After weeks of waiting for Kanye West’s highly anticipated Donda album, the project was finally released on August 29, 2021. Containing 27 songs, the alum has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes. While some feel that Donda didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it, others feel like it’s a masterpiece that accurately puts Kanye’s genius on display. Either way, however, the album has so many songs that it can be a bit overwhelming, but there are several songs that really stand out above the rest. No matter how you feel about Kanye, it’s impossible not to admit that he knows a thing or two when it comes to creating memorable songs. Here are the five best songs from Donda.
Boasting a feature from the legendary rapper Jay-Z, “Jail” was probably one of the most heavily anticipated songs from the album. Needless to say, Jay-Z and Kanye didn’t disappoint. After years of what appeared to be a soured relationship between the two, fans were excited to hear the men on one track. They both clearly understood the assignment and the song is catchy without being corny. On top of that, there is a level of honesty in Kanye’s verse that is refreshing to hear given all of the things he’s publically endured over the last few years. Many people are hoping that this collaboration will be the first of many to come. In fact, there’s already been some talk that a sequel to Watch the Throne could be in the works.
2. Off The Grid
As a true creator, Kanye has always understood the power of collaboration, and he has never shied away from using features on his albums. “Off the Grid” is a great example of what can happen when talented artists come together and put their best foot forward. Featuring verses from Playboy Carti and Fivio Foreign (both of whom absolutely killed it), “Off the Grid” has a fun hook, but also has very solid verses. On the song, Kanye brings his usual level of confidence as he raps, “I gotta make sure they know who they messin’ with/I gotta tell ’em sorry, they too delicate/I gotta stay with God where the blessings is/I ain’t deliverin’ Heavenly messages just for the hell of it”.
3. Jesus Lord
One of the things that have made Kanye so successful over the years is the fact that he’s always been very versatile. While lots of artists tend to primarily stick to one type of song, Kanye has never been afraid to change lanes and along the way he’s shown that he can rap about practically anything. “Jesus Lord” is reminiscent of Kanye’s College Dropout days and the song touches on some very powerful subjects.
In the first verse, Kanye raps, “God got you, the devil’s watchin’, he just peekin’ in/I know I madе a promise that I’d never let the reaper in (Jesus)/But lately, I’ve been losin’ all my deepest friends (Lord)/And lately, I’ve been swimmin’ on the deepest end/ It’s just drugs, it ain’t no hugs, it ain’t no love there”. The level of vulnerability he displays on the track is a powerful reminder of the fact that Kanye is still just. a person like the rest of us.
As the song continues, Kanye touches on subjects such as poverty, violence, and teen pregnancy. His ability to weave in elements of storytelling while still keeping the lyrics tight is something that lots of artists aren’t able to do.
4. Heaven and Hell
“Heaven and Hell” is short and sweet. Even though all of the features on Donda were pretty impressive, it’s nice to see Kanye West shine on his own. His flow is energetic without being sporadic, and he sounds like what many people would consider “the old Kanye”. That said, he also mixes in lots of references to God which is something he’s started to do more in recent years.
With features from The Weeknd and Lil Baby, Kanye definitely struck gold with this one. Surprisingly, though, for a song named “Hurricane” the track is relatively calm. Kanye’s verse is full of the confidence he’s known for, but it also blends in moments of vulnerability that are present in other parts of the album. In his verse, Kanye says, “It’s a lot to digest when your life always movin’/Architectural Digest, but I needed home improvement/Sixty-million-dollar home, never went home to it”. He also alludes to the pain that comes with being judged and the harsh realities that come with telling the truth.