It seems like the saga of "Donda," Kanye West's highly-anticipated 10th studio album, has gone on forever at this point. With tracks that fans have been anticipating for three years and multiple listening events by the artist himself, it truly seems that "Donda" will be a defining project that rivals some of Kanye's most famous work.
So, with all of the hype from collaborators, teasing on social media, and listening events with tens of thousands of guests in attendance, why has "Donda" not dropped yet? To understand this is to understand Kanye's thought process (which may prove to be quite difficult). Nonetheless, here are the known facts and theories regarding the forthcoming release.
Why has "Donda" not dropped yet? The delay isn't out of character for Kanye at all.
First of all, it needs to be said that nobody besides Kanye himself knows the exact reason that "Donda" (or any album of his) is delayed. The multi-hyphenate creative has a penchant for fully disregarding release dates and the standard rollout structure of big artists, opting instead to move completely to the beat of his own drum. So, although there is no concrete reasoning behind the delay, there are a few solid theories.
Longtime fans of Kanye are likely aware that he hasn't dropped any of his albums at midnight on a Friday since he released "Yeezus" in 2013. The sporadic release timing and schedule are likely a product of Kanye's unique thought process when it comes to putting out new music.
The artist notoriously has worked on his last few albums, "Ye," "Kids See Ghosts," and "Jesus Is King," until the eleventh hour, submitting verses and doing final mixes until just hours before they are put on streaming services. In the case of "Ye," Kanye literally had an entirely different album recorded a week prior to its release, opting instead to scrap the whole thing and start fresh.
Many fans have attributed these delays over the years to Kanye's perfectionist mentality, but he hasn't ever addressed his reasoning.
Another theory is that Kanye has been utilizing these listening parties as a way to gauge crowd reactions to his songs and make tweaks to them based on what fans like and don't like. This too is completely plausible given how much has changed on the project between these sessions.
If you've been keeping up with the listening events that the rapper has been hosting in Las Vegas and Atlanta, it's clear to see that there has been a lot of progression on "Donda" over the last month. The version of the album he premiered during an Apple Music live stream on Aug. 5, 2021, sounded complete, at least compared to what was played at his previous listening event on July 22, 2021.
The two weeks between listening events saw massive overhauls of many album tracks and the addition of plenty of Kanye's famous peers as well. Some of the artists added to the album in that time include The Weeknd, The Lox, Young Thug, Fivio Foreign, Kid Cudi, Westside Gunn, and others.
To give an even deeper comparison of how much has changed to "Donda" in only days, the first Atlanta listening event showcased 15 songs, and his Aug. 5 rendition delivered a whopping 22 tracks.
So, when will "Donda" actually be released? There are still variables at play.
Although the album that was played during the Aug. 5 live stream event sounded complete, Kanye may feel as though there are still tweaks that need to be made which could delay the album even further.
Album collaborator and Yeezy Sound artist KayCyy tweeted that fans can still expect the album to release at some time on Aug. 6, 2021, but Kanye himself has not confirmed that (yet).
If there is any confirmation that the album will come out at all, it's that both Kanye's web store and the iTunes store are offering pre-release purchases of the album, meaning that it will be delivered at some point.
For iTunes specifically, the website promises delivery of the album by Aug. 9, 2021. It's worth noting that streaming services often use placeholder dates on unreleased albums, however, and that date isn't set in stone either.
Only time will tell when Kanye ends up deciding to release "Donda," but given the overwhelmingly solid critical reception his most recent listening event garnered from fans and critics alike, we might be close.