Kanye West returned for one more party in ATL tonight, debuting his tenth album Donda once more, in the same venue as two weeks ago. Only this time, the event was actually preceded by Donda’s appearance on Apple Music for pre-sale. West set August 6 as the new release date, after missing his intended July 23 deadline. Ahead of West’s August 5 event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the rapper had holed up in the Atlanta venue, allegedly working to finish the album after debuting a rough cut to a sold-out crowd on July 22. That cut debuted appearances by rappers including Pusha-T, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, and West’s Watch the Throne collaborator Jay-Z, who reportedly recorded his verse hours before West first played it. Earlier on August 5, West began livestreaming himself “finishing” the album at the stadium, with the stream featuring a clock counting down to 12:30 a.m. on August 6, by which time the album was released. A pre-order page went live on Apple Music hours before the the countdown clock finished.
Even before West debuted Donda in July, it had been a long path to the album. He previously promised to release his tenth album in July 2020, under the title DND: WTH CHLD, shortly after teasing a song called “Donda,” named for his late mother. That came a month after West teased an album called God’s Country, which either never materialized or became Donda. And to say nothing of Yandhi, which has remained unreleased since 2018.
After rumors emerged of intimate Donda listening events in mid-July, West confirmed the album was imminent, teasing its release in a Beats ad starring sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson. That spot was soundtracked by a Donda track called “No Child Left Behind.” West also recently produced Lil Nas X’s latest hit “Industry Baby,” featured on Pop Smoke’s posthumous album Faith, and helmed Abstract Mindstate’s comeback album, also out August 6. All that follows West’s ninth album Jesus Is King, which he released in October 2019 after a similar amount of deadline confusion. Don’t say you can’t count on the man for anything.