Finally, I can review the actual album. It almost feels surreal that this actually dropped.
Kanye West's latest release "Donda", which has had one of the most tumultuous and exciting rollouts in musical history, is yet another marvellous addition to the rapper's already fantastic discography, delivering an experience that's epic, bold, heartfelt and one hell of a ride right throughout its 108-minute runtime. Named after his late mother, Donda West, Kanye pours his heart and soul into this project, and it shines through on just about every single track. Coming off the back of "Jesus Is King", this record served as almost a redemption project for ye, and he does more than redeem himself. Conceptually and sonically, this project embodies every single sense of the word epic. It's Kanye's longest project yet, chock-filled with features and gospel-inspired undertones, all with Kanye's innovative and forward-thinking twists. It's super ambitious, but, at the same time, it's fresh and incredibly intoxicating. From front to back, the project is emotionally enriching, featuring verses that border on the transcendental. It just seems to cover it all; whether it be a banger like "Heaven and Hell" or a poignant, moving track like "Come to Life", Kanye always found ways to entice me and, despite its grand length. I wasn't bored once during this, which, for a project of this scope, is incredibly impressive. But it's not just the fantastic versatility and consistency (save for two or three outliers) that Kanye displays which make this album as great as it is; the palpable thematic density also brings a ton of weight to the record, weight that trumps most of Ye's other works. The record is very much about Kanye coming to terms with the loss of his mother, or just loss in his life generally, depending on how you look at it. If you dig into the tracks deeper, the raw emotion in Kanye's verses, some of which are his most forward to date, just works its magic, extract all this profundity in the lyricism. Take "Jail" for example, where the writing just comes filled with all these moving commentaries on loss of love, which is brilliantly delivered over its heavier instrumentals. These types of tracks pepper the record's opening half and, towards the end of the record, it results in this huge emotional payoff. Whether it be the beautiful "Come To Life" or the ethereal closer (if you exclude bonus tracks) "No Child Left Behind", Kanye makes his coming to terms something of transcendent proportions, and, just listening to it, you feel as if you're ascending. Even if it may not be the definitive, final product, what Kanye West has released so far on "Donda" is his best work in years, featuring enriching, exhilarating production that, as well as producing bangers, never fails to capitalise on its raw and poignant emotional value.
Best Tracks: Off The Grid, Jesus Lord, Come to Life
Worst Tracks: God Breathed, Remote Control, Tell The Vision