After pump-faking more times than DeMar DeRozan, Kanye West’s label releases the absolutely stacked “DONDA.”
Honorable Mention. No Child Left Behind
I swear, I almost choked up listening to “No Child Left Behind.” Either this song is deep as hell or wifey put way too much salt in this Spaghetti sauce that I’m eating right now. Hearing someone get saved will never get old, to me. I almost got jealous hearing Kanye say over and over again, “he’s done miracles on me.” Ye, how much did you pay the LORD for a consultation? Vory, someone that shines throughout this album, absolutely shines bright in “No Child Left Behind.” His numbing vocals made my soul reach for the phone to call 911.
Honorable Mention. Keep My Spirit Alive
I cannot believe that Kanye was able to turn Griselda rappers Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine into believers! I just find “Keep My Spirit Alive” to be one of the rawest rap joints on this album (I’m always in the mood for raw rap joints). In the song, Westside, Conway, and Kanye speak their truths using both animated and laidback styles of rapping. While Conway and Kanye sound humble, Westside dangerously toes the line between some moral s**t and some heathen s**t.
Honorable Mention. OK OK
Is that Drake shots that I hear? Rap like who? Aw s**t. Kanye’s ego got the best of him in “OK OK,” and I’m fine with that. In the song, he uses a DaBaby-Esque melody (Or some would say a Drake-Esque melody) to take shots at someone whose name rhymes with break. On the real, Lil Yachty puts up his best verse since his verse on “Mixtape” in “OK OK.” First off, I’m thankful that he actually rides the song’s beat well. Secondly, I absolutely love the naughty and carefree lyrics that he hits us with. My only issue is this: Did Yachty get the memo that this was a semi-gospel album? Rooga puts up a Durk-like verse that I am cool with in “OK OK.” His stock will rise after folks hear this song. Kanye makes up with Jay and starts beefing with Drake (What an unfortunate turn of events).
5. Believe What I Say
If you grew up on Kanye’s music, you will understand why “Believe What I Say” is easily one of the best songs on this album.
Lauryn Hill’s vocals are what made one of Kanye West’s most important hits, “All Falls Down,” special (I’m sure a bunch of people don’t know that Hill’s vocals were featured on the original version of “All Falls Down.” How do I know? Me and Kanye’s music goes so far back, I had the bootleg version of College Dropout). A few years later, Kanye uses Hill’s vocals once again (Her vocals from “Doo Wop: That Thing”) to help channel his old self.
“Believe What I Say” sounds like it could be the cousin of “Fade” and the distant cousin of “Workout Plan.” The song features this bumpy instrumental that will make you want to lift some weights and s**t. As for Kanye West, he shines in very unique ways in the track. Not only does he hit us with hypnotizing melodies, but he also raps with a serious pep to his step and dishes out lyrics that seem to address his family issues in a way that sounds a little cocky. All in all, “Believe What I Say” just feels like a pure Kanye song, to me (Even though some s**t about the song is definitely cringeworthy).
4. Praise God
For some odd reason, “Praise God” feels so deliciously wicked.
I officially believe in reincarnation. I swear, I could barely tell the difference between Kanye and Travis Scott in “Praise God.” I also couldn’t tell the difference between Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar (Kendrick is on the song, right? I’m joking, I know that he’s not on the song)
I would love to hear “Praise God” at a club that celebrates communion. The song features so many elements that will make you hyped as hell. Not ignorant hyped, but, like, thankful for the LORD’s blessings hyped (Which is probably still ignorant hyped). All in all, I love Kanye and Travis’s chemistry and how Baby Keem simply goes nuclear on his verse.
After feuding for a few years, Jay-Z and Kanye West reunite for the very powerful “Jail.”
More than anything, this song warmed my heart. Jay-Z and Kanye have literally made history together, so it never sat well with me finding out that they were beefing. Well, it seems like their beef has morphed into some really well-seasoned tofu because in “Jail,” the two legends make it seem like everything between them is all good again.
“Jail” features an instrumental that would make Jimi Hendrix proud, a very rebellious Kanye West, and a nurturing Jay-Z. While the song is obviously supposed to be heard with your ears, for some odd reason, it was mainly felt by my heart.
Being able to forgive is one of the strongest abilities a human being can have.
2. Off The Grid
“Off The Grid” will get tons of burn in a church that is close to hell’s border and a shaky Brooklyn apartment complex. The song features divine feels, a drill beat, lyrics about GOD, an adrenaline-filled Playboi Carti verse, a masterful Fivio Foreign verse, and one of Kanye’s best verses in years.
Fivio Foreign put up one of his best verses ever in this song. The way he combines lyrics about gaining respect and being the chosen one with lyrics about GOD’s blessings is phenomenal. I also love Kanye’s verse on the song. You can tell that he wanted to resort to his old cocky self in it but slapped his wrist and said, “no, I’m a son of the LORD now.” Nonetheless, the Kanye that you get on this song is my favorite Kanye.
Did Kanye just drop the greatest drill track of all time?
Kanye West, Lil Baby, and The Weeknd provide us with a category three hurricane that we all need in our lives.
Speaking of hurricanes, keep everyone who might get affected by hurricane Ida in your prayers. Anywho, “Hurricane” is one of those holy hip-hop tracks that features killer bars and an organ that will make you want to confess your sins to GOD.
What I find interesting about “Hurricane” is that everyone featured in the song provides different perspectives to it: Baby provides glorious raps that the boys and girls in the trap can relate to, The Weeknd provides glorious vocals that angels and ghosts can relate to, and Kanye provides uber-confident raps that Kanye can relate to. You get an epiphany, you get an epiphany, you get an epiphany (In my Oprah voice)!
Yo, Baby has more gospel hits than LeCrae this year.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. Donda Chant (N/A)
2. Jail (5/5)
3. God Breathed (4/5)
4. Off The Grid (5/5)
5. Hurricane (5/5)
6. Praise God (5/5)
7. Jonah (4/5)
8. OK OK (5/5)
9. Junya (3/5)
10. Believe What I Say (5/5)
11. 24 (4/5)
12. Remote Control (3/5)
13. Moon (4/5)
14. Heaven & Hell (4/5)
15. Donda (3/5)
16. Keep My Spirit Alive (5/5)
17. Jesus Lord (4/5)
18. New Again (4/5)
19. Tell The Vision (3/5)
20. Lord I Need You (4/5)
21. Pure Souls (4/5)
22. Come To Life (4/5)
23. No Child Left Behind (5/5)
24. Jail (4/5)
25. OK OK, Pt. 2 (3/5)
26. Junya (Pt. 2) (3/5)
27. Jesus Lord, (Pt. 2) (3/5)
So, was DONDA worth the wait? I f**king think so (Sorry for cursing, LORD).
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve been a major Kanye critic these last couple of years. I wasn’t quick to believe that he was this born-again Christian, I wasn’t quick to believe that he could still put together great albums, I wasn’t quick to believe that DONDA would ever come out, and I wasn’t quick to believe that so many artists still f**ked with him. Well, after listening to this album, I’m happy to say that he is far from a liar.
I wasn’t quick to believe that he was this born-again Christian. DONDA is a hip-hop gospel album that I’m sure GOD will have a nervous smile on his face listening to. Throughout it, Kanye and several of his music friends mainly talk about the LORD’s blessings, occasionally slipping up and talking about some shaky s**t. The funny thing is that I didn’t feel my soul being saved while listening to the album, but I did get some replenishing words of wisdom packaged through some well-put-together hip-hop music. Kudos must go to Kanye for staying true to his mission of making music the LORD could somewhat be proud of. Matter of fact, I don’t think he says a single curse word on this album… (Actually, he says, “why the hell did you wake me up?” in “Believe What I Say”).
I wasn’t quick to believe that he could still put together great albums. When the dust settles, DONDA will probably end up being Kanye’s fifth or sixth-best album (Behind MBDF, Graduation, Late Registration, College Dropout, and maybe The Life Of Pablo). With that being said, I think it’s impossible to call this a bad album. It features great vibes, outstanding production, contributions that both young whippersnappers and old-heads can appreciate, and most importantly, songs that are put together magnificently. If you question Kanye’s musical genius, DONDA will have you looking like a buffoon.
I wasn’t quick to believe that DONDA would ever come out. Well, it’s out like Lance.
I wasn’t quick to believe that so many artists still f**ked with him. I didn’t look at the credits for DONDA, so I don’t know everyone that is on the album. What I can tell you is this: While listening to it, I heard the following: Fivio Foreign, Lil Durk, The Weeknd, Jay-Z, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Baby Keem, Conway The Machine, Pop Smoke, Rooga, Roddy Ricch, Vory, Kid Cudi, maybe Young Thug, and more. I think it’s safe to say that Kanye still has friends and admirers in the industry.
I’m content with DONDA, and that is probably because I know Kanye is content with DONDA. Even though the album came out at a mysterous time, has some throwaways, and features a whopping 26 tracks, it gives off a glow that gives a new meaning to G.O.O.D. music. What the album also confirms is that whatever Kanye tweets, whoever he votes for, and whoever’s feathers he ruffles, at the end of the day, he’s too much of a lovable genius to be canceled.
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.