Bruh by Padma Yang September 8, 2021
Kanye has always chased perfection, but in the case of his latest album release could it have done more harm than good?
After many iterations, Ye’s much-delayed album ‘DONDA’ is finally and officially out in the public. ‘DONDA’, the artist’s 10th album, is named after his late mother Donda West.
Ever since the release, ‘DONDA’ has received quite a load of controversial critics on social media and within the music industry. After multiple adaptations in recent weeks, the album is now settled with 27 songs, which is 1 hour 49 minutes of length in total.
Yet, regardless of the artist’s effort to consolidate his work by fusing all his thoughts in one album, listeners and reviewers remain confused, “Ok, so what is the album trying to say?”
Is it a pure tribute to the late Donda, or the artist’s artistic expression of his religious belief, or his discussion of America’s long-existing incarceration problem?
The messages in the album are a little messy, there is so much Ye wants to include and so much that it requires the audience to digest. But overall, what this album is about really depends on how you perceive and interpret it.
Nothing is more dramatic than the drop of ‘DONDA’. The artist’s newest baby is finally out in the world after many delayed release dates and three dramatic listening events. Knowing the artist’s volatile personality, the internet does not feel surprised at all.
The album is no one-man’s work though, as we can tell from its collaboration with multiple well-known artists. Artists who have participated in Ye’s ‘Donda’ project include Chris Brown, Pusha T, Travis Scott, Jay-Z, DaBaby, Marilyn Manson, and others.
Ye’s third listening party was held on a Thursday at Soldier Field, Chicago. The listening event, however, generated criticism. First of all, because of its missing requirement for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test upon entry.
The stage in the third listening event was built around a replica of Ye’s childhood home in South Chicago. The house bore a large cross on its roof, which echoed with the religious ambiance in the album’s aesthetics.
Ye finished up his listening with a dramatic stunt by setting himself on fire. His creative stage planning, however, provoked very much polarized feedback from viewers at his listening event and online.
Social media has also reacted critically to Ye’s choice of featuring Marilyn Manson and DaBaby in his album. Ye even brought them on stage at his listening event.
Manson has been accused of multiple sexual assault cases. DaBaby has been criticized for his homophobic comments during the Rolling Loud festival. The public seriously questions Ye’s intent.
Enough with the world’s divisive opinions on ‘Donda’. Let’s talk about the album’s themes and what they are trying to convey.
Besides Donda and Ye’s perspectives of God, America’s incarceration problem is probably the other most important theme in the album. There is no doubt ‘Donda’ has an obvious political conscience.
The idea of separation and broken community that is caused by incarceration is deeply embedded in the lyrics. Songs like “Jail” and “Jail pt 2” are pretty candid examples.
Kanye is known for his efforts to bring on the talks of prison reform and “free the inmates” to his musical performances. Quoting gang leader Larry Hoover’s son’s words and integrating them into his music, therefore, honestly executes Ye’s intention.
“But it’s also an extension of Kanye’s individual grief for his mother, a displacing of his personal sorrow so that it joins with a larger collective sorrow for those loved ones with whom reunification is impossible.”Aja Romano, Vox.
Kanye is known for his good aesthetics and his stubborn pursuit of perfection in his music and art.
The album is a product of collective talents and efforts. However, not every guest artist is happy with the final track line-up for Donda. Rapper Soulja Boy, for example, posted on Twitter about his displeasure with being left off a track that he was asked to be a part of.
Ye, additionally, was dissatisfied with the rollout.
He claimed on Instagram that Universal Music Group released his new album without his approval. The artist also believed that the music company was responsible for the fact that “Jail pt 2” was not included on streaming.
Interestingly, there are some comments trending on the internet right now and suspecting Ye’s listening parties are “ritualistic” in nature.
Fans, internet detectives, and conspiracy theorists who go into a deep investigation with every detail at the listening events have also further fueled up the suspicion.
They have been talking about the blood-colored drinks handed out at the party, the hexagram symbol on the merchandise, the energy in the seating, and etc.
Well, who knows? Maybe Kanye chasing perfection is simply him channeling and manifesting his inner emotions. Possibly, he is experimenting on a new aesthetic on stage?
But hey, we may never know unless we are Kanye West.