Kanye West’s Donda is a Beautiful Tribute to his Mother


On August 29, Kanye West released his much-awaited album, Donda. Named after his mother who passed away in 2007, the album acts as a eulogy to her. It also includes heavy religious theming, including songs like “Praise God” and “Jesus Lord”. But it’s not as much of a gospel album as Jesus is King; it takes us back to Kanye’s original rap style with a new level of production and emotion. The album is eerily reminiscent of “Jesus Walks” from The College Dropout, which was Kanye’s first religious track. It’s deeply rooted in Kanye’s hometown of Chicago, with it including many references to a prevalent gang in the city, the Gangster’s Disciples.

The album has been teased since May, with Kanye hosting listening parties for it in Atlanta and Chicago. He played a different version of the album at each party, allowing him to refine production issues and lyrics. For his Chicago listening party, he rebuilt his childhood home on the stage, brought out a veiled Kim Kardashian, and played a video of him walking out of a room that was up in flames, which is said to signify his rebirth. One thing that hasn’t changed about Kanye is that he loves theatrics. 

The album’s strongest point is by far its features. Travis Scott, Jay-Z, The Weeknd, and many, many, more were all given verses on the album, which strengthened it to no end. Overall, the strongest features are in “Hurricane”, “Praise God”, “Moon”, and “Pure Souls”. “Hurricane” features a strong chorus sung by The Weeknd which fades into Lil Baby’s verse, creating a beautiful mix of R&B and rap. “Praise God” has two of the biggest rappers in the game on it — Baby Keem has the strongest verse on the song, while Travis’s feature is miniscule yet powerful. The album also has spoken word pieces from Donda herself, as well as Larry Hoover Jr, who speaks on the American prison system.

“Moon” is the shining star of the album to many, surpassing 39 million streams just on Spotify. It’s beautifully emotional, featuring Don Toliver and one of Kanye’s frequent collaborators, Kid Cudi. The track’s chorus, “I wanna go to the moon / How can I get through” is a perfect sentiment for Kanye’s feelings after his mother’s death. Another top track is “Pure Souls”. Roddy Ricch, popularly known for his hit song “The Box”, is an unexpected star on the album. His feature on the song is powerful and well-written. 

Overall, the album is a strong contender for Album of the Year. It’s everything that fans love about Kanye — beautiful production, sampling, and lyricism. It’s at the level of some of his most iconic and critically acclaimed albums like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It’s a beautiful eulogy to his mother, done in an impactful and memorable way.