Kanye West will hold a third public listening session for his still-unreleased “Donda” album at the 60,000-plus-capacity Soldier Field stadium in his hometown of Chicago on Thursday, August 26 at 10 p.m. ET/ 9 p.m. CT/ 7 p.m. PT. Tickets go on sale Friday.
If this third installment follows the structure of the first two, the album will have been dramatically overhauled in the days since the last public listening session, the event will be livestreamed on Apple Music, and the album will remain unreleased. While West has recorded and teased or even announced release dates for multiple unreleased albums over the years, “Donda” has had the most public gestation of them all — and of any album by a major artist in history. Some have speculated that he is setting up a release-date battle with Drake — who has said he’s finally finished his long-awaited “Certified Lover Boy” album — similar to his release-date face-off with 50 Cent in 2007.
West debuted tracks from the album — which includes a fiery cameo from Jay-Z — at a private listening session in Las Vegas on July 17, followed with a public event at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 22 — after which the album was scheduled to be released, but wasn’t — and then basically moved into the stadium to work on the album. He held another event at the Atlanta stadium on August 5, where he played a dramatically different version of the album, including several new songs, mixes and/or features, one of which was from the Weeknd. Along with Jay-Z, the newer version of the album also features from Lil Baby, Pusha T, Don Toliver, Kid Cudi, Fivio Foreign, Jhe Rooga, Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Baby Keem, Young Thug, Vory, KayCyy, Roddy Ricch, Lil Durk, 070 Shake, Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, Jay Electronica, Sheek Louch, Jadakiss, Styles P, Larry Hoover Jr, Pop Smoke, Francis and the Lights and West’s Sunday Service Choir, along with quotes from his late mother, for whom the album is named.
Yet again, the album was scheduled to be released after the event, but was not.
Snippets of two songs, “No Child Left Behind” and “Glory,” aired in Beats ads starring athlete Sha’carri Richardson. That commercial contains the only officially released music from “Donda,” although unauthorized recordings of both listening events easily can be found online.