In a surprise drop on Nov. 14, 2021, Kanye West released "Donda Deluxe," an updated version of his August 2021 project "Donda." The deluxe version of the hit album features three new songs, two alternate versions of songs from the original album, and a slew of random changes to existing songs.
Of those three entirely new tracks added on "Donda Deluxe," the undeniable standout record is the song "Life of the Party," which features Outkast alum André 3000. The song is quite powerful in terms of lyrical context, and actually has quite an intricate story behind its existence. Keep reading for all of the known details regarding the song "Life of the Party."
What is the meaning of "Life of the Party"? Kanye's new track isn't all that new.
To understand "Life of the Party" is to understand the different iterations of the song that have existed over the last few months. Although Nov. 14, 2021, marked the first time that "Life of the Party" was officially released on streaming platforms, it was far from the first time that devout followers of Ye heard the track.
On July 18, 2021, in a Las Vegas church, Ye hosted his first listening party for what would eventually become "Donda." The song "Life of the Party" was premiered at that event to fans for the first time ever, and that same night a few clips of it playing leaked online, but have since been removed due to copyright infringement claims.
Just a few short weeks after that, footage of Tyler, the Creator and Ye in the studio together leaked online. In the original clip with audio, "Life of the Party" can be heard playing over the studio speakers, with the line "straight from Shibuya, on some zen" being a standout of the clip.
When "Donda" was originally released, however, the song was missing from the project, leaving a lot of fans speculating about why it didn't make the final cut.
Drake was the one who originally leaked "Life of the Party" to the public.
Fans of Ye are also likely aware of his notorious on-and-off beef with Drake, which was in full swing around the time "Donda" was released. In a surprising dig at Ye, Drake premiered an alternate version of "Life of the Party" on his radio show that featured direct disses about the "Certified Lover Boy" rapper previously unheard at the Las Vegas listening session.
Ye didn't respond to Drake's actions at the time, instead opting to load his Yeezy Stem Player — a patented device that splits any song into "stems" (vocals, bass, melody, etc.) and allows individual manipulation of each part — with a new, diss-less version of "Life of the Party."
The stem players began shipping to fans in October 2021, and "Life of the Party" was officially released as a part of "Donda Deluxe" on Nov. 14, 2021.
"Life of the Party" is a successful return to form for Ye.
There have been a lot of controversial moments in Ye's music career over the last few years, but when "Life of the Party" first leaked, most were in agreement that it was the artist's best work in a while. The track serves as a conversation that Ye and André are having with their deceased mothers. Within it, both reflect on life, both its glorious moments and its pitfalls.
André's verse is a bit more introspective, with lines such as "Miss Donda, you see my mama, tell her I'm lost," or "If there's a Heaven, you would think they'd let ya speak to your son / Maybe she has in the form of a baby's laugh / I heard passing by in a stroller remindin' me, 'Hey, keep rolling.'" The legendary wordsmith spends virtually his entire verse focusing on what he'd like to say to those he has lost in life.
As for Ye, his verse is more all over the place than André's. The Chicago native raps about his art teacher, marriage, the deaths of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, as well as a new Lamborghini. All in all, there's clearly a reflective tone that both artists share in the track, and although "Life of the Party" didn't end up officially releasing in its fiery Drake diss track incarnation, it still serves as a testament that Ye can still rap just like he did in the early days of his career.