‘Donda’: Unfinished Opus


“Donda” is Kanye West’s 10th studio album, named after his late mother, Donda West. The album is approximately two hours long, and features 27 songs, with the last four added after the album’s initial release as add-ons to the previous songs. 

The album was released after Kanye’s divorce from Kim Kardashian, and is full of emotion, and has had many difficulties getting to release. From the unclear release date, to Kanye’s claim that it was released without his permission, the road to release has been rocky. Despite that, it is a solid album that contains many unique songs and is enjoyable to listen to. 

The songs have many features that add to the songs, with some of the more notable ones being Jay-Z, Travis Scott, The Weeknd and Lil Baby. Some of the standout songs from the album include: “Hurricane”, “Off the Grid”, “Pure Souls”, “Jail”, and “Moon”. 

“Donda” is an album that Kanye chose to release as a clean album, which is noticeable in some songs more than others, where there are more censored lyrics. However, this doesn’t take too much away from the album. While I do think that an explicit version would have been nice and perhaps added a bit more to some songs which were more censored than others, it isn’t a huge issue. 

One of the big issues with this album is that it was released unfinished. Kanye did say that it was released without permission, and it shows. Some songs sounded a little clunky or unfinished on release. At time of writing, the album is still being worked on, with songs like “New Again” being edited to remove Chris Brown’s vocals. Some of the songs do show West’s masterful production skills, with “Heaven and Hell” being a standout at a brief two and a half minutes. 

The album cover is a simple black cover, nothing else. It doesn’t paint the album as a vivid, provocative album like earlier album covers, but it does show the tone Kanye is aiming for, where the focus is on the music. Earlier albums like “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” had a provocative cover and lyrics, as well as being Kanye’s greatest album to date. “Donda” focuses more on West’s emotions, and how the songs are a way for him to channel his grief and pay proper tribute to his mother. 

Although people will rate his work and critique the songs and album, music critics as a whole generally take a lot of enjoyment out of songs and albums. Having an opinion on whether you like a song or not is good and all, but bashing artists and their work for not standing out, or not taking enough risks, or even just for not being able to top their previous work is outrageous. You can’t critique athletes for losing to the better team, so why critique artists producing work that you don’t consider “as good” as others?

“Donda” is more of a spiritual journey than anything else. It is about Kanye’s religious journey and more importantly, a tribute to his mother. The emotions of losing his mother and how life feels without her, with lines like “Mama, you was the life of the party, I swear you brought life to the party, When you lost your life, it took the life out the party” The album speaks volumes about grief, loss, and the future. While this album is not West’s best work, it is an album that pulls at emotional strings, moving the listeners.