Believe what I say: Donda will make you come to life

After 401 days consisting of twitter rants, a bizarre presidential run, the creation of Yeezy Gap, and a million changes to the release date of his album, Kanye West finally relinquished his tenth studio album “Donda” to the hands of his patient fans on August 29, 2021. 

“Donda” serves as a tribute to Kanye’s late mother Donda West, whose narration is included throughout the album. This album is not only Kanye’s most long-awaited one, but also his longest in terms of its tracklist, consisting of 27 songs that take a whopping 1 hour and 48 minutes to listen to. For diehard fans, this length is perfect, but for others, it may be discouraging to have to carve 2 hours out of their day to listen to Kanye. 

Although the album may be lengthy, Kanye’s exceptional vocals on “Donda” could easily convince listeners to want to hear the entirety of it. Songs like “Come to Life,” “24,” and “No Child Left Behind” feature his singing voice, which is full of emotion and authenticity. He takes a less autotuned approach for this album, differing from his usual heavy use of autotune as an instrument on previous albums like “Yeezus” and “808’s & Heartbreak.” While Kanye’s rapping is a gift on its own that will never get old, his singing is a refreshing addition to his vocal ability. 

Another refreshing aspect of “Donda” is Kanye’s heartfelt lyrics. With lyrics about his inability to bring his mother back to life on “Jesus Lord,” Kobe Bryant’s premature death on “24,” and his divorce from Kim Kardashian on “Lord I Need You,” Kanye’s sentiments shine through all of his songs.

Just like his vocals and lyrics, Kanye’s choice of features and samples soars above expectations. Kanye incorporates a sample of “Doo Wop (That Thing)” from the legendary Lauryn Hill on “Believe What I Say,” and features honorable artists like The Weeknd, Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti, Jay-Z, and Travis Scott on “Donda.” The most unforgettable sample, though, appears on “Remote Control,” originating from a scene in “Strawinsky and the Mysterious House, a children’s christian animated film. Kanye samples the line, “I am the Globglogabglab/ the Shwabbledabblewabblegabbleflibberblabbleblab.” 


Next question. 

Despite most of Kanye’s feature choices being fantastic, a few decisions cannot be overlooked, such as Kanye including Dababy, who has made homophobic comments, and Marilyn Manson, who has sexual assault allegations, as feature artists on his song “Jail pt.2.” The inclusion of these two artists further promotes their platforms and unacceptable ideals. Chris Brown, an artist with a history of violence against women, also previously appeared on “New Again,” although Kanye removed Brown’s verse and replaced it with his own verse a month after the release of the album. If evaluating Kanye’s character was meant to be part of this review, it would be drastically different, but the review is from a music standpoint only. 

After 401 days, it’s fair to say that “Donda” was worth the wait. If you haven’t visited Kanye’s discography yet, this will hopefully serve as inspiration to do so.