DONDA

by Kanye West


Released August 29, 2021 via GOOD Music / Def Jam Recordings

Reviewed September 5, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Off The Grid (51%), Come To Life (48%), Moon (30%), Jesus Lord (30%)

Kanye is synonymous with every label that a star could own. But before any of those labels existed, he was just a son. A son of God, and the son of Donda. Donda’s cover is nonexistent; the content speaks for itself. Every avenue has been fully explored, affectionately adorned with a piece from each ‘era’ we’ve labeled in Kanye’s illustrious career. There’s no cover, because no single image could truly eulogize the most important woman in this man’s life. Donda is a culmination; culminating a career yes, but more importantly culminating the life, and the woman, who inspired that career to blossom. The existence of Kanye West as we know him, and his mother’s indelible mark on him will never be mutually exclusive. Donda is a crystallization of that sentiment, and is a euphoric release for every single moment that led Kanye to believe that he could’ve saved his mom. He can’t, because she already has been, by the grace of God. Floating on a silver lining, Mr. West has finally ascended. Truly. – Ben (Synth) (9.5/10)

One of Kanye West’s more remarkable adjustments to his modus operandi––the indicator that separates “Old Kanye” and new––is his transition from the “one man show,” to being the ringleader of a musical circus. With each passing release, the entirety of his production seems to grow, and fittingly, the album dedicated to his late mother, bearing her name, is his most extravagant to date. While Donda is incredibly emotional, spiritual, and dramatic, it sounds as though West had a lot of fun making the album. A lighthearted touch to an otherwise cathartic record felt vital here, and along with dozens of collaborators, Kanye West deftly corralled their inputs into a sprawling production with a clear and focused vision. Could it be shorter? Of course. Is it preachy? Absolutely. Still, Donda demonstrates the creative inspiration Kanye continues to lend to an unlimited number of music’s brightest stars. – DeVan (8/10)

After months of supposed release dates and live events, Kanye’s 10th studio album, Donda, is finally upon us. It holds the longest runtime among any album in West’s long line of releases over the last 20 years. Clocking in at 108 minutes in length, Donda is home to an all-encompassing Kanye. But, like anything that pushes a person’s attentive limits, Donda lacks consistency. Style over substance––ironic with the religious overtones, but fitting to a degree––reigns supreme. Donda’s weaknesses lie within its sprawling, comprehensive scope. It results in a mixtape feel, far from the desired effect for an experience of grandiose proportions. Very few can create a work that maintains quality over a near two hour period, and if anyone could, it’d be Kanye; but maybe sometime in the future. Cut the fat, of which there’s plenty, and there’s a solid 40-50 minute project here. – Peter (6.5/10)

Ben (Synth): 9.5/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Hadley: 8.5/10 | Alan: 8.3/10

DeVán: 8/10 | Jacques: 8/10 | Cam: 7/10 | Pablo: 6.9/10

Pax: 6.8/10 | Dominick: 6.5/10 | Peter: 6.5/10 | Daniel: 6/10