The Best And Most Chaotic Reactions To Kanye West’s ‘Donda’ Livestream


kanye west donda livestream

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Well, it’s finally here — Donda, the tenth album by Kanye West, has been unveiled as part of an Atlanta livestream.

After being teased for over a year, the record was played by West to an adoring crowd while the world watched on. The livestream was pure Kanye: haunted, chaotic, uplifting and angry in equal measure. Standing alone in a giant cone of light, the musician paced circles and spat bars, performing a record that sits at the exact midpoint of Jesus Is King and 808s & Heartbreak.

Indeed, Donda feels like a culmination of the entirety of the man’s entire career to date, a reflection on how far he’s come and how much he’s struggled on his journey. There’s the organs and gospel singers of his religious phase; the acute, despairing poetry of his devastated phase; the freewheeling creative energy of his early records. “I’m losing my family,” the rapper sings on one of the record’s most downtrodden tracks, instrumentation whirling around him.

But above all else, Donda is a paean to its titular hero, West’s mother and greatest creative inspiration. Her voice can be heard throughout the record, introducing the tracks and reflecting on the success and tribulations endured by her dearest son. She is Donda‘s spiritual rock, a figure of inspiration shining light in the darkest corners, and her tragic loss permeates the songs like acid rain reaching bedrock.

Those who come to Kanye for the drama will not be disappointed — there are bars about his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, and reflections on the controversies that he has submerged himself in over the years. But on Donda, Kanye comes to these difficulties with new perspective, sounding oddly refreshed. The anger of The Life of Pablo has been tempered by a wellspring of clarity and faith. “I know God breathed on this,” Kanye raps over and over, his voice rich with feeling.

And this time, Kanye is not alone. Not only is the record stuffed with features, including guest appearances from rappers as esteemed as Pusha T and Travis Scott, but it is underpinned by a deep sense of community. Kanye has found his people, reinvigorated by the act of shedding the circle of yes men and dopes that he used to surround himself with. “Never count on y’all,” goes one distinct moment. “Always count on God.”

Perhaps most surprising of all is the return of the Jay-Z and Kanye bond — the former rapper takes lead vocal duties on Donda‘s last song. Jay-Z’s contribution feels like proof this is a new Kanye, one willing to let go of past grudges and to find connection where it seems most unlikely.


There is no denying it: Kanye is the moment. In the hours since the livestream premiered, the internet has lit up with memes and reactions about the new record, with adoring fans taking to their social media to share their early impressions.

Nor does this new burst of Kanye energy look ready to recede. It seems to me like we’ll be listening to Donda for a long, long time.

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia