Review: Donda.

Donda finally dropped today after its long delay following three, yes three, listening parties. Controversial rapper Kanye West named his tenth studio album after his late mother, Donda West. Yes, he walked through fire and dangled himself from a cable string just to finally give us this album, but it was worth the wait. And (sorry) from one Gemini to the other, nicely done.

The 27-track LP features ingenious collaborations with the likes of Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, Playboi Carti, Ty Dolla $ign, the late Pop Smoke, Young Thug and Lil Yachty to name a few. From the background sample track of Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop (That Thing) in the song Believe What I Say, to the addition of indie international artists peppered on the album grants a sturdy equilibrium of exposing new talent with big names in music to lift the LP.

I personally was not expecting this type of return from Kanye, and after being one song in with the Donda chant and some auto-tune, I thought it would be a hit and miss. This LP, on the contrary, is a more personal reveal from Ye and brings me back to his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy days, which was another retributive asking-for-forgiveness moment for the rapper. If Ye’s good at one thing, its producing good body of works as a whole and going on his repentance run.

Some favourites to highlight (emboldened are the top favourites):

Hurricane – One of the only The Weeknd tracks I loved straight away, this is brilliant and the use of the synths and organs in the background of most of similar tracks on Donda are giving the best church-meets-club theme.

Praise God – The beats, the beats, the beats.

Off The Grid – Another great hype song that will serve well on high volume in the gym and in clubs. Also, the lyric “I talk to God everyday, that’s my bestie” is just a wonderful if not humorous concept.

Junya – This. song. Again, the synths beat serve so much alongside Kanye’s flow.

Moon – A dreamscape track with Don Toliver and Kid Cudi, tranquil and beautiful, fitting for my ‘dreamland’ playlist.

Heaven and Hell – Starts off with a sample that also appears at the start of Jenny from the Block by J-Lo, if 90s RnB is still on the brain.

Jesus Lord – An 8-10 minute track of numinous feeling. This and its part two counter-part as the albums close is a great pick and wonderfully placed (this is why albums should be listened to in order at least at first). I don’t have any other words for my faves.

Jail pt 2 – A great track that reinforces how good Jail is from the first track with Jay-Z. Unfortunately, however, this part two version features the controversial Da Baby… For this, Kanye I could never defend or speak to (and I won’t even begin on the album credit to Marilyn M we know who that is) – the tracks need to sway away from the controversy and redemption trope to be acknowledged simply for the musicality and production.

Ok Ok pt 2 – The part two is even better than the deep initial track of the same name. with the addition of Jamaican artist, Sheena, Kanye

Junya pt 2 – A second take on one of my top favourites – this one, part one and two, throws me right back to my favourite student clubs that played similar hip-hop tracks all night and to some of the best bar and club scenes in Nottingham that fair to this vibe too. It’s just so good.

Also, I should nod to Keep My Spirit Alive, another sombre piece, but all in all, a great successive album.

The list of collaborations which are not indicated on the album track list:

1. ‘Donda Chant’ (Ft. Syleena Johnson)
Prod by Kanye West

2‘Jail’ (Ft. Francis & The Lights & Jay-Z)
Prod by 88 Keys, Dem Jointz, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Ojivolta & Sean Solymar

3‘God Breathed’ (Ft. Vory)
Prod by Allday, Arrow, E. Vax, Kanye West & Ojivolta

4. ‘Off The Grid’ (Ft. Playboi Carti & Fivio Foreign)
Prod by 30 Roc, AyoAA, David & Eli, Kanye West, Ojivolta & Sloane

5. ‘Hurricane’ (Ft. Lil Baby & The Weeknd)
Prod by BoogzDaBeast, DJ Khalil, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Ojivolta & Ronny J

6. ‘Praise God’ (Ft. Baby Keem & Travis Scott)
Prod by 30 Roc, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Ojivolta, Sloane & Zen Tachi

7. ‘Jonah’ (Ft. Lil Durk & Vory)
Prod by Audi, DrtWrk, Kanye West & Mike Dean

8. ‘Ok Ok’ (Ft. Fivio Foreign & Lil Yachty)
Prod by Boi-1da & Kanye West

9. ‘Junya’ (Ft. Playboi Carti)
Prod by Digital Nas, Kanye West, Ojivolta & Roark Bailey

10. ‘Believe What I Say’
Prod by BoogzDaBeast, Dem Jointz, FNZ, Kanye West & Ojivolta

11. ’24’ (Ft. Vory)
Prod by AllDay, Cory Henry, Kanye West, Ojivolta, Warryn Campbell

12. ‘Remote Control’ (Ft. Young Thug)
Prod by 88 Keys, Cubeatz, Digital Nas, Mike Dean, Kanye West, Ojivolta

13. ‘Moon’ (Ft. Don Toliver & Kid Cudi)
Prod by Kanye West, BoogzDaBeast, E. Vax, DJ Khalil

14. ‘Heaven And Hell’ 
Prod by 88 Keys, Cubeatz, Wallis lane, Mike Dean, Kanye West, Ojivolta

15. ‘Donda’ (Ft. Ariana Grande & Tony Williams)
Prod by BoogzDaBeast, FNZ, Kanye West, Ojivolta

16. ‘Keep My Spirit Alive’ (Ft. Conway The Machine, KayCyy & Westside Gunn)
Prod by BoogzDaBeast, FNZ, Kanye West, Ojivolta

17. ‘Jesus Lord’ (Ft. The LOX, Jay Electronica & Swizz Beatz)
Prod by Gesaffelstein, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Swizz Beatz

18. ‘New Again’ (Ft. Chris Brown)
Prod by Wallis lane, Mia Wallis, 88 Keys, Kanye West, Ojivolta, BoogzDaBeast

19. ‘Tell The Vision’ (Ft. Pop Smoke)
Prod by BoogzDaBeast, FNZ, Kanye West, Ojivolta

20. ‘Lord I Need You’
Prod by BoogzDaBeast, FNZ, Kanye West, Ojivolta, Wheezy

21. ‘Pure Souls’ (Ft. Roddy Ricch & Shenseea)
Prod by 88 Keys, Bastian Volkel, BoogzDaBeast, Kanye West, Fyaman, Kanye West, Ojivolta, Shuko, Sucuki

22. ‘Come To Life’
Prod by Kanye West, Mike Dean, BoogzDaBeast, Warryn Campbell, Jeff Bhasker

23. ‘No Child Left Behind’ (Ft. Sunday Service & Vory)
Prod by Gesaffelstein, Kanye West, BoogzDaBeast, Cashmere Brown

24. ‘Jail Pt. 2’ (Ft. DaBaby)
Prod by 88 Keys, Dem Jointz, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Ojivolta & Sean Solymar

25. ‘Ok Ok pt 2’
Prod by Boi-1da, Kanye West, Louis Bell

26. ‘Junya pt 2’ (Ft. Playboi Carti & Ty Dolla Sign)
Prod by Digital Nas, Kanye West, Ojivolta

27. ‘Jesus Lord pt 2’
Prod by Gesaffelstein, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Swizz Beatz

A nice little tid bit story you may have or have not heard – here’s Jamie Foxx talking about a young, shy Kanye and how *that* Gold Digger song came about, then realising the great music Ye would make.


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