Kanye West’s long-awaited album “Donda” was released Aug. 29th. He immediately broke records, getting over 180 million streams in the first 24 hours. Kanye’s 10th studio album was attributed to his mother, Donda West, who died in 2007. The album is almost 2 hours long and has 27 songs. I interviewed six South students to get their reviews and the impressions “Donda” left.
The album opens with “Donda Chant,” a 52-second song featuring a woman’s voice saying “Donda” with various tempos. “I think the Donda chant was actually very important because it set up the album… it prefaced the fact it was a eulogy to his mom,” said sophomore Alex Ketrow. Many people skipped or made fun of it, unbeknownst to the significance that could be behind it. Theories around this track include that it could be to the tempo of Donda West’s last breaths, or that there is a deeper meaning to the 52 seconds it plays for and the 60 times ‘Donda’ is said.
There were many features on this album as well, including Baby Keem, Chris Brown, Dababy, JAY-Z, Kid Cudi, Lil Yachty, Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, The Weeknd, and about 20 more artists. Freshman Ethan Richardson and Senior Oscar Burkson agreed that Carti’s feature on “Off the Grid” was one of the finest on the album. Burkson and Ketrow concurred that DaBaby’s part on “Jail pt. 2” was not favorable. Sophomore Henry Burkson and Richardson agreed that “Pure Souls” is one of their preferred tracks, while Ketrow’s opinion contrasts. Ketrow and Richardson claim “Off the Grid” is one of their top picks, while Junior Betsy Moore says it is one of her least-liked.
These students rated the album out of 10, the majority of the responses were an 8/10. Henry Burkson, giving the album a 6/10, commented, “A lot of people thought this album was going to truly make him the greatest of all time, but I don’t think he’s there yet. The album wasn’t bad but it was definitely not as good as I expected.” However, not all students agreed. Sophomore Suttun Cunningham, who gave “Donda” a 9/10, comments, “I think it is like art and was worth the wait.” Moore agreed with an 8/10, saying, “I honestly thought there was going to be less variety in the songs than there actually was, so I was pleasantly surprised. The album felt like a mix of several different genres and I liked that a lot.”
Personally, I give “Donda” a solid 8/10. It goes hand-in-hand with my music taste, so my first impressions were pretty good. My favorite songs were “Jail”, “Believe What I Say”, “Pure Souls”, and “No Child Left Behind”. My least favorite being the part two’s, such as “Jail pt 2”, “Ok Ok pt 2”, “Junya pt 2”, and “Jesus Lord pt 2”, I don’t see the point of it. My favorite features were JAY-Z on “Jail” and Kid Cudi on “Moon.” I think that “Donda Chant” was a good opening, just confusing at first. Overall, I believe that the album was a sweet tribute, had great diversity, and broke records for a reason.