As with most projects on which Kanye West is the creative lead, his new album Donda has had a long, somewhat torturous road to existence. But now, after more than a year of broken promises and delays—and a typically West-ian amount of hype and build-up—West’s 10th studio album has…still not yet arrived. (We assume. We’re actually writing this particular paragraph 37 minutes after midnight Eastern, when overly optimistic commentators thought the album might drop, and literally anything could happen at this point.)
Certainly, at least some of the tracks exist: West played them for fans, colleagues, and family at an event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium earlier tonight, streamed live on Apple Music. (But also, said existence means essentially nothing; we can’t help but think back to the release of The Life Of Pablo back in 2016, where West incessantly tinkered with the album up to, and even after, its initial release.) Among other notable events, the streaming celebration confirmed a reunion of sorts between West and his old friend and business partner Jay-Z, who contributed a verse (allegedly literally written within the last 24 hours, because Kanye) to the track “Jail.” That’s a pretty big deal, given that it’s been several years since the two have collaborated in any serious way on anything aside from the public perception that they no longer get along.
Given that all the heavily hyped track listings for the album are now literally a year old, we’re still not really clear what Donda—named for West’s mother, who died of complications from surgery in 2007—will look like. (Although it does look, from teased album art, like West has stepped back from the plan to include a picture of the surgeon who performed said surgery on the cover.) At the very least, the new album—also featuring, per Pitchfork, contributions from Pop Smoke, Travis Scott, Pusha T, Baby Keem, Lil Baby, and Lil Durk—sounds like it’s at least somewhat less Jesus-y than 2019’s Jesus Is King, an album so Christ-forward it ended up winning a Grammy for contemporary Christian music.
Anyway, Donda is due out some time in the next 24 hours, unless it isn’t.