Kanye West’s “Donda” Deluxe Review


Brian Ach/WireImage

Kanye West poses with his late mother Donda West. Kanye curated this album around the sounds that remind and connect him to his mother and tries to honor her the best way that he can.

Keelin Davis, Executive Editor

Hey Mrs. Donda, this one’s for you.

The deluxe version of Kanye West’s “Donda” was unexpectedly released Sunday, Nov. 14.

Talks first began about the release of the deluxe edition following the initial release of Donda. Multiple songs and leaks were considered to be released and ended up making the final cut. The “Donda” era ends with a fitting closing act, leaving a completed story arc for West and others. 

After the official release of the original album, many songs were left off and leaked that were thought to make it onto the cut. The biggest of all was, “Life of the Party,” featuring Andre 3000, which was leaked by Drake on his radio show. West’s verse was filled with sub-disses towards Drake and in the peak of their tension, it was used to add fuel to the fire. 

In the week preceding the deluxe, West did an interview with the, “Drink Champs,” radio show, speaking on his life, the album, his wife and more. In the interview, he did confirm the deluxe but gave no further detail. On the late Sunday night of Nov. 14, the album was finally delivered with five new tracks and a reordered track listing. 

The five new tracks are as follows:

  • “Life Of The Party” featuring Andre 3000
  • “Up From The Ashes”
  • “Never Abandon Your Family”
  • “Remote Control pt 2”
  • “Keep My Spirit Alive pt 2”

“Life Of The Party,” is one of the most personal and vulnerable tracks on the record and is immediately one of the best tracks on the project. Andre 3000 verse is structured like a letter written to the late Donda West to speak to his mother in Heaven for him. He reflects on his life without his mother and makes confessions on the things he never got to tell her. It is one of the best verses to be released this year and that is no strange occurrence for the former Outkast member. Following the first verse, West delivers a choppy verse of his own filled with reflective themes and melodic expression, adding more emotion to the track. The outro also features a sample of the late DMX and his daughter riding a “Slingshot,” ride and how he comforts her throughout. WIth emotions running high during the listen, this is the perfect closing remark to the track and adds weight to the words that preceded. 

“Up From The Ashes,” is an older track that was leaked during the “Gandhi” era in West’s career in 2019. It was changed to fit a more gospel tone and fits well into the theme of the album. “Never Abandon Your Family,” also serves as one of the most emotionally vulnerable tracks on the album. The subject matter solely focuses on West losing his family because of his actions and how he feels betrayed by his loved ones. The heavily autotuned vocals and weighted delivery of his words makes the track almost hard to listen to, in the best way possible. It is delivered in a way that makes you feel as if you are in West’s situation and you are the one being abandoned. 

With the final new tracks, West added two “pt 2’s” to songs that were on the original album. He added a verse from Kid Cudi on “Remote Control,” and replaced his hook on “Keep My Spirit Alive,” with his signed artist, “Kaycyy.” Cudi’s feature seems to take over the track and almost feels that it was his track to begin with rather than West and Young Thug’s. It is the perfect fit for the album and should have been the original version released. Kaycyy’s hook acts the same as Cudi’s verse does; it is better than the original version and are fantastic additions to the album.

Following the release of the deluxe, West has also reconciled with Drake and ended their beef between one another. They will be performing a joint concert together in order to raise money to free Larry Hoover from prison. The final songs releasing and the end of the mainstream tension between West and Drake tie a bow on the arc behind the Donda era.

I rate this album a 9/10 and is currently my album of the year so far.