Has it Donda ‘pon you that Kanye West is great?


Media: Gageby Gaither ’24

Candles burn around Kanye West’s recreation of his childhood home in Soldier Field, Chicago.

Kanye West is back in the spotlight (has he ever left?). And, of course, his comeback could not come without a little controversy. The release of West’s 10th LP was one for the ages.

The release of “Donda” all started with a listening party on July 23, in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A release was promised after the event, but while Kanye seemingly played half-finished songs over the stadium speaker it was not looking promising.

While fans anxiously waited, West and his team lived in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for two weeks while still recording the album. After two weeks, West put on another performance, with a next-day release promised. But days later still no album.

Living in a stadium was one of the most normal events that occurred. West kept fans optimistic by posting cryptic posts online and stirring up beef with Drake that has been boiling over since 2018. Finally, a third listening party was announced.

The third and final listening party started with West sitting on the porch of a replica of his childhood home, with Marilyn Manson and Dababy, while they listened to their new collaboration “Jail pt 2.”

This particular event caused a lot of outrage, and for good reason. Dababy has recently been canceled for homophobic comments; meanwhile, Manson is facing sexual harassment allegations. This was West’s way of trying to make a stand against cancel culture, but I think he should have gone about it differently.

That incident was only during the first song played, but things went fairly smoothly for West after that. The show ended with him literally on fire and then remarrying Kim Kardashian. After that, there was still no album and fans began to worry he had scrapped the album (which has happened before!). A couple of days later “Donda” dropped randomly on a Sunday morning.

Why do so many people like me keep Kanye relevant and put up with some of his nonsense? Well, if you take the time to look at what he actually stands for and has done, you can see he has done a lot of great things for society. To name a few: he spoke out against homophobia in rap music early in his career, built affordable houses, advocated for prison reform, and now is opening a school. The media re-brands Kanye to be such a bad person when it is just the opposite.

What separates Kanye from other artists, for me, are the messages he portrays in his music. West is very vulnerable but also very confident. In his latest album, he says, “I don’t know what I would do without me,” but only two songs later he sings, “This is not about me.” He speaks self-respect but also notes that the world does not revolve around him.

Unlike artists like Drake, who take a more of a sex, drugs, and rock and roll approach to their music, Kanye speaks about problems that are relatable to an everyday person. His latest album in particular focuses on his struggles, such as divorce, suicidal thoughts and finding oneself, which he confronted all while not having his mother to help him through it. 

Speaking on personal issues is not new to Kanye. He has two albums dedicated to mental health: “Ye,” and “Kids See Ghosts.” Kanye’s theme when making music is pushing to be yourself while having struggles doing it – something everyone encounters.

So why do so many people like me keep Kanye relevant? Because he does not speak like a superstar who thinks he is better than anyone else, but rather he speaks on common problems and emotions that the average person has. As a callback to one of Kanye’s first songs: we’re all self-conscious, he’s just the first to admit it.