He’s back! Kanye West has been teasing an album called Donda for over one year, and the record is finally here.
The 44-year-old rapper previewed his 10th LP in a new Beats commercial released on Tuesday, July 20, that featured track star Sha’Carri Richardson and a clip of a new song titled “No Child Left Behind.” According to the ad, Donda is due out Friday, July 23. Two days later, he kicked off the release with a listening event at an Atlanta stadium, which his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian, attended with their four children and her sister Khloé Kardashian.
The “Famous” rapper’s last album, 2019’s Jesus Is King, was religious in theme, and before its release, fans wondered if Donda would fall along the same lines. In a 2020 interview with GQ, the Grammy winner hinted that he was no longer interested in making secular music and would rather stick to gospel-influenced sounds.
“I was thinking of not rapping again, because I rapped for the devil so long that I didn’t even know how to rap for God,” he told the magazine. “Then one of my pastors told me, ‘My son just said that he would want a rap album about Jesus from Kanye West.’ He didn’t say, ‘Kanye West, you should do this,’ or, ‘You need to do this.’ He just told me something that a child said. And that one thing made the difference.”
There’s also a possibility his family will come up in the lyrics, if not in the actual music. When he made his return to Instagram on Tuesday after a long hiatus, he did so wearing gold chains bearing the names of his four children with the 40-year-old reality star: North, 8, Saint, 5, Chicago, 3, and Psalm, 2. His eldest daughter has previously expressed interest in following in her dad’s footsteps, singing on the runway at his Yeezy Season 8 fashion show in Paris last year.
The “Closed on Sunday” artist has announced release dates before and then failed to deliver his promised album, but this time his collaborators were confident that Donda was finished and ready for listeners.
“Kanye West album is really done,” Revolt TV host Justin Laboy tweeted on Sunday, July 18, after attending an invite-only listening party in Las Vegas. “When it drops this week, we probably not going to listen to anything else for a while.”
According to another lucky invitee, the album draws on a variety of genres including trap and gospel. “He had a track with Lil Baby and I was ready to party,” photographer Nigel D. tweeted on Sunday. “The music is still centered on God but there is a variety in sounds. Some slow, some trap, etc. Some songs could be played in a church, some in a club.”
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