Kanye West premiered his new album Donda tonight at an event broadcast live from Atlanta. Scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern, Kanye stepped out in Mercedes-Benz Stadium as music started playing at 9:50 p.m. Eastern. The album, which is due for an official release today , features the below collaboration with JAY-Z—their first together since they both appeared on Drake’s 2016 song “Pop Style.” Pop Smoke, Travis Scott, Pusha T, Baby Keem, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, and more also appear on the album. The event, which streamed live on Apple Music, has now ended.
JAY-Z appeared at the end of the album for a verse that Young Guru claimed was recorded today. “I told him to stop all that red cap, we going home,” Jay raps on the song. “This might be the return of the Throne. Hova and Yeezus, like Moses and Jesus.”
As the album played, Kanye performed at the center of the stadium without a mic. After a first song featuring the repeated phrase “we’re gonna be OK,” a second track featured a prominent sample of Kanye’s late mother Donda West and a feature from Pusha T. The third song featured extensive references to designer Junya Watanabe as Kanye mentioned this week’s big win by the Milwaukee Bucks.
The fifth song, which was introduced with a Gwendolyn Brooks spoken word excerpt, appeared to feature Travis Scott and Baby Keem. After a sixth song where he sang about “losing my family,” the seventh track appeared to feature Lil Baby. Lil Durk appears on the album (despite previously saying he “missed the jet”), and there’s a guest spot from the late Pop Smoke.
Kanye kicked the Donda campaign into gear earlier this week, when he announced the listening event alongside an Apple ad featuring new track “No Child Left Behind” (the 14th song played at the event). Kim Kardashian, who filed for divorce from Kanye in February, was in attendance at the Atlanta event tonight.
Kanye had originally scheduled Donda (formerly also called Donda: With Child) for release in July 2020, soon after releasing “Wash Us in the Blood” with Travis Scott. That announcement seemingly buried another Kanye album, billed as God’s Country. In the end, none of them came out. Kanye instead dropped “Nah Nah Nah” and “Nah Nah Nah (Remix)” before he embarked on his failed presidential campaign.
On the music front, Kanye had a relatively quiet 2021. Jesus Is King won the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. He has since appeared on “Tell the Vision,” a posthumous collaboration with the late Pop Smoke from Faith, and produced the Chicago duo Abstract Mindstate’s forthcoming album.
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