Kanye West releases new album, ‘Donda,’ following weeks of delays

West first introduced the album at a large-scale listening party at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 22

Kanye West’s new album, Donda, has arrived. In the early morning hours of Sunday, the polarizing artist released his 10th studio album after weeks of delays, massive listening parties, and song edits.

West first introduced the album at a large-scale listening party at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 22. At the time, the album was expected to be released two days later, but it did not. Not long after, it was reported that West had built a make-shift recording studio inside of the stadium in order to make edits and changes to the recordings, according to Vanity Fair.

Photos and live streams of West within the studio with collaborators and engineers were posted to social media over the next few weeks.

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Vanguard Award winner Kanye West speaks onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A second listening event was planned at the stadium, and fans heard new edits, additions, and omissions to the album. After links to album pre-order hit iTunes and Apple Music, it appeared that the album would arrive on August 7. But again, it did not. A third listening party was scheduled for Friday at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, West’s hometown. Again, new changes were made.

West’s manager, Bu Thiam, then confirmed via an Instagram story that the rapper/producer had finally turned the album to be distributed for streaming, with the caption, “Delivered…,” according to Rap-Up.

The delay is par for the course for West. A majority of his albums have never been released on their original release dates, dating all the way back to his debut, according to Complex. Nearly all of his albums have been a delay, with the exception of 2007’s Graduation, which was released a week early to be timed with the release of 50 Cent’s album, Curtis.

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Eclectic rapper-producer Kanye West has filed court documents to legally change his name to Ye. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company)

The album features several collaborators, including The Weeknd, Kid Cudi, Jay Electronica, Travis Scott, and Lil Baby. One of the most notable guest features is Jay-Z, with whom West had a public falling out. He appeared on the first two listening parties, was inexplicably removed, and replaced by a verse from DaBaby during the Chicago listening. This move was controversial following DaBaby’s homophobic rants at the Rolling Loud Festival, as previously reported by theGrio.

However, Jay-Z was put back on the final version.

Donda is the follow-up to West’s 2019 album, Jesus Is King, which won a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album, bringing his total to 22 Grammys. The album is titled after West’s mother, Dr. Donda West, who passed away in 2008.

West also proves to be just as fluid with album titles as he is with release dates. Prior to Donda, the working title as of 2019 was God’s Country, according to Pitchfork. In 2010, an album slated to be called Good Ass Job was ultimately changed to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. His 2016 album, The Life Of Pablo, went through several album variants, including So Help Me God, Waves, and Swish, as reported by The Guardian.

While the album’s production falls in line with the contemporary trap music rhythms of today, lyrically, West chiefly continues to rap about God and Christianity.

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