Monday, November 29

Kanye West publishes his new album, Donda, by surprise: 27 songs and 108 minutes


The album, titled with the name of the singer’s mother, arrives more than a year late and with a black image per cover.

Kanye West, in a promotional portrait.
Kanye West, in a promotional portrait.
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Everything around Kanye West has become confusing and hyperbolic: this very morning, by surprise and a year and a month later than expected, the Chicago musician has published his new album on the Apple Music and Spotify streaming platforms. Donda, the name of West’s mother (who died in 2007) is the already known title of the new collection of songs: 27 tracks and 108 minutes long, spun by the memory of the lost mother and the reunion with God, the main themes of his lyrics, and with a black box, without legend or drawing, as the cover.

The detail on the cover is significant to understand the difficult story from Donda, the album that began to be talked about in the fateful spring of 2020. First, it was assumed that West had chosen an image of Damien Hirst, figures in green on a reddish background. Later, a gouache Louise Bourgeois was the illustration chosen according to sources very close to the artist. In the end, Donda It was born as West’s black disc.

The same can be said of the album’s timing. The recording began in Mexico, just before the outbreak of the pandemic, and continued in late spring at West’s ranch / lab in Wyoming. At that time, the singer even published a scheme that announced a batch of 12 songs in 39 minutes. There was even a release date: July 24, 2020.

But July was the time when West launched his election campaign for the presidency of the United States, the time when his public behavior became more erratic. And Donda was passing the deadlines, between unexpected signings (that of the producers, Mars Volta, a rock group already separated), extravagant rumors (Nick Cave denied that the album had been postponed to make room for it), unexpected collaborations (rapper Lil Baby, a former enemy of West) and a year-long blackout. For months, Donda it seemed destined to be Kanye West’s lost record. Until, at the beginning of the summer, the musician put it back on his schedule.

West gave three “listening parties”, half concert and half performance on playback, in stadiums in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Chicago. In the last of them, in his city, West included in the show Marilyn Manson and rapper DaBaby (not to be confused with Lil Baby), two musicians disgraced in the past year: one for allegations of sexual harassment and the other for his homophobic comments in public.

The album also includes collaborations by Jay-Z, The Weeknd, Jay Electronica, The Lox, Young Thug, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Kid Cudi, Lil Durk, Lil Yachty, Baby Keem, Playboi Carti, Ty Dolla $ign, Don Toliver y Fivio Foreign.

Nothing to do with the life of Donda West, the woman who gives the album its name: single mother and English teacher, Kanye West has always said that his mother was the one who led his talent to find an expression.

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