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Does DONDA still religiously slap, one month later?

With his latest project promised in late July, Kanye kept us on our toes for the entirety of August DONDA was finally released on all streaming services on August 29th, 2021.

Was DONDA worth the wait? As more visuals from the album drop today for the song ’24’

The album begins with “Donda Chant”, a haunting and wistful tribute to the artists’ late mother, that fans theorize is truly bursting with symbolism.

Some suggest the possibility that the rhythm in which “Donda” is repeated represents a heartbeat – that of Kanye’s late mother as she took her last breaths, or possibly of the artist himself as he processed his grief.

Nonetheless, Kanye chooses to begin DONDA on a nostalgic note in appreciation of his primary muse for what’s to come. As we continue to experience this new project, Kanye introduces us to powerful instrumentals and impactful lyrics that define a new era of his contribution to hip-hop music.

Kanye uses this project as a palette to arrange and combine genres upon. Most notably, he stays true to his hip-hop forte while including influences from pop, gospel, rock, and many other elements of music.

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He utilizes these genres through a strategic combination of powerful ballads and heavy trap beats. “Jail”, which immediately follows “Donda”, adds to the intensity of the album’s beginning through its powerful guitar chords.

Immediately following this track is the bass-heavy “God Breathed”, which is then followed by “Off the Grid” which features a trap-esque beat.

Next comes “Hurricane” an instrumentally minimalistic ballad that heavily highlights the powerful vocals delivered by Kanye and his well-selected features of The Weeknd and Lil Baby. As we can clearly see through the first few minutes of the project, Kanye plans to keep us on our toes all throughout.

On a lyrical level, Kanye employs the motif of religion while touching on many other crucial themes along the way. For example, the chorus in “Jonah” features Vory touching on religion while simultaneously acknowledging his own mental health as he says “I hope you’re here when I need the demons to be gone.”

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The spiritual motif continues with Vory’s verse, such as when he relates his religious beliefs to the grief of losing loved ones as he says “hope they got headphones up in heaven.”

Another track on the project, “Ok Ok”, is centered around the idea of there being acquaintances in Kanye’s life that he would describe as being fake because they “only show up when we cut the cake.”

While this song touches on the importance of having genuine people in your inner circle, Kanye concludes it with the powerful lyric “find God ‘fore it’s too late” to relate it back to the concept of religion serving as salvation.

Overall, Kanye continues to communicate these concepts and experiences through the lens of religion throughout DONDA in an insightful way that allows the lyrics to be universally impactful.