Donda 2: Review


Justin Romero

In the world of hip-hop, one of the most anticipated albums of 2021 was rapper, producer, and fashion designer Kanye West’s tenth studio album, Donda, named after his late mother. 

From constant pushback to unfulfilled deadlines, it was almost a miracle when the album finally released on August 9, 2021. Kanye fans were ecstatic, and most were satisfied with the album, even after so much hype and build-up.

So, imagine the shock when—not even half a year later—Kanye announced that he would be releasing a sequel to the album on February 22, 2022. Fans were skeptical of the release date being true, but as Kanye released singles for the upcoming album (and fans released leaks), the idea of this album was slowly becoming a reality, day by day.

The 22nd came, and Kanye enthusiasts around the world held their breath. A live performance of the album was taking place, with a promise of the album being released once it was finished.

Surprise, surprise! It was not released on that day; classic Ye. A surge of speculation from viewers arose, most guessing that fans were in for another year-long delay. However, that would not be the case for this record.

From the 23rd through to the 25th, the album was slowly released, but not on traditional streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music. Instead, the album was released EXCLUSIVELY on Kanye’s Stem Player, a small machine released by the rapper last year, which gives the user control on individual elements of a song.

The Stem Player costs 200 dollars, which may be a bit of disappointment to fans who can not afford their own, or simply don’t want to spend that much money on an album, which includes me.

In this case, you may be wondering how I listened to the album without buying the stem player. Don’t worry about it.

So, Donda 2: Produced by Kanye (with fellow rapper Future by his side), it is a continuation of the sound of his previous release; gospel music with a mix of the current sound of mainstream rap music. 

Featuring verses from Kanye, Future, Jack Harlow, Travis Scott, Alicia Keys, XXXTentacion, and many more, Kanye has released another star-studded project.

While the first part was about redemption and finding God, the sequel seems to focus on Kanye’s personal problems, namely with his recent divorce with Kim Kardashian.

It’s a whole story on it’s own, but the gist of it can be found summarized in this album: Kim Kardashian is dating Pete Davidson and Kanye is not happy about that. Most of it is kept very vague and up to interpretation, but some lines are direct call-outs to Kim, Pete, and their relationship.

While his upset over the situation may be understandable, the way in which he has expressed this discontent has been criticized and looked down upon. It’s one thing to not be over your ex, but to make inappropriate and immature comments on Twitter and Instagram about them that cannot be quoted in this article is going a little too far.

Sultana Junior Andre Stark agrees, “I was excited for the album, but Kanye was buggin’ on Instagram and I don’t know how to feel about that.” When even Kanye fans think he did something wrong, you know it’s really, really bad.

But drama aside, it seems that listeners are split on Donda 2.

Sultana Senior Jonas Hall had this to say “I thought the album was good, but it sort of felt like leftovers from the first Donda.” Considering that the album was made in the span of the month, it makes sense that it isn’t as full fledged of a project as the ones he has been making for 20 years. 

However, some have speculated that the album will change and be updated in the future, similar to the release of his 2016 project, The Life Of Pablo (which changed over the course of two months, including small changes like mixing and mastering issues, and major ones like whole new arrangements for certain tracks.)

Perhaps the exclusive release of it was supposed to be a little extra treat for the most dedicated Kanye fans, just to hold them over until the next big project arrives, or until the album is finished. Hopefully, there are less Pete Davidson bars when that happens.