By Myra Mulongoti, Staff Writer
Kanye West released his highly anticipated tenth studio album “Donda” on Aug. 29 after multiple delays. The album was preceded by 3 listening events – the first two held at the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta and the third at the Soldier Field in Chicago.
However, upon the release of Donda and fan excitement, West took to social media to claim the album was released without his approval.
The listening events served the purpose of gaging public opinion of the music and making alterations accordingly before officially releasing the album to the public on streaming services and physical mediums.
Although it was unpredictable and erratic, students on campus enjoyed the “Donda” release process and all of the visuals and performances that came along with it.
“Kanye has no obligation to anyone but himself to release the best music he is capable of making, that being said, I don’t mind the unpredictable schedule, in fact, I’d rather him not put out an album each year merely for being formulaic or predictable,” senior communications major Dante Della Porta said.
“I thought the release parties and the whole stage setups were really cool as well,” sophomore veterinary technician major Kaitlin Cucolo said.
Students on campus believe West’s irregular album releases make him a better creative and other musicians should consider following in his footsteps.
“I think every artist can afford taking a break, and having their projects gradually exposed and worked upon,” Della Porta said.
“It’s a good idea for artists to get an honest opinion of what fans like and don’t like and the opportunity to know and correct mistakes,” Cucolo said.
One month after the release of “Donda”, Kanye West made changes to the album on streaming services. As pointed out by a reddit user, the changes are the replacement of KayCyy on “Keep My Spirit Alive” and Chris Brown on “New Again” – both replaced by West himself and the Sunday Service Choir. More minor changes include changes in the mixing and mastering of “God Breathed”, “Come to Life” and “Jail Pt. 2.”
This is not the first time West has made post-release changes to his music – he did the same with his albums “The Life of Pablo” in 2016 and “Ye” in 2018.
“In the months to come, Kanye will release new updates, new versions, and new iterations of the album. An innovative, continuous process, the album will be a living, evolving art project,” West’s label Def Jam said about “The Life of Pablo.”
West has stated that he believes his albums are “living, breathing, changing creative expressions.” However, students on campus share differing views on West making changes to music after it has been officially released to the public.
“People constantly forget that the artist’s legacy is their legacy, not your experience of their legacy. So I think if artists themselves feel as if that’s worth it, they should do so,” Della Porta said.
Other students disagree with the concept of artists making drastic alterations to music after fans have already listened and enjoyed it.
“I don’t really think that’s a good idea. If I love a song, I don’t get why you would do that,” Cucolo said.
As for the changes West made to “Donda,” students again shared opposing views as to whether they made the album better. The removal of Chris Brown caused the most outrage. Brown himself has shared his disapproval of his minimal involvement on the final version of the album calling West a “whole hoe” in now deleted social media posts.
“The one with Chris Brown I was upset about because I loved Chris Brown on the song with Kanye. I’m sad about it, but I guess with the first release he didn’t get to release all the creative thoughts in his head, ” Cucolo said.
However, other students fully believe West should fulfill his creative vision, no matter the backlash, and are happy with whatever West decides is the final product.
“This is Kanye’s album, not an album Kanye made for you. He makes it because there will be someone somewhere who likes it for what it ends up being, and not for what it was at first,” Della Porta said. Since its release in August, the album has been certified gold by the RIAA and amassed close to 200 million streams – across all streaming platforms – on its first day. “Donda,” including all the changes, is available to listen to on all streaming services.