contributing Writer

As you all know, Donda is Kanye West’s newest studio LP, in tribute to his mother. Kanye is already an extremely perceived individual, and almost everyone has formed their own opinions on him. The lead up to this album was extremely dramatic; from the random announcement, to the postponement because of his divorce, and then another postponement because of this odd beef with Drake. This led to him not only deleting the album art but also turning every profile picture to black, which is speculated to be to prove that he could outsell Drake with no art. But in general, the long wait gave everyone extremely high expectations for this album, I think some of the pieces meet them, while plenty others don’t. This album is extremely long so I won’t waste anyone’s time by talking about all 27 tracks, but I’ll go into the best and worst pieces in it.

First, there are a few tracks which I think were oddly elongated. Like the ending of “God Breathed” just turned into some repetitive filler. Then there’s Baby Keems’ feature in “Praise God” that just ruined the entire track. There was zero cohesion not just to the whole song but as a verse alone. I wouldn’t go as far to call these pieces overstuffed, but they could have definitely been so much better without those annoying add ons. 

Another kind of flop in my opinion was “Junya”. It had the energy of a Carti or Trippie Redd song, but I don’t think it was executed well since it’s not Kanye’s original style. Then, “Off the Grid” just takes that exact problem and adds more repetitiveness to it.  It isn’t a poorly produced track, in fact I like it. But I don’t think songs like this or Junya were in Kanye’s best taste even if they were good tracks. Is a slight added positiveness and the group of bad tracks off this album which is New Again. Really enjoyed the production and the intro  but what was the point of that song? It was like Christian Pop with Chris Brown, the known abuser on it? It was a very weird thought process and a lot of bad choices but an oddly good song at the same time. 

And in speaking of problematic artists. Kanye has had both Marylin Manson and DaBaby featured on “Jail Pt. 2”. Both of which are exiled public figures at the moment. From Manson’s multiple allegations of assault and DaBaby’s recent homophobic comments. Kanye having them on this album just feels like a PR pull. Or something to distract people away from his own controversial past (and present). 

I’ll end the negative part of this with my least favorite, “Remote Control”. “Remote Control” is such a repetitive piece of bad lyricism. The production was alright, and the beat seemed fine at first. But with further listening it became so boring especially with those annoying lyrics. I did enjoy Thugger’s verse, but it was not near enough to pull that song out of the deep dark hole it dwells in. At the end it has the weirdest feature I think I’ve ever heard in my life with help from the Globgogabgalab which just knocks this song so much further down. 

Yet, tracks like “Hurricane” and “Moon” have blown my mind. Hurricane is just absolutely beautiful with The Weeknd’s multiple verse and distorted bridge. “Moon” was an amazing tribute to Kid Cudi’s album trilogy that felt incredibly calm and smooth. The more I listen to these tracks and sounds like those that are scattered in this album, the more other-worldly the sound feels, reminding you of the genuine talent that Kanye has. Just like the verses on “Jesus Lord”, which is an extremely long, almost sickeningly, praise song, but his lyricism is so well written that even as an atheist, it resonates. 

Going back again to multiple songs in which Kanye has featured people who are in their early twenties, and are very new and fresh in the rap game, yet he is still able to maintain that same eccentricness which is also impressive. Again some lyrics definitely fell off, like the bar where he refers to God as his “bestie” or “tame impala- tame impala stay outside”. But again tracks like “Moon”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Hurricane”, and “Believe What I Say” truly make the album. Donda is for sure a good album, and some of Kanye’s best work in years, but it’s definitely not his best piece or close to an album of the year. However, in a way it’s a beautiful, euphoric, and a staggeringly godly piece of art.