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After weeks of delays, Kanye West releases ‘Donda,’ featuring Marilyn Manson, DaBaby and Jay-Z

Kanye West in red jacket and pants
Kanye West leads a “Donda” listening session at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
(Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for Universal Music)

Maybe he always planned to release it on a Sunday morning.

Kanye West’s new album, “Donda,” finally appeared on streaming services early Sunday, days after a third public listening event for the album — but just in time, perhaps, to suit the LP’s many songs about God and religion.

The song “Jail,” which appears second on the 27-track album — following a brief intro in which a woman repeats “Donda,” West’s late mother’s name, dozens of times — features a verse by the 44-year-old rapper’s mentor-turned-frenemy Jay-Z that West premiered (to the surprise of many) at his first “Donda” event last month.

Delta variant be damned, many of our favorite artists are either performing at star-studded festivals, headlining concerts or releasing new albums this fall.

For the third event, held Thursday night at Chicago’s Soldier Field, West had replaced the Jay-Z verse with one by DaBaby, who recently sparked widespread criticism with homophobic comments. In Chicago, West also invited Marilyn Manson to appear even as the veteran shock rocker is facing multiple lawsuits over accusations of sexual assault and other misconduct.

On Spotify, Manson is credited as a cowriter (under his real name, Brian Warner) on “Jail” and on an additional track, “Jail pt 2,” that features DaBaby as well as a voice that resembles Manson’s.

When the album initially went live on the streaming platform, “Jail pt 2" was not available to play; early Sunday, West posted an image on Instagram that appears to be a screenshot of a text conversation with his manager, in which the manager tells West that DaBaby’s manager hadn’t cleared DaBaby’s cameo.

Other artists featured on “Donda” — West’s follow-up to 2019’s “Jesus Is King” and his 10th studio LP overall — include the Weeknd, Lil Baby, Playboi Carti, Young Thug, Kid Cudi, Jay Electronica, the Lox and the late Pop Smoke. Chris Brown is credited as a co-writer of one track, “New Again.” Among the producers credited with contributing are Swizz Beatz, Gesaffelstein, Boi-1da and West’s longtime studio accomplice Mike Dean.

Aaliyah, who died 20 years ago today, remade the steamy slow jam as a place for technical innovation with understated vocals that felt radically intimate.

“Donda” comes after a tumultuous two years in West’s personal life that saw him launch his roving Sunday Service gospel series, embrace President Trump’s divisive politics — then mount a baffling campaign against Trump for the Oval Office — and separate from his wife, Kim Kardashian, with whom West shares four young children.

Along with Manson and DaBaby, Kardashian appeared at last week’s event in Chicago, where she wore a wedding dress in a kind of reenactment of the couple’s 2014 nuptials.


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