Donda Album Review By Kevin Larney
This past Sunday Kanye West unexpectedly released his highly anticipated album, Donda. After numerous listening parties occurring at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the rapper sleeping multiple nights within the venue itself, the wait is over. So what do we think? For me personally I usually have to listen to the complete album multiple times before I critique, but unfortunately I don't have the patience with this project in particular being 27 tracks totaling 108 minutes Iong.
My initial impression of the latest drop was it was average. The biggest thing was I thought the project was slightly longer than it needed to be which at least for me didn't keep me as engaged throughout. Strictly speaking from a standpoint of consuming and not producing, this was almost a fail for Ye. However the narrative and production itself was so well pronounced, I think it trumps any opinions I may have. For those who don't know the 44 year-old generational rapper honored his latest project to his mother, Donda , who passed away in 2007. During live performances, it was noticeable that Kanye was becoming more vulnerable than we've ever seen him before. The album also paid tribute to those effected by Katrina with the song, Hurricane, as it was the 16th anniversary of the storm last week. Lastly, it's plain and simple... community. Kanye is a genius marketer and arguably one of the most talented promoters of our generation. The listening parties were so spontaneous and created discussion amongst all of us that and ultimately brought his fans together despite the 2020 hiatus. In other words, the anticipation leading up to the album was already a win.
Also don't forget Kanye released a new form of technology called the "Donda Stem Player" during the midst of all this chaos. The new hand-held device is responsible for four things:
- Control vocals, drums, bass, and samples
- Isolate parts
- Add effects
- Split any song into stems
Although this product may be considered another one of Ye's overpriced drops, this Bluetooth device essentially lets artists/listeners customize any instrumental/vocal within each song. Reading this article won't do justice but I highly recommend anyone to check out what it is capable of doing. And with the album release, it just drives more traffic to his site.
At this point, Kanye has clearly established himself as a generational talent and promoter within the past couple months. In terms of Donda itself, I can't imagine myself listening to this on repeat in the near future. Maybe we'll still see him at Falcons games though?
Overall Grade: C+