Donda is the tenth studio album by American rapper Kanye West, released through GOOD Music on August 29, 2021, with distribution handled by Def Jam Recordings, his last release with the label. West recorded much of the material at multiple locations in the summer of 2021, including Bighorn Mountain Ranch in Wyoming and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. It features guest vocals from the Sunday Service Choir, Jay-Z, Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, the Weeknd, Vory, Kid Cudi, DaBaby, Baby Keem, and Marilyn Manson, among various others; vocals from Chris Brown were also included prior to the album being updated. West, BoogzDaBeast, Dem Jointz, Mike Dean, and Ojivolta primarily helmed its production.

Donda
Black (#020305) square textless cover art for Donda
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 29, 2021 (2021-08-29)
Recorded
  • September 2018
  • November 2019 – August 2021
Studio
Genre
Length
  • 108:48
  • 130:52 (Deluxe edition)
Label
Producer
Kanye West chronology
Jesus Is King
(2019)
Donda
(2021)
Donda 2
(2022)
Singles from Donda
  1. "Hurricane"
    Released: September 14, 2021
  2. "Life of the Party"
    Released: November 14, 2021
  3. "Believe What I Say"
    Released: November 30, 2021
  4. "Off the Grid"
    Released: November 30, 2021

The initial version of Donda was initially set for release in July 2020, under the title of God's Country, but experienced multiple delays and continuous alterations to tracks and the tracklist prior to its final release. The album's style has been described variously as hip hop, gospel, progressive rap, and pop, and incorporates elements of trap and drill. It is both minimalist and maximalist, with darker lyrical content and the reduced use of drums in comparison to West's prior efforts. Themes explored include religion, Kanye's divorce from Kim Kardashian, and his mother Donda West, the album's namesake whom the release is dedicated to.

Upon its release, Kanye West accused Universal Music Group of having released Donda without his approval, which the label denied. "Hurricane" was released as the lead single in September 2021, and was followed by both "Believe What I Say" and "Off the Grid" in November. The album polarized music critics, particularly for its cohesiveness. Some noted an improvement from West's previous work and praised the composition, though numerous reviewers criticized the long runtime. Regardless, Donda was named by several publications as one of the best albums of 2021,[1][2][3] and became a nominee for both Album of the Year and Best Rap Album at the 64th Grammy Awards, while "Jail" and "Hurricane" both won for Best Rap Song and Best Melodic Rap Performance, respectively.

Donda initially scored the most first-day streams for an album in 2021 on both Apple Music and Spotify. It stood as West's tenth consecutive chart-topper on the US Billboard 200, tying the record set by Eminem. It reached the summit in 18 other regions, including Australia, France, and United Kingdom, becoming West's first number-one album in the second country. The album has been certified platinum in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), alongside being awarded the certification and a gold one in Canada and New Zealand by Music Canada (MC) and Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ), respectively. The appearances from DaBaby and Marilyn Manson created controversy amongst audiences as a result of their separate allegations of homophobia and sexual abuse. In October 2021, the Stem Player was issued, allowing users to remix the songs and adding new ones, while a deluxe edition was released on November 14.

BackgroundEdit

During a conversation with French fashion designer Michèle Lamy in an Instagram Live stream on May 25, 2020, American cinematographer Arthur Jafa revealed that he was working on video material with West for a single from his forthcoming album, titled God's Country.[4] On July 21, 2020, West confirmed the album title had been changed to Donda in honor of his mother, after whom he had also named his creative company.[5][6] West announced a release date of July 24, 2020, and posted a track listing for the album. In the following days, West continued to post track listings, only to subsequently delete them.[5] Ultimately, the album missed its planned release date.[7] In September 2020, West sent out a series of tweets about his relationship with Universal Music, mostly addressing his desire to buy his master recordings back from them.[8] The rapper asserted that these efforts were obstructed by his signed contracts, succeeding this by tweeting multiple images that supposedly showed the contracts.[8]

Since his tweet announcing a 2024 run for presidency on November 4, 2020,[9][10] West went radio silent for the entirety of the album's promotion; not saying anything on social media and wearing a full face mask in public.[10] Any info about the album and its listening events was relayed through fellow collaborators such as Consequence, Malik Yusef, Justin LaBoy and Pusha T.[10] West's manager Abou "Bu" Thiam teased the release of Donda on June 8, 2021, commenting on Gap's Instagram post announcing their jacket with Yeezy, "WestDayEver. Album OTW!"[11] On July 17, Consequence posted a video of West in the studio with Tyler, the Creator on Instagram, suggesting a summer 2021 album release in the caption.[12] On July 19, Pusha T announced on Instagram that West would be holding a listening event for the album at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on July 22, 2021.[13] On July 21, 2021, West reinstated his Instagram account to share a series of images alongside a commercial featuring Sha'Carri Richardson, scored by the song "No Child Left Behind", teasing a release date of July 23, 2021.[14][15]

RecordingEdit

The recording sessions began a month after Jesus is King was released.[16] Producer BoogzDaBeast recalled that he was called in to Wyoming with West telling him "Man we're going back in, we're about to do a new album. Let's keep this going.".[16] BoogzDaBeast came to Wyoming with 166 beats, which the producer clarified that they were mostly unfinished ideas.[16] Of those 166 ideas, West freestyled over 99 of them in what the producer calls "That One Night in Wyoming". Songs such as "Wash Us in the Blood"–which was originally set for release on Donda in 2020, but was left off the final album–and "Lord I Need You" were originally conceived during said session.[17]

In March 2020, West recorded new music in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, before returning to Wyoming with his family due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[18] That same month, GOOD Music president Pusha T stated in a Discord interview that he had been recording with West recently. Pusha T was planning to meet with West on March 16, 2020, to complete a project, but cited "flights slowing down" due to COVID travel restrictions as the reason for a delay.[19] On March 12, 2020, rappers Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine were spotted in Wyoming recording material with West.[20] Westside Gunn would later confirm his collaboration with West in an interview for Elliot Wilson on Tidal, alongside recalling that they were set to travel to Cabo San Lucas after recording in Wyoming, until the COVID-19 pandemic canceled their plans.[21] West held further recording sessions at Bighorn Mountain Ranch in Greybull, Wyoming, which he bought for $14.5 million. The ranch spans over 6,700 acres, covering a larger area than the Monster Lake Ranch property in Wyoming that West previously bought.[22] West flew Lil Baby out to Wyoming to record for Donda on July 22, 2020, following on from him tweeting, "Lil Baby my favorite rapper but won't do a song with me."[23][24] The rapper ended up recording his verse for "Hurricane" after Kenyan-American rapper KayCyy suggested to him that he should contribute to it.[25] In September 2020, West recorded music with Buju Banton and Saint Jhn at Gargamel Studio in Jamaica.[26][27]

On March 8, 2021, Cyhi the Prynce stated in an interview with VladTV that West had resumed work on Donda amid his divorce from his wife Kim Kardashian.[28] On May 30, West was joined in the studio by fellow rapper Playboi Carti.[29] On June 14, 2021, court documents were obtained revealing that West was recording for the album in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he held sessions at Island Sound Studio, after reportedly "freaking out" during his deposition in an ongoing lawsuit with tech company MyChannel.[30][31][32] Singer-songwriter Syleena Johnson worked on music in San Francisco around a month later, indicating via an Instagram post that she was collaborating with West.[33] Speaking for Cocktails with Queens on Fox Soul, Johnson said she recorded the song "Donda Chant" as well as vocals for another track that ended up not getting used, in said session.[34]

 
West held recording sessions inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, taking up temporary residence in the locker rooms for studio spaces and living areas.

After holding a listening event for Donda at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 22, 2021, West took up temporary residence in one of the locker rooms, converting it into a studio for finishing the recording and mixing with producer Mike Dean.[35][36][37] Playboi Carti, Jay-Z and 2 Chainz joined West for recording in the room, with West posting a photo to Instagram of himself and the former there a day before the event.[35][38][39] Jay-Z reportedly recorded his verse for "Jail" mere hours prior to the listening event.[40][41] After failing to meet the album's scheduled release date of July 23, West continued to record and live in Mercedes-Benz Stadium up until the second listening party held there on August 6, 2021.[42][43] 24 hours before the second listening event commenced, West and several other artists could be seen recording among doing numerous other activities during an Apple Music livestream.[44][45]

SongsEdit

Chris Brown (left) and Soulja Boy (right) both publicly made comments aimed at West due to the controversial removal of their respective verses from the album.

"Hurricane" was originally previewed via Instagram by West in September 2018 and also leaked online, initially being intended for his scrapped album Yandhi.[46] After the song was first previewed, it went through various iterations, with contributions from artists such as KayCyy, Big Sean, and American musician Ty Dolla Sign,[25][47] of which the latter would feature on "Junya pt 2". However, none of their contributions made the final cut of "Hurricane", and they would be replaced with Lil Baby and Canadian singer the Weeknd.[48] A song titled "Never Abandon Your Family" was previewed at the first two listening events for Donda on July 22 and August 6, 2021.[49] Although the song was not included on the first version of the album,[49] it later appeared on the deluxe edition.[50] "Donda", which was initially titled "South Carolina" when previewed at the aforementioned listening parties, originally featured a verse where West traded bars with Pusha T. The verse contained references to West's South Carolina rally from his 2020 presidential campaign.[47][51]

The song "New Again", featuring vocals from R&B singer Chris Brown on the chorus, originally included a verse performed by the singer that he later leaked, after publicly calling West a "whole hoe".[52][53][54] Several critics expressed negative responses to West's choice to remove the verse, including the co-host of The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne tha God, that defined the verse discard as a "poor choice musically".[55] On September 28, 2021, the song was updated on streaming services, with Brown being replaced by West and the Sunday Service Choir.[56] Rapper Soulja Boy originally recorded a verse for the track "Remote Control", although he was not included on the final version of the song, being replaced with fellow rapper Young Thug.[57][58] Following the album's release, Soulja Boy shared a snippet of his verse to Twitter, with the caption of the post reading, "Fuck Kanye".[57] In November 2021, West apologized to Soulja Boy for removing the verse without informing him, though insisted he did so because it was bad.[59] Fellow rapper André 3000 also recorded a verse for an unreleased track entitled "Life of the Party", which had been previewed at a listening event for Donda in Las Vegas. In the song, West disses Canadian musician Drake, who leaked the song in retaliation amidst a feud between them. André 3000 lamented the feud, stating that his verse was written before West's diss.[60][61] The song was later released on the deluxe version of the album, with the Drake diss replaced by an alternate verse from West.[50]

On September 7, 2021, DJ Akademiks shared a screenshot of a conversation between West and an unnamed engineer that worked on Donda, showing West firing the engineer after no response to his morning message to start work.[62] On September 14, 2021, American multi-instrumentalist Todd Rundgren revealed he had recorded heavily for it and was tolerant of West delving into different subjects, but became frustrated with the rapper after a lack of feedback about his material. Rundgren also assumed it should be made clear if he can contribute or not and saw "a possibility" he is "actually in there somewhere" among the album's "junk", concluding by branding West "a dilettante".[63] On September 24, 2021, after multiple artists had revealed that contributions to Donda from them were scrapped, West's sound engineer Nikolai Skrobat revealed that an upcoming playlist consisting of "forgotten tracks" from West's discography may include the album's unreleased material.[64]

Music and lyricsEdit

Donda covers the stylistic groundwork of West's previous albums;[65][66] it has been described as a hip hop,[67][68] gospel,[69][70] progressive rap,[68] and pop record,[71][72] while the album also includes elements of trap, drill, boom bap,[73] hip house, and rock.[74] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Mikael Wood described it as a blend of Yeezus's rough industrial hip hop, the "church-organ gospel" of West's previous studio album Jesus Is King (2019), the "gothic swagger" of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010), and the "bleeping" electropop of 808s & Heartbreak (2008).[66] Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic perceived that "stylistic innovation has driven West's career" continuously, but he possibly "conceives of Donda as the album of his life—a capstone, an anthology".[65] However, the album is unusual in his catalog due to its lack of drums, outside of a light amount of snares and occasional synth basses that imitate rhythm sections.[75][49] Donda's integration of gospel music is more subtle than that of its predecessor,[76][77] instead favoring the usage of trap beats and Auto-Tune.[70][78] At Pitchfork, Dylan Green noted the production "jumps" from trap and drill to boom-bap and gospel, invoking GOOD Music's compilation album Cruel Summer (2012).[73]

According to Ed Power of The Daily Telegraph, the album is a maximalist hip hop record that follows a "more is more" philosophy through its "gleaming, swooping grooves and several kitchen sinks worth of production"; he noted how the grooves "go off" similarly to monster trucks moving loudly around a stadium.[71] In contrast, Craig Jenkins of Vulture said that Donda's "unifying quality is a subtle minimalism", with prominent silence.[74] Fred Thomas of AllMusic similarly opined that the album is built on "minimal arrangements that linger while feeling eerily unfinished".[75] Jenkins also noticed West's diminished presence on the record, where he felt his "raps and hooks take up significantly less real estate" than any releases of his since Cruel Summer.[74] In The Sydney Morning Herald, Michael Dwyer wrote that the "gospel flourishes of organ and voices" on Donda are elevated by "passionate yearning".[78] It has a length of 1 hour and 48 minutes (1:48), which Green said contains "euphoric highs" with a lack of "connective tissue", observing "a data dump of songs searching for a higher calling".[73] Gigwise writer Charlie Brock depicted that the album "ebbs and flows", being "melancholic and subversive" at some points, and "outlandish and snarling" at others.[79]

Donda was inspired by religion, being themed around West's faith across much of the material.[71][72] Some critics have described the album as sombre, with darker lyrical content than West's previous works.[80][81] For Exclaim!, Riley Wallace asserted that it is a lot less clumsy than Jesus Is King and also a "more accessible body of work".[80] References to addiction and mental instability are prominent,[65] as well as Kanye West's ego and his family,[69] including the collapse of his marriage with Kardashian and thoughts about Donda.[66][71] Themes of hope, rebirth, and salvation are also present.[80] Jon Caramanica wrote for The New York Times that in Donda, West continues to trade off the lyrical focus on self-awareness and wordplay of his earlier material for a more "terse and immediate approach, one that complements his musical shifts toward the industrial and the spiritual", which he started to do in the 2010s.[82] In the same vein as Jesus Is King, Donda features no explicit language, with all expletives being edited out.[76][82]

SongsEdit

The album's opening track, "Donda Chant", consists of Syleena Johnson chanting Donda West's forename repeatedly for nearly a minute.[65][78] "Jail" follows and is the first full track, featuring Kanye West and Jay-Z combining metaphors about crime with details of marriage and sin.[65][67] The track is a fusion of "maximalist hip hop",[71] pop, and alternative rock,[76] incorporating auto-tuned vocals and arena rock guitar riffs.[75][66][83] The song contains almost no drums,[84] until the last segment of the track brings a "brief, stilted drum pattern",[75] described as industrial percussion.[85] "God Breathed" has an abrasive, industrial sound that was compared to Yeezus,[75][65] and features West offering redemption, reaffirming his trust in God before a wordless choir performs the outro.[68][69][78] Playboi Carti and fellow rapper Fivio Foreign attempt to find a balance between faith in themselves and faith in God within their verses on "Off the Grid",[65][86] later being followed by West providing a revelation of his religious mission statement in the closing verse and at one point, he dubs God "my bestie".[67][73] The song has an intense drill beat, featuring a "melodically complex" bassline and a "sustained choir".[68] "Hurricane" is an R&B song,[66] with layered organs and processed choir vocals that are cut akin to a sample.[84][87] West touches on personal issues such as his breakup with Kardashian and his house, while the hook sees the Weeknd exude confidence and Lil Baby provides a mournful performance.[66][79][83] "Praise God" contains a vocal sample of Donda West proclaiming, "Even if you are not ready for the day, it cannot always be night."[81] Lyrically, the song features Baby Keem mixing "worship with the dark carnality of the mosh pit" and Kanye West connecting his issues to God's mysterious behavior.[78][83] "Jonah" sees him rapping about his relationship with God,[79] alongside fellow rappers Vory and Lil Durk opening up about their pain of losing friends and family members, respectively.[66][83]

"Ok Ok" includes West commanding his status, while fellow rapper Lil Yachty boasts about sexual action.[76] "Junya" is a tribute to Japanese fashion designer Junya Watanabe and features a skeletal arrangement of handclaps, organs, and heavy bass.[75][74] It contains a Drake diss from West, with him alluding to Certified Lover Boy's delayed release.[76][77] On "Believe What I Say", described as hip house, R&B, and soul,[74][78][83] West offers a reminder to not let fame drag him down and references Kardashian.[71][83] West and the Sunday Service Choir provide worship on "24",[74] which features him delivering a message of hope in relation to God,[67] backed by a discordant organ played by Cory Henry.[76][85] "Remote Control" has an instrumental with a whistling hook over which West comments on technology and its infiltration of life, while Young Thug boasts about his property.[67][74] On "Moon", rapper Kid Cudi provides a wistful performance.[65][74] Throughout "Heaven and Hell", West lets out his thoughts on Jeff Bezos, vinyl, and modern culture.[79] "Donda" contains a vocal sample of a speech by West's mother of the same name, who talks about him being a genius;[70][71] the speech precedes a Christian worship moment from The World Famous Tony Williams.[74] On the boom bap[74] track "Keep My Spirit Alive", West claims to be anti-commercial and links his problems with the behavior of God.[78][83] "Jesus Lord" stands as Donda's centerpiece and Kanye West details the story of how he changed from who he used to be in his verse,[67][69][70] as well as questioning if he will go to heaven and see Donda there.[73][88] Rapper Jay Electronica then offers a cryptic worldview based on various points, before the song ends with the son of gang leader Larry Hoover thanking West for taking his father's case to the White House of 2017–2021 US president Donald Trump.[76][83][84]

Throughout the hip house track "New Again", West searches for salvation and showcases awareness of religion's trappings.[74][81] The first version featured Brown crooning repentance for everything he will do again on the chorus,[53][88] though the update replaced him with West and the Sunday Service Choir.[56] "Tell the Vision" serves as an interlude and is an alternate take on the song of the same name from the 2021 album Faith by rapper Pop Smoke, who is the sole performer on the interlude.[67][73] On "Lord I Need You", West goes in detail about divorcing Kardashian and at one point, he begs God to "wrap your arms around me in mercy".[82][83][88] Within "Pure Souls", religious ideas are expressed and West declares there is a new version of him to adapt to,[70][68][73] while Roddy Ricch wonders about truth on the hook.[81][84] West sings about the emotional fallout from getting divorced on "Come to Life", alongside assuring that he is connected with God.[67][84] "No Child Left Behind" is the album's final track before the second versions of songs and features Vory uttering the titular phrase in reference to the educational act signed by 2001–2009 US president George W. Bush, as well as West singing about the guidance and strength that he has received from God.[89][70]

The last four tracks on Donda are either alternate or extended versions of preceding songs.[67] "Jail pt 2" features an additional verse from DaBaby, who confirms his stance on gay people, complains about financial issues, and references his daughters.[90] Singer Marilyn Manson also appears on the version, singing along with West at a few points.[66] "Ok Ok pt 2" and "Junya pt 2" include further contributions from Shenseea and Ty Dolla Sign, respectively.[83][48] Extra verses are performed on "Jesus Lord pt 2" by each member of the Lox, with them opening up about their connections to different gods.[69]

Release and promotionEdit

On June 26, 2020, West unveiled a collaboration between his fashion company Yeezy and clothing retailer Gap, and also launched the #WestDayEver promotional campaign on Twitter that accompanied announcements of different projects.[91] One of the projects was a music video for the track "Wash Us in the Blood" that features fellow rapper Travis Scott, directed by Jafa; the video was released simultaneously with the song on June 30, following a teaser in which West officially announced the album's title as God's Country.[91][92] The track was set to be included on Donda, but did not appear on the final track listing.[93][7] On July 13, 2020, Kanye shared a snippet on Twitter of a song titled "Donda", which featured his late mother Donda West reciting KRS-One's "Sound of da Police" (1993) and was accompanied by archival footage, including the Wests rapping together.[94] The song was replaced with another track also titled "Donda" on the final track listing. On September 26, 2020, West shared a 39-second snippet of the track "Believe What I Say" to Twitter.[95] West later released a song entitled "Nah Nah Nah" on October 26, calling the song his 2020 presidential campaign's theme music; it includes him referencing his candidacy.[96] On November 13, 2020, West released a remix of "Nah Nah Nah" that features fellow rappers DaBaby and 2 Chainz.[97] After the original and remix were both removed from streaming services in the lead up to Donda's release, neither of them made the final cut.[98][75]

On July 20, 2021, Audio products company Beats by Dre premiered a commercial during game six of the 2021 NBA Finals with athlete Sha'Carri Richardson, scored by West's track "No Child Left Behind".[99] The commercial also showed the release date for Donda as July 23, 2021, and marked one of the first snippets of the music.[99][89] French producer Gesaffelstein later revealed that he produced the song, marking his second time working with West after having previously contributed to the rapper's sixth studio album Yeezus (2013).[100] Directly after the commercial's debut, Def Jam reaffirmed the album's release date.[101]

In late July 2021, a representative for West announced a release date of August 6 for Donda,[102][103] which was later confirmed via both a Beats by Dre commercial and West's Apple Music livestream.[104][105] A day prior to this, a pre-order for the album was launched on iTunes, revealing it to feature 24 songs, along with a release date of August 27, 2021, before the date was revised to six days later.[106][107] Conflictingly, Apple Music displayed the release date to be August 15, before one set for five days later appeared on the service.[106][108] On August 20, 2021, the service listed a release date of August 28, one day after Donda's third listening party; Thiam reaffirmed that the release would come after the event.[109] A day before the scheduled release, Donda's release date experienced another pushback on Apple Music, setting it to coincide with the release of Drake's sixth studio album Certified Lover Boy on September 3, 2021.[110] It was speculated across social media that the delay was intentional to increase competition between the two artists.[110][111]

On August 29, 2021, Donda was released by GOOD Music, distributed by Def Jam, succeeding several delays during that month.[7][112] It stood as West's last release with the latter label, after his contract expired.[113] "Jail pt 2" was originally not able to be played, showing up on the Spotify version of the album as an "unavailable" track, after DaBaby's manager had not cleared his verse prior to release.[112][114] Hours after its official release, West claimed that Universal Music had released Donda without his approval and blocked "Jail pt 2" from appearing on the album.[6][8] The song later became available on streaming services, including Tidal and Spotify.[112][115] Universal Music denied having either released the album without West's approval or blocked the release of "Jail pt 2", with an anonymous source at the company calling his claims "preposterous".[8][116][117]

On September 3, 2021, "Hurricane" was playlisted by Swedish mainstream station Sveriges Radio P3.[118] The song was sent to American rhythmic contemporary radio stations by GOOD Music and Def Jam as the lead single from Donda on September 14, 2021.[119] Following the album's release, the song entered the US Billboard Hot 100 at number six, giving West his 19th top-10 hit on the chart.[120] It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for amassing 1,000,000 certified units in the US on January 10, 2022.[121] "Hurricane" reached number 12 on the Swedish Singles Chart, with it debuting five places higher on the UK Singles Chart.[122][123] On November 30, 2021, "Believe What I Say" and "Off the Grid" were released as singles to US rhythmic and urban contemporary radio stations, respectively, through Good Music and Def Jam.[124][125] On the Hot 100, the former charted at number 28.[120] "Off the Grid" debuted at number 11 on the chart, alongside reaching number 15 on the UK Singles Chart.[120][123] On November 8, 2021, the song was awarded a gold certification by the RIAA for pushing 500,000 certified units in the US.[126]

West purchased many large billboards to advertise Donda in Drake's hometown of Toronto during September 2021, outnumbering the ones used for Certified Lover Boy on the day of its release.[127] A music video for "Come to Life" was released on September 2, 2021. The visual features footage from the album's third listening event at Soldier Field, showing West setting on fire then reuniting with Kardashian.[128] A music video for "24" was released two weeks after the one for "Come to Life", and begins with footage from Donda's second Mercedes-Benz Stadium listening event of West ascending towards the sky, before he rises above the stadium and floats around among clouds.[129] A clip for "Donda Chant" was shared exclusively to Instagram by West on September 19, 2021. The black-and-white visual incorporates aerial footage from the album's Soldier Field listening event that shows the replica of Kanye West's childhood home, on which flashes of old pictures of Donda are projected.[130] On October 16, 2021, West performed a four-song set for Tiffany & Co. executive Alexandre Arnault and D'estree founder Geralde Guyot after their wedding in Venice, Italy, which included "Come to Life" and "Believe What I Say".[131] He debuted a music video for "Heaven and Hell" during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 10, 2022. The visual has a night setting and shows people wearing new Yeezy Gap hoodies wandering around a city; it concludes with floating bodies spiralling through the skies.[132]

Cover artEdit

Initial cover art, shared by West in July 2020
Second proposed cover, showcasing an adaptation of a Louise Bourgeois painting from 2007

On July 25, 2020, West tweeted out an album cover,[133] showing an infrared scheme of orange and red mirroring the shape of the people, sun, and moon in the sky, backed by green mountains alongside purple and white clouds.[92] In the lead up to the first Donda listening event on July 22, 2021, a possible replacement cover was used as the promo artwork. The cover was an adaptation of a Louise Bourgeois gouache painting that had been created in 2007, the same year as Donda West's death, and included in Bourgeois' series Les têtes bleues et les femmes rouges (2015).[134][135] In the painting, a woman is shown in monochromatic red and a matching ponytail flows behind her, while a fertility idol is also partially present.[134][135] After Kanye West posted numerous potential covers, a plain black square was ultimately used as the artwork for the album.[136]

Streaming performance and updatesEdit

In its first day of release, Donda earned the second-biggest global Spotify debut for album streams ever, with nearly 100 million streams, and broke the record for the biggest first day streams of 2021 on the service that was set by Olivia Rodrigo's Sour.[137][138] The album also set a new record by reaching number one on Apple Music's top albums chart in 152 countries in its first day, and earned the third-biggest first day debut streams for an album. Donda broke the 2021 record for the most-streamed album in one day on Apple Music, while 19 of the top-20 tracks on the service's Top 100 Global songs chart were from the album.[139] Donda amassed 60 million first day streams in the United States on Apple, setting a streaming record for 2021 in the country.[140] After eight days of streaming, it had reached around 423 million on-demand audio streams in the US.[141] 25 of the tracks debuted with the top-40 of Spotify's U.S. chart, with 10 of them occupying the top-10.[137] The album's 2021 record for first day Spotify streams was broken by Certified Lover Boy, which also surpassed its eight-day total of US on-demand audio streams within three days, amassing over 430 million streams.[141][142] By October 26, the former had amassed over a billion streams on Spotify, becoming West's fastest album to achieve this milestone.[143]

On September 28, 2021, West released an updated version of Donda separately from the original on streaming services.[56][144] The changes included the removal of KayCyy and Brown from "Keep My Spirit Alive" and "New Again", respectively; Brown's writing credits were also removed from the latter.[144] West replaced KayCyy on the former, while he and the Sunday Service Choir appeared in place of Brown on "New Again".[56]

Donda Stem PlayerEdit

On August 25, 2021, West announced the Donda Stem Player via his website, a standalone music player allowing users to remix the album's songs using their stems.[145][146][147] Users are also given the ability to control vocals, drums, bass, and samples, isolate parts, and add effects.[145][146][148] The player was announced as being set to be released by West's brand Yeezy Tech in collaboration with Kano Computing and sold for $200.[146][147][149] On October 27, 2021, the Donda Stem Player was made available by West, with three extra songs being included. The new songs are a censored edit of "Life of the Party", "Up from the Ashes", and an updated version of "Never Abandon Your Family". In addition, the player contains a version of "Remote Control" that re-adds Kid Cudi's original contribution.[150][151] On November 17, 2021, the Donda Stem Player website was updated to include downloadable stems for Jesus Is King. On December 10, 2021, stems for "Wash Us in the Blood" were added in an update.[152]

In February 2022, West announced that the sequel to Donda will be exclusively released onto the Stem Player.[153]

Deluxe editionEdit

On November 5, 2021, in an interview with N.O.R.E. on Drink Champs, West announced that a deluxe version of Donda was set to be released, teasing a song called "Let Go".[154][155] Eight days later, billboards advertising the deluxe edition appeared around Los Angeles.[156] On November 14, 2021, Donda (Deluxe) was released to streaming services.[50] Simultaneously, an explicit version of "Life of the Party" was released as a single from the deluxe edition.[157] The song charted at number 13 on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.[158] A 2xCD physical version of the deluxe edition was released on February 11, 2022.[159] A 4xLP deluxe gatefold version was released on vinyl on June 24, 2022.[160]

Listening eventsEdit

Invites to "A Donda Listening Event" (left), "The Donda Album Release" (middle), and "The Donda Album Experience" (right). The first two were held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, while the latter was held at Soldier Field in Chicago.

To promote Donda prior to its release, West held a series of listening events. During the album's events, guest appearances from various artists were revealed, including Lil Baby, Playboi Carti, Pusha T, Jay-Z, Lil Yachty, Vory, KayCyy, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Jay Electronica, Pop Smoke, the Sunday Service Choir, DaBaby, Marilyn Manson, and the Weeknd.[161][162][163] West had updated Donda after each listening event like he did with his seventh studio album The Life of Pablo (2016), changing content such as the features on songs.[164] Speaking with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, Dean depicted the process as "interesting" and "gruelling", remembering "lots of hours" and changes, from which the album "came out great". He elaborated by explaining that "each listening party was like a test" of sorts, with West succeeding each one by taking all "the information he got from everyone, including online reviews [and] personal friends' reviews", then "digest[ing] it all" in a manner to "adjust" Donda "the way" he wanted.[165]

West held a private listening event for the album at ChurchLV in Las Vegas on July 18, 2021, which required registration and was invite-only. It started at 6:30 p.m. and finished at 8 p.m.[166] Clips of the event surfaced online showing West hunched over his laptop, wearing gloves and a ski mask over his head.[167][168] West played the music from his MacBook throughout, not speaking whatsoever.[169] Following the listening event, Revolt host Justin LaBoy posted a photo of himself with West and referred to Donda as album of the year.[168]

On July 19, 2021, it was announced that West would hold a public listening event for Donda, titled "Kanye West Presents: A Donda Listening Event", at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 22, 2021.[170][171] It was set to start at 8 p.m. on the date, though the livestream began nearly two hours behind schedule on Apple Music.[170][172][173] West was completely silent throughout and paced the length of the stage at points, where he was unaccompanied. The listening event sold out Mercedes-Benz Stadium's 2021 capacity of 42,000, alongside setting a record for the biggest Apple Music livestream worldwide, with over 3.3 million viewers.[172][174]

Live Nation Entertainment confirmed at the end of July 2021 that the album's second listening event in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, titled "Kanye West Presents: The Donda Album Release", was set to take place on August 5.[175][176] It was scheduled to start at 9 p.m. on the date.[176] An Apple Music livestream commenced from West's room inside the stadium on the morning of August 5, 2021, leading up to the event,[161][177][178] which later began at 9:30 p.m.[44] The event was a grander presentation than its predecessor and on the circular stage, West's room was re-created.[161][178] West was positioned in the center throughout, wearing an all-black outfit and a mask.[162] The event ended with him being elevated to the ceiling of Mercedes-Benz Stadium by harness, in a manner reminiscent of ascending to heaven.[161][162] The listening party had over 40,000 attendees. It surpassed West's own record for the most popular livestream on Apple Music, drawing in 5.4 million viewers.[179] Following the event, Kid Cudi was reported to be featured on "Moon" and "Remote Control" alongside Don Toliver and Young Thug, respectively, though he was only included on the final version of the former on Donda.[47][180][58]However, Donda (Deluxe) included "Remote Control pt. 2" which contained Kid Cudi's verse.[181]

On August 18, 2021, West announced a third listening event for the album entitled "Kanye West Presents: The Donda Album Experience", which was scheduled to be hosted at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 26; the stadium's Twitter account simultaneously gave confirmation.[182][183] The event was slated to begin at 9 p.m.[182] On August 24, 2021, Chopper 7HD flew over Soldier Field, capturing the construction of a replica of West's childhood home at the stadium's center.[184] The event was livestreamed on Apple Music and started nearly two hours behind schedule, beginning at 10:49 p.m.[163][185] Kanye West appeared by coming out from the replica home while wearing an all-black outfit, accompanied by footage and photo collages of Donda.[186][187] West was joined on the porch of the home by Marilyn Manson and DaBaby.[186][188] For the event's conclusion, West came out of the replica home wearing a stunt suit after having been set on fire inside earlier and was quickly extinguished, unmasking himself to reunite with Kardashian.[163][189][190]

Soldier Field was limited from its standard capacity of 63,000 due to COVID-19 restrictions, with the listening event having an attendance of around 38,000.[191] On August 31, 2021, it was reported by the Chicago Sun-Times that the replica was used because Chicago's Buildings Department did not allow West to move his home from the street address, as originally intended. The department explained how moving a home in the city "is a very technical process that requires structural engineer reports and multiple city permits", revealing the denial of West's request was due to "no permit application ha[ving] been received to excavate and move the vacant property" while it was also in Demolition Court.[192]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?5.4/10[193]
Metacritic53/100[194]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [75]
The A.V. ClubC−[90]
The Daily Telegraph     [71]
Exclaim!7/10[80]
The Guardian     [83]
The Independent     [77]
NME     [67]
Pitchfork6.0/10[73]
Rolling Stone     [84]
Slant Magazine     [81]

Donda was met with mixed reviews from music critics.[195] At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 53, based on 19 reviews.[194] Aggregator AnyDecentMusic? gave it a 5.4 out of 10, based on their assessment of the critical consensus.[193]

Charles Lyons-Burt of Slant Magazine felt impressed with Donda, believing it to feature West at "arguably the most vulnerable and broken that [he] has allowed himself to appear on record".[81] Lyons-Burt also praised the themes and production, and concluded by labeling the album West's "most unforgiving self-portrait yet".[81] Chris Willman from Variety saw its music as "close to unassailable" and praised the pacing, besides "those last four completely superfluous remixes", while he preferred the structure of the gospel elements to those on Jesus Is King.[76] For Consequence, Marchus Shorter hailed Donda as the rapper's best album since Yeezus, describing it as "ambitious, raw, indulgent, and, after several revisions, a cohesive vision".[69] Wallace regarded the album as "[West's] best body of work in recent memory" and appreciated the narrative behind it, though was mixed about the features and criticized the length.[80] Rhian Daly of NME felt assured the album "isn't a rushed job", although believed it could have been improved by West wasting less time and "learning when to let things go", finding there to be a large amount of filler alongside "enough gems" to make the album worthwhile.[67]

Wood asserted that Donda registers more as a way "of maintaining Kanye's powerful social standing" than "an organized aesthetic experience", characterizing it as feeling "slapdash" due to the disorganized themes.[66] He went on to praise how the album takes from West's various eras of the past, such as Yeezus, Jesus Is King, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and 808s & Heartbreak.[66] Paul Thompson of Rolling Stone saw that the album is "more considered and musically coherent" than any of West's projects over the preceding five years, though considered it to be uneven and too long, with a "radically superior second half".[84] Kornhaber gave the album a negative review, writing that "supposed transcendence comes to feel suspiciously like regression" while surrender feels like "self-exculpation".[65] He complained how the album "aches" for "a miracle to unfold" of similarity to the accompanying listening events and harshly asserted that it seems like "a career's worth of B-sides", despite crediting the highlights for being "pretty good".[65]

Criticism of guest artistsEdit

The inclusion of American rapper DaBaby (left) and industrial singer Marilyn Manson (right) as guest artists on Donda led to negative responses from critics.

The revelation of DaBaby and Marilyn Manson as guest artists during Donda's August 26 listening event was met with intense disapproval from critics due to the respective allegations of homophobia and sexual abuse against them.[115][196] According to Jem Aswad of Variety, "West was widely accused of trolling the public, among other things, after [the] event."[114] In response, as Ellen Durney of BuzzFeed News wrote, "some fans" suggested that the inclusion of DaBaby and Manson might have been West's "attempt at commentary on 'cancel culture'",[197] and Consequence writer Alex Young provided a similar presumption.[198] West defended DaBaby's presence, recalling him being "the only person who said he would vote for me in public".[115] An unspecified source told People about West's decision to work with the rapper and Marilyn Manson: "He knows that having controversial figures around will be provocative and will get people to talking." The source continued by opening up that West knows "people are going to be upset" and he will experience "backlash", and is also aware "people are talking about it today when they wouldn't have been otherwise".[115][199][200]

Marilyn Manson's former partner Evan Rachel Wood, who had accused him of sexual assault, "seem[ed] to respond" to his inclusion on Donda a few hours after its release, according to NME's Daly. She did this by posting a video of her covering New Radicals' "You Get What You Give" to Instagram, quoting its title and encouraging recent alleged fellow survivors "who got slapped in the face" to not give up.[201] Aaron Loose of Christianity Today slammed West's decision to work with Marilyn Manson and DaBaby as "an unforgivable insult to marginalised rap fans". O'Connor at The Independent criticized the presence of the former two, whom she describes as "two of music's most despised figures", finding their inclusion inexcusable. She condemned Universal Music for approving the album's release, noting that Marilyn Manson's appearance "speaks volumes of society's apathy towards rape survivors".[77]

AccoladesEdit

On Complex's list of the best albums of 2021, Donda was placed sixth.[202] Similarly, Time ranked the album at number seven on their list for the year.[203] On Caramanica's list of the best albums of 2021, the deluxe edition was placed at number 10. Caramanica said it "lives at the intersection" of West's Yeezus and Jesus eras, commenting that the "scabrous, churning production that sets a chaotic mood" is accompanied by "moments of intense searching, gasps for air amid the unrest".[204] Billboard placed it at number 39 on their "The 50 Best Albums of 2021: Staff List".[205]

Donda was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2022 Grammy Awards, standing as one of the last two albums to be selected in the category. In the same ceremony, the album was nominated in the category of Best Rap Album. "Jail" and "Hurricane" won the awards of Best Rap Song and Best Melodic Rap Performance, respectively, at the 2022 Grammys.[206]

Commercial performanceEdit

Donda debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 after a five-day period of tracking, with 309,000 album-equivalent units that consisted of 272,000 streaming-equivalent album units, 37,000 pure album sales, and less than 1,000 track-equivalent units.[207][208] The album-equivalent units set a record for the highest amount of 2021, exceeding the 295,000 units amassed by Olivia Rodrigo's Sour. Kanye West scored his 10th chart-topper on the Billboard 200 with the album, making him one of seven artists to have gathered this amount of number-ones on the chart. It also marked West's 10th consecutive album to debut at the summit, tying him with Eminem's record.[207] It also reached the summit of the US Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums charts, becoming West's second album to top the two charts and achieving the biggest unit week for both.[209] The album entered atop the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, on which it was the rapper's 10th chart-topper.[210] 23 of Donda's tracks debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, leading to West joining Drake as one of the two artists to have 23 or more songs chart simultaneously. This also increased West's Hot 100 entries to 133, the fifth most of any act, a ranking he attained for top-40 hits as well by having scored 68. "Hurricane" was the highest charting track, reaching number six and becoming West's 19th top-20 hit.[120] The 23 tracks took up the top-23 spots on both the US Christian Songs and Gospel Songs charts, exceeding West's record of all top-10 positions on the former chart and the top-11 on the latter.[209] As a result of the album and its tracks, West went up from number 67 to the top position on the Billboard Artist 100, giving him his third week atop the chart.[211] It was the ninth best-selling digital album of 2021 in the United States.[212] On March 9, 2022, Donda was certified platinum by the RIAA for pushing 1,000,000 certified units in the US.[213]

In Canada, Donda topped the Canadian Albums Chart,[214] and on January 7, 2022, it was certified platinum by Music Canada (MC) for shelving 80,000 album-equivalent units in the country.[215] Elsewhere, the album entered atop the ARIA Albums chart in Australia, standing as West's fourth number-one release on the chart. This led to him joining 5 Seconds of Summer, Justin Bieber, Keith Urban, Kings of Leon, and Lady Gaga as one of the acts to achieve their fourth number-one album in the 2020s decade.[216] The debut increased West's number of chart-topping weeks to five, alongside giving the rapper his ninth top-10 release on the ARIA Albums chart. 19 of Donda's tracks debuted within the top-50 of the ARIA Singles chart; "Hurricane" charted the highest at number four.[216] The entries surpassed Taylor Swift's milestone of 16 debuts in the top-50, as well as the record held by both Post Malone and Michael Jackson for 17 tracks present within this ranking. The album also topped the New Zealand Albums chart,[216] and by March 27, 2022, it had been certified platinum by the Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ) for shipments of 15,000 units in New Zealand.[217]

Donda ranked at number one on the midweek album sales chart in the United Kingdom, before debuting at the same position on the UK Albums Chart.[218][219] It gave West his third chart-topper in the UK and stood as his first since Yeezus in 2013.[219] The album pushed 19,617 chart sales, 91 percent of which came from 17,921 streaming-equivalent units, while the other nine percent consisted of 1,696 paid downloads.[219][220] In total, Donda accumulated 33.4 million streams in the UK across its 27 tracks.[219] Three of the tracks debuted on the UK Singles Chart, with "Hurricane" attaining the highest position of number seven.[123] The album entered atop the Irish Albums Chart, standing as West's second number-one album in Ireland and his ninth to reach the top-10.[221] West had the three highest new entries on the Irish Singles Chart with the tracks that debuted; "Hurricane" was the most successful, reaching number seven.[222] Donda opened at the summit of the French Albums chart, becoming West's first number-one album in France and selling 9,476 copies over a five-day tracking period.[223] The album also topped the charts in Austria,[224] Belgium's Flanders and Wallonia regions,[225][226] the Czech Republic,[227] Denmark,[228] Finland,[229] Iceland,[230] Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.[216] On May 3, 2022, it was awarded a platinum certiifcation by IFPI Danmark for shipments of 20,000 units in Denmark.[231] Donda peaked within the top five in Germany,[232] Slovakia,[233] Spain,[234] and Switzerland.[235]

Track listingEdit

Track listing adapted from Tidal.[236]

Donda track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Donda Chant"Kanye West0:52
2."Jail"4:57
3."God Breathed"
5:33
4."Off the Grid"
5:39
5."Hurricane"
4:03
6."Praise God"
3:47
7."Jonah"
  • West
  • Audi
  • DrtWrk
  • Mike Dean[b]
  • Wheezy[b]
3:15
8."Ok Ok"
  • West
  • Boi 1da
  • Louis Bell[a]
3:25
9."Junya"
  • West
  • J. Carter
  • B. Walsh
  • C. Young
  • D. Mills
  • Yusef
  • M. Williams
  • N. Pemberton
  • Cubina
  • R. East
  • Roark Bailey
  • T. Thornton
  • Warren Trotter
2:28
10."Believe What I Say"
4:02
11."24"
  • West
  • Daniels
  • Miller
  • D. Mills
  • Yusef
  • Mbogo
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
3:18
12."Remote Control"
3:19
13."Moon"
  • West
  • E.Vax
  • BoogzDaBeast[a]
  • DJ Khalil[a]
2:36
14."Heaven and Hell"
  • West
  • Andrew Dawson
  • B. Walsh
  • C. Njapa
  • C. Young
  • Edgar Nabeyin Panford
  • J. Gwin
  • Yusef
  • M. Williams
  • Michael Oliver
  • Nima Jahanbin
  • O. Wilder
  • Paimon Jahanbin
  • Cubina
  • T. Smith
  • West
  • 88-Keys
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • Nabeyin[a]
  • Ojivolta[a]
  • Wallis Lane[a]
  • Andrew Dawson[b]
2:25
15."Donda"
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • FnZ
  • Ojivolta
2:08
16."Keep My Spirit Alive"
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • FnZ
  • Ojivolta
  • Darius Woodley
  • Dem Jointz
  • Rico Nichols
3:41
17."Jesus Lord"
8:59
18."New Again"
  • West
  • C. Njapa
  • Abernathy
  • Jacqueline Cummings
  • J. Gwin
  • Laraya Robinson
  • Magnus Lidehäll
  • Yusef
  • M. Williams
  • N. Jahanbin
  • P. Jahanbin
  • Cubina
  • Salem Al Fakir
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • Ojivolta[a]
  • Dem Jointz[a]
  • Mia Wallis[a]
  • Wallis Lane[a]
  • 88-Keys[b]
3:03
19."Tell the Vision"
  • West
  • Bashar Jackson
  • Angie Martinez
  • De Boni
  • J. Gwin
  • Jalil Peraza
  • Luke Doyley
  • Yusef
  • M. Williams
  • M. Mulé
  • Cubina
  • Ricardo Lamarre
  • Samuel Jackson
  • T. Thornton
  • Thomas Whitfield
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • FnZ[a]
  • Ojivolta[a]
1:44
20."Lord I Need You"
2:42
21."Pure Souls"
  • West
  • Rodrick Wayne Moore, Jr.
  • Chinsea Lee
  • Bastian Völkel
  • Christoph Bauss
  • C. Young
  • D. Mills
  • Donny Flores
  • J. Gwin
  • L. Harris
  • Yusef
  • M. Williams
  • M. Dean
  • O. Wilder
  • Raphael Saadiq
  • Cubina
  • Simon David Plummer
  • Tim Friedrich
  • Tyshane Thompson
  • W. Trotter
5:59
22."Come to Life"
  • West
  • B. Walsh
  • Jeff Bhasker
  • Yusef
  • M. Williams
  • M. Dean
  • Cubina
  • Campbell
  • West
  • Jeff Bhasker
  • Ojivolta
  • Warryn Campbell
  • Mike Dean[a]
5:10
23."No Child Left Behind"
  • West
  • T. Hollins
  • Douglas Brown
  • Frankie Smith
  • J. Gwin
  • Jahshua Brown
  • Yusef
  • M. Levy
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • Gesaffelstein
  • Cashmere Brown[b]
2:58
24."Jail pt 2"
  • West
  • 88-Keys
  • Mike Dean
  • Ojivolta
  • Dem Jointz[a]
  • E.Vax[a]
  • Sean Solymar[b]
4:57
25."Ok Ok pt 2"
  • West
  • D. Charles
  • C. Lee
  • M. Ryles III
  • C. Young
  • D. Flores
  • Bell
  • Yusef
  • M. Samuels
  • O. Wilder
  • R. East
  • S. Plummer
  • T. Thornton
  • T. Smith
  • T. Thompson
  • West
  • Boi 1da
  • Louis Bell[a]
3:25
26."Junya pt 2"
  • West
  • Carter
  • Tyrone Griffin Jr.
  • B. Walsh
  • C. Young
  • D. Mills
  • Yusef
  • M. Williams
  • N. Pemberton
  • Cubina
  • R. East
  • R. Bailey
  • T. Thornton
  • W. Trotter
  • West
  • Digital Nas
  • Ojivolta
  • Roark Bailey[b]
3:03
27."Jesus Lord pt 2"
  • West
  • Swizz Beatz
  • Gesaffelstein[a]
  • Mike Dean[a]
11:31
Total length:108:49
Deluxe edition - Disc 1[237]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Donda Chant"
  • West
  • Johnson
  • Yusef
West0:52
2."Hurricane"
  • West
  • Tesfaye
  • Jones
  • Mbogo
  • Cydel Young
  • Dexter Mills
  • Yusef
  • Pemberton
  • Wilder
  • Mease
  • Albert Daniels
  • Seeff
  • Barsh
  • Tobias Smith
  • Gwin
  • M. Dean
  • Abdul-Rahman
  • Spence
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Walter
  • Njapa
  • Ruelas
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • Dean
  • DJ Khalil
  • Ronny J
  • Ojivolta[a]
  • Cirkut[a]
  • 88-Keys[b]
  • Nascent[b]
4:03
3."Moon"
  • West
  • Toliver
  • Mescudi
  • Yusef
  • Mast
  • Gwin
  • Abdul-Rahman
  • West
  • E.Vax
  • BoogzDaBeast[a]
  • DJ Khalil[a]
2:36
4."Life of the Party" (with André 3000)
6:31
5."Off the Grid"
  • West
  • Carter
  • Ryles
  • C. Young
  • Yusef
  • Billy Walsh
  • Wilder
  • T. Smith
  • Gloade
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Asif
  • Ruoff
  • Klughammer
  • Sloan
  • West
  • 30 Roc
  • Ojivolta
  • AyoAA
  • David x Eli[a]
  • Sloane[b]
5:39
6."Jail"
  • West
  • S. Carter
  • Yusef
  • Campbell
  • Njapa
  • M. Dean
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Abernathy
  • Solymar
  • Moylett
  • West
  • 88-Keys
  • Dean
  • Ojivolta
  • Dem Jointz[a]
  • E.Vax[a]
  • Solymar[b]
4:57
7."Praise God"
  • West
  • Webster
  • H. Carter
  • Che Smith
  • Yusef
  • Mbogo
  • Gloade
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Khan
  • Tate
  • Sloan
  • West
  • 30 Roc
  • Ojivolta
  • The Twilite Tone[a]
  • Zentachi[a]
  • Dean[a]
  • Sloane[b]
3:46
8."Come to Life"
  • West
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Bhasker
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Campbell
  • M. Dean
  • West
  • Bhasker
  • Ojivolta
  • Campbell
  • Dean[a]
5:10
9."Believe What I Say"
  • West
  • Myrie
  • C. Young
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Gallo
  • Adam Wright
  • Abernathy
  • Mulé
  • De Boni
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Gwin
  • Reid
  • West
  • Dem Jointz
  • FnZ[a]
  • Ojivolta[a]
  • BoogzDaBeast[a]
  • Antman Wonder[b]
4:02
10."No Child Left Behind"
  • West
  • Hollins
  • Yusef
  • Gwin
  • Lévy
  • J. Brown
  • Douglas Brown
  • Franklyn Smith
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • Gesaffelstein
  • Cashmere Brown[b]
2:58
11."Up from the Ashes"
2:42
12."Remote Control pt 2"
  • West
  • J. Williams
  • Mescudi
  • C. Young
  • Yusef
  • Pemberton
  • K. Gomringer
  • T. Gomringer
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Njapa
  • M. Dean
  • Walton
  • West
  • Digital Nas
  • Cubeatz
  • Ojivolta
  • 88-Keys[a]
  • Dean[a]
  • Walton[b]
5:23
13."God Breathed"
  • West
  • Hollins
  • Yusef
  • Mast
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Aaron Butts
  • Vindver
  • Miller
  • McGuire
  • Principato
  • D. Young
  • Hartley
  • West
  • E.Vax
  • Ojivolta
  • Arrow
  • Vindver[a]
  • All Day[a]
5:33
14."Lord I Need You"
2:42
15."24"
  • West
  • Mbogo
  • Mills
  • Yusef
  • Daniels
  • Miller
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Campbell
  • West
  • All Day
  • Ojivolta
  • Campbell[a]
  • Henry[a]
3:17
16."Junya"
  • West
  • J. Carter
  • C. Young
  • T. Thornton
  • Mills
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Warren Trotter
  • East
  • Pemberton
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Bailey
  • West
  • Digital Nas
  • Ojivolta
  • Bailey[b]
2:27
17."Never Abandon Your Family"
  • West
  • Bell
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Daniels
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Evan Mast
  • West
  • Ojivolta
  • E.VAX
3:27
18."Donda"
  • West
  • Yusef
  • Gwin
  • Mulé
  • De Boni
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Catherine Bollinger
  • John Trainum
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • FnZ[a]
  • Ojivolta[a]
2:08
Deluxe edition - Disc 2[237]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
19."Keep My Spirit Alive"
  • West
  • Mbogo
  • Yusef
  • Gwin
  • Mulé
  • De Boni
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Abernathy
  • Woodley
  • Nichols
  • Parker
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • FnZ
  • Ojivolta
  • Dem Jointz[b]
  • Woodley[b]
  • Nichols[b]
3:41
20."Jesus Lord pt 2"
  • West
  • Yusef
  • Allah
  • J. Phillips
  • Styles
  • Jacobs
  • Hoover
  • K. Dean
  • Lévy
  • M. Dean
  • West
  • Swizz Beatz
  • Gesaffelstein[a]
  • Dean[a]
12:05
21."Heaven and Hell"
  • West
  • Young
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Wilder
  • T. Smith
  • Michael Oliver
  • Njapa
  • Gwin
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • N. Jahanbin
  • P. Jahanbin
  • Panford
  • West
  • 88-Keys
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • Ojivolta[a]
  • Wallis Lane[a]
  • Nabeyin[a]
2:25
22."Remote Control"
  • West
  • J. Williams
  • C. Young
  • Yusef
  • Pemberton
  • K. Gomringer
  • T. Gomringer
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Njapa
  • M. Dean
  • Walton
  • West
  • Digital Nas
  • Cubeatz
  • Ojivolta
  • 88-Keys[a]
  • Dean[a]
  • Walton[b]
3:18
23."Tell the Vision"
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • FnZ[a]
  • Ojivolta[a]
1:44
24."Jonah"
  • West
  • Banks
  • Hollins
  • C. Young
  • Mills
  • Yusef
  • Leonard Harris
  • Daniels
  • Wilder
  • Suski
  • T. Brown
  • Glass
  • M. Dean
  • West
  • DrtWrk
  • TT Audi
  • Wheezy[b]
  • Dean[b]
3:15
25."Pure Souls"
  • West
  • Moore
  • Lee
  • C. Young
  • Thompson
  • Mills
  • Saadiq
  • Yusef
  • Harris
  • Trotter
  • Plummer
  • Flores
  • Gwin
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • M. Dean
  • Friedrich
  • Bauss
  • Völkel
  • Wilder
5:58
26."Ok Ok"
  • West
  • McCollum
  • Charles
  • Ryles
  • C. Young
  • T. Thornton
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Wilder
  • East
  • T. Smith
  • Samuels
  • Bell
  • West
  • Boi-1da
  • Bell[a]
3:24
27."New Again"
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • Dem Jointz[a]
  • Ojivolta[a]
  • Wallis Lane[a]
  • Mia Wallis[a]
  • 88-Keys[b]
3:03
28."Jesus Lord"
  • West
  • Allah
  • Yusef
  • Hoover
  • K. Dean
  • Lévy
  • M. Dean
  • West
  • Swizz Beatz
  • Gesaffelstein[a]
  • Dean[a]
9:33
29."Ok Ok pt 2"
  • West
  • Charles
  • Lee
  • Ryles
  • C. Young
  • T. Thornton
  • Thompson
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Wilder
  • East
  • T. Smith
  • Plummer
  • Flores
  • Samuels
  • Bell
  • West
  • Boi-1da
  • Bell[a]
2:34
30."Junya pt 2"
  • West
  • J. Carter
  • Griffin
  • C. Young
  • T. Thornton
  • Mills
  • Yusef
  • Walsh
  • Trotter
  • East
  • Pemberton
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Bailey
  • West
  • Digital Nas
  • Ojivolta
  • Bailey[b]
3:02
31."Jail pt 2"
  • West
  • Kirk
  • Warner
  • Yusef
  • Campbell
  • Moylett
  • Njapa
  • M. Dean
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Abernathy
  • Solymar
  • West
  • 88-Keys
  • Dean
  • Ojivolta
  • Dem Jointz[a]
  • E.Vax[a]
  • Solymar[b]
4:56
32."Keep My Spirit Alive pt 2"
  • West
  • Mbogo
  • Yusef
  • Gwin
  • Mulé
  • De Boni
  • M. Williams
  • Cubina
  • Abernathy
  • Woodley
  • Nichols
  • Parker
  • West
  • BoogzDaBeast
  • FnZ
  • Ojivolta
  • Dem Jointz[b]
  • Woodley[b]
  • Nichols[b]
3:41
Total length:130:52


  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer

Uncredited features[48]

Deluxe edition[239]

Samples

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from Tidal.[236]

Musicians

  • Syleena Johnson – additional vocals (1)
  • Dem Jointz – additional vocals (2, 10, 24)
  • Sunday Service Choir – additional vocals (2, 5, 11, 15, 18,[56] 20, 27)
  • Justin Austin – additional vocals (3)
  • KayCyy – additional vocals (5, 11)
  • Donda West – additional vocals (6, 15)
  • Fivio Foreign – additional vocals (8, 25)
  • Buju Banton – additional vocals (10)
  • Stalone – additional vocals (10, 15)
  • MUSYCA Children's Choir – additional vocals (15)
  • The World Famous Tony Williams – additional vocals (15)
  • Larry Hoover Jr. – additional vocals (17, 27)
  • Briana Babineaux – additional vocals (20)
  • Sam Barsh – keyboards (5)
  • John Mease – keyboards (5)
  • Daniel Seeff – bass (5)
  • Cory Henry – organ (11)
  • Brandee Younger – harp (12)
  • Darius Woodley – drums (16)
  • Rico Nichols – drums (16)
  • Mark Williams – piano (22)
  • Nikki Grier – choir arrangement (2, 5, 11, 18, 20, 24)
  • Jason White – choir arrangement (2, 5, 11, 18, 20, 24)

Technical

  • Maurizio "Irko" Sera – mix engineering, master engineering (all tracks)
  • Mike Dean – mix engineering (1–7, 9, 11–16, 18, 20–21, 23–24, 26)
  • Alejandro Rodriguez-Dawsøn – record engineering (1–9, 11–18, 20–22, 24–27)
  • Enzo Rarri – record engineering (1, 3, 23, 27)
  • Will Chason – record engineering (1, 4, 6–9, 15, 20, 23, 25–26), assistant record engineering (12–13)
  • Ronald Lark III – record engineering (2)
  • Gimel Keaton – record engineering (2, 24)
  • Josh Berg – record engineering (2–27)
  • Mikalai Skrobat – record engineering (2–18, 20–22, 24–27)
  • Roark Bailey – record engineering (3–9, 12–13, 21, 26)
  • Dem Jointz – record engineering (10, 15)
  • Drrique Rendeer – record engineering (4, 13, 17, 27)
  • James Kelso – record engineering (4, 13, 17, 27)
  • Jonathan Pfarr – record engineering (12, 15, 20, 24)
  • Randy Urbanski – record engineering (3, 20)
  • Lorenzo Wolff – record engineering (4)
  • Shin Kamiyama – record engineering (5)
  • Zack Djurich – record engineering (5)
  • Jesse Ray Ernster – record engineering (5)
  • Devon Wilson – record engineering (5, 6, 10), mix assistance (6)
  • Wilson "Zaigo" Mejia – record engineering (7)
  • Gentuar Memishi – record engineering (8)
  • Henry Russell Walter – record engineering (14, 22), vocal editing (9, 26), vocal production (12)
  • Preston Reid – record engineering (10)
  • Angad Bains – record engineering (12)
  • Federico Vindver – record engineering (15), vocal production (15)
  • Nagaris Johnson – record engineering (15)
  • Todd Bergman – record engineering (15, 20)
  • Kalam Ali Muttalib – record engineering (16)
  • Rashade Benani Bevel – record engineering (16)
  • Jess Jackson – record engineering (19)
  • Scott McDowell – record engineering (23)
  • Rafael Fai Baautista – record engineering (26), mix assistance (26)
  • Louis Bell – vocal editing (2–8, 10–12, 14, 16–18, 20–22, 24–25, 27)
  • Patrick Hundley – vocal editing (3–5, 9–11, 13–14, 16, 21, 24, 26–27)
  • Stef Moro – mix assistance (3, 22)

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Certifications and sales for Donda
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[215] Platinum 80,000 
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[231] Platinum 20,000 
Italy (FIMI)[288] Gold 25,000 
New Zealand (RMNZ)[217] Platinum 15,000 
Poland (ZPAV)[289] Gold 10,000 
United Kingdom (BPI)[290] Gold 100,000 
United States (RIAA)[213] Platinum 1,000,000 

  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit