The Memory of Donda West.

Adil Siraj, Features Journalist

Donda: Kanye West’s newest album, with inspiration so touching behind every song that causes you to relate with every verse or lyric that you hear. The greatest part of the album is who and what Kanye committed to writing it about. Donda is named after Kanye’s mother, Donda West, a professor at Chicago State University who passed away at 58 in 2007. Kanye released the album as a tribute to her on her 71st birthday. Donda raised Kanye as a single mother for most of his life, as his father left at the age of 3, Donda is the one who supported Kanye to embrace his dreams and chase a music career, which gave Kanye the inspiration to write the album, alongside including his mom reciting the lyrics of ‘Sound of Da Police’ by KRS-Ones in the opening of the song Donda, alongside Donda Chant being Kanye’s mother’s final heartbeats. Donda was released on August 29, 2021, featuring artists such as Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, and many others which attracted a vast audience to the album’s release. With songs like Off The Grid, Moon, and Jail being some of the most critically acclaimed songs of the year as well as the fact that every song made the Billboard top 100, it was not hard for the album itself to peak at #1 on the Billboard; which displays Kanye’s impressive ability to produce without a studio, without help. The entirety of the album extensively alludes to his relationship and the influence of his late mother, Donda West.
One of the most prominent songs on the album, “Moon” is an uplifting song about calmness you found within moonlight, having listeners truly want to go to the “moon.” The chorus, written by Don Toliver, is extremely notable when he says “I wanna go to the moon, don’t leave so soon.” The song written by Kanye, references to his loss of his mother, in an interview with Page Six, Kanye’s stepfather Ulysses Blakeley spoke about how the passing of Donda West, on how “He has not recovered from the loss of his mother,” in which he wasn’t ready for her to leave unexpectedly and so soon. Moon is relaxing to the listener’s ears, with listeners saying it makes you feel like “you’re on the moon,” said Junior Charlotte Wagner. Kid Cudi and Kanye’s verse provides a great ending to this song with their chorus, really wanting you not to “leave so soon”.
Following Moon is an equally noteworthy song, Off The Grid, which most critics claim is the best song on Donda. Compared to other songs on the album, it is easily within the top three according to critics, such as DBK News and Pitchfork. It’s the upbeat sound that is produced by Kanye that gets listeners excited. Alongside features from rappers such as Playboi Carti and Fivio Foreign, who are both known for being hype artists. The song is showcased with different verses compared to most of the album, such as “Remember when I was broke, wearin’ cheap coats, Now it’s diamonds and houses and C Notes.” Kanye’s success didn’t come without loss and failures. In an interview with Q Magazine, Kanye talks about how he sacrificed “his mom” to get to where he is now. This was due to him moving to L.A. and a surgery involving his mother going wrong. Kanye attributes this to his success, but over time has overcome the passing of his mother to release Donda in memory of her. Off The Grid resembles older Kanye songs with the upbeat style and lyrics that hit home, which is a welcome addition to older fan’s ears, and newer fans a taste of old Kanye. Fivio and Carti do their jobs perfectly, with Fivio having one of the best features and verses on the overall album, delivering his part for the audience to enjoy. Off The Grid is overall enjoyable to the masses, cementing the song in the top 3 of the album.
Jail, another hit song that is great to listen to. Both parts are highly rated and are greatly appreciated by the masses and audiences of Kanye. Part 1 of Jail is a more upbeat song, with “We going to Jail tonight,” for sure being one of the best lyrics in the entire song by The Post Athens. The song features Jay-Z, whose verse has memorable lyrics such as “I can’t be controlled with programs and presets,” and “You are not in control of my thesis.” This is related back to when Kanye spoke about mind control during a live clip, on how “people try to influence you through social media and try to tell you what to do.” Kanye believes that in the industry, people will try to take control of your thesis.” Kanye stands against that with his lyrics. Obviously, the true star of the first part of Jail is Kanye, who delivers the great chorus, “[He’ll] be honest, [He’ll] be honest, We all liars.” Jail Part 1 is easy to listen to and acceptable by the general listener. Junior Ivan Hernandez thinks, “Jail Part 1 is really good to get into, and I love how easy it is to bop to.” Now, Jail Part 2 features Dababy and Marilyn Manson. Dababy’s verse has a lyric saying “Mama couldn’t save us ‘cause she had to get the money,” which again ties into Kanye’s parents’ life. Overall, Jail Part 2 is a greatly written song and was produced amazingly, and you can tell by the interpretation of the lyrics.
This album holds a lot of meaning, dedication, and determination from the various artists and most importantly, Kanye West. Overall, this album is highly rated by critics and listeners alike and will be regarded as a classic of Kanye, and he “will not stop, I PROMISE ON GOD.”