How to Listen to Donda, Kanye West's Hypnotic 10th Studio Album
Kanye West's 10th studio album, Donda, arrived in the most Kanye West way possible. That is to say that he held a massive event, played the album in its entirety, and then ghosted.
On July 23 in Atlanta, West paced a covered football field wearing his now-signature full face mask and a red YZY GAP Round Jacket as a sold-out crowd and streamers around the world listened to Donda, named for West's late mother, for the first time. The album is not so much a return to form for West, but a return to rap, mixing the scattered style of Ye and Jesus Is King with the lyrical prowess and star-studded lineup of features of records like The Life of Pablo and Yeezus. The biggest surprise of the album, perhaps, is JAY-Z's appearance in the final track of the album, where he raps This might be the return of the throne.
But the throne remained empty the morning of July 24, and the world still awaits Donda's arrival on streaming services. When will it be available? Only Kanye West knows that. This is, after all, a modern Kanye West album, which means the chances of it arriving when promised were always a hard zero.
After West fulfilled his prophecy by not releasing Donda in any way, shape or form, the discourse shifted from "Where is Donda" to "Real Kanye fans know it's not coming." Then, later that Friday, Justin LaBoy, who's been sharing updates on the album's progress, seemingly from within West's camp, announced the album will now be released on August 6th.
"KANYE WEST WILL MOVE THE RELEASE DATE OF DONDA TO AUGUST 6TH. THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE Red heart HE WANTS TO GIVE HIS FANS THE BEST POSSIBLE PRODUCT WITHOUT RUSHING ANYTHING. HE LOVES YALL WITH ALL OF HIS HEART. GOD BLESS Folded hands #DONDA #RESPECTFULLY," he wrote on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, LaBoy also shared a detail that may clear up speculation as to where the album will drop. Fans have wondered whether Donda would be released on TIDAL, Apple Music, Spotify, or released wide across all platforms. In response to an inquiry, LaBoy Tweeted "Getting mixed & mastered right now. Keep refreshing your music platforms its coming #DONDA #Respectfully."
That last sentence could mean one of two things: Donda will either be released on multiple platforms simultaneously, or LaBoy misspoke.
Eventually, West announced on Instagram that the release date for Donda would be August 5, 2021. It was also revealed that West has been living inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium until he's finished.
Donda did not, in fact, arrive on Thursday, August 5. Or August 6, yet, for that matter. Fans did get a taste of the latest version of the album, though, when West re-emerged from his stadium bedroom for another live listening event on Thursday night. Over the weekend, rumors have continued to swirl about the album's ever-changing release date, but Donda finally dropped on streaming platforms on August 29.
Watch the clips below for a sampling of what to expect, at least for now, from the album.
Listen to the full album below.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by Esquiremag.ph editors.