After days of unconfirmed reports that Kanye West’s new album “Donda” will be released on August 6, a rep for the artist confirmed that date to Variety on Monday — although as with all things Kanye, that release date is a moving target.
“Donda” was first announced by West in 2019, then shelved, then suddenly revived last week, then bumped again. He held a listening session for the album in Las Vegas on July 17, then announced another, larger one at Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Arena for Thursday, to be followed by the album’s release that night. The listening session took place and was livestreamed by Apple Music, however, the album failed to materialize, with unofficial sources saying that West was doing further work on the album. Read Variety‘s full report on the Atlanta session here.
While the album’s July 23 release was confirmed by West’s longtime label, Def Jam, this behavior is not new; West alone decides when his albums will be released. “Donda” and the 2018 album “Yandhi” are among several announced-but-unreleased albums, and even after the release of his 2016 “Life of Pablo” album, he remixed and re-recorded parts of it and re-released it a couple of months later. Likewise, nearly all of the five short albums by himself and other artists he produced and released in the Spring of 2018 arrived hours or even days later than scheduled.
While many of West’s releases since “Pablo” have seemed rushed or unfocused, based on what was aired in Atlanta, “Donda” — named after his beloved mother, who died suddenly after surgery in 2007 — seems to be the most musically adventurous and fulfilling album West has released in many years. It features guest appearances from Jay-Z — with fiery verses on a song apparently called “Jail,” sparking rumors of a reunion album by the at-times estranged friends — Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Pusha T, Playboi Carti, Baby Keem, Don Toliver, Roddy Ricch and others. It retains the Christian themes and lyrics of his recent gospel material but containing only a few elements of religious music (church organ and choirs on a couple of songs). However, fans should not expect hard beats: it’s slow and contemplative, recalling at times his “808s and Heartbreak” album — the one he released after his mother’s death.