After waiting for what felt like forever and hosting three album listening parties, Kanye West has finally dropped Donda. Named after his mother, Donda West, it was released on August 29, 2021, and fans really seem to love it so far if Twitter is any indication.
Of course, not everyone loves everything. People have definitely pointed out where they have some issues, including the fact that Donda is censored, but that's not all. Fans have also noticed that the album has a unique presentation. Instead of album art, we see a black square. But why does Donda have no cover? Here's what we know.
Why does "Donda" have no cover?
With Donda being Kanye's 10th album, fans may have expected things to go a little smoother. The release date was pushed back more than once, and now, there's no album art. The rapper hasn't publicly explained why a black square was chosen for the release, but that may not have originally been what was planned. He initially got rumors started about what it would be when he posted some expensive artwork online.
Earlier in 2021, Kanye posted a photo of Damien Hirst's sculpture called The Incomplete Truth that was created in the earlier 2000s. The work features a white dove in a formaldehyde solution.
When Kanye posted this, fans speculated about how the artwork would help convey the meaning of the album. Although Kanye never stated that The Incomplete Truth was meant to be album art, people online talked about themes like "destroying something that you're trying to preserve" (a quote from Hirst regarding his "Natural History" art series).
That theme could be very telling considering that Kanye's marriage to Kim Kardashian has been rocky in recent years, to say the least. But now, reports are coming out that the two are working on their relationship. One song from a listening party that's not on the released version of Donda is called "Love Unconditionally." It's reportedly about the rapper losing his family.
It doesn't help that Kanye actually bought the Hirst sculpture in August 2021 for £1 million ($1,375,640), according to The Sun.
Kanye says "Donda" was released without his permission.
Donda was originally supposed to be released in July 2020. Then it got pushed to July 23, 2021, then to August 6, August 15, and even later on that month. Even though we finally have the music now, Kanye would have kept us waiting if he had things his way. Just hours after the album dropped, he took to Instagram to share that his music was released without his permission.
"UNIVERSAL PUT MY ALBUM OUT WITHOUT MY APPROVAL AND THEY BLOCKED 'JAIL 2' FROM BEING ON THE ALBUM," the post reads. As of now, no one at Def Jam or the record label's parent company Universal Music Group has responded to the post.
Kanye's mention of "Jail 2" refers to the song "Jail Pt. 2" on Donda. The song "Jail" along with most of the other songs were available to stream as soon as the album was released. But the second part was added to the list of songs after the fact. But this could have also contributed to the album's lack of cover art.