Donda Deluxe Dropped… Do We Need It?


Image courtesy of GQ

Anthony Millan, Staff Writer

This past Sunday, November 14th, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, now known as Ye, released the deluxe edition of the August Album of the Month, Donda. As an avid Ye fan, I was decently excited for this release, but I wasn’t prepared AT ALL for how soon it was releasing. Everyone was expecting at least a few months delay for this album, but, for the first time, Ye decided to live up to his promise. Either way, it actually worked out better for me, because we ended up getting the best song on the album, but I’ll get to that. Now, onto the music!

Donda Deluxe comes with a total of five new-ish songs. The actual new songs are “Life of the Party” (feat. André 3000), “Up from the Ashes”, and “Never Abandon Your Family”. The other less known tracks are “Remote Control Pt 2” and “Keep My Spirit Alive Pt 2”. Both of these songs are just alternate versions of previously released tracks, with “Remote Control Pt 2” featuring a new Kid Cudi Verse, while “KMSA Pt 2″ brings back the chorus from Kaycyy who sang it before he was replaced by Ye. Other minor changes include new mixes to a few of the songs. “Come To Life” features new backing vocals from Tyler, the Creator, “Believe What I Say” has a few lines removed, and the album tracklist is reworked. The tracklist is probably the strangest change because when listening to the Deluxe version, the new tracklisting makes no sense and does not transition well at all. The tracklist feels shuffled and unnecessarily messed with, especially when the album order was pretty great before. Nonetheless, now we can move on to the new songs.

“Up From the Ashes” is a track that has been teased since before the release of Jesus is King, Ye’s, less than flattering, ninth studio release. The track boasts a grandiose verse from the Sunday Service Choir and relaxed vocals and instrumentation from Ye. I’ve listened to this a few times, and I think it’s alright, however, nothing too special. Next, “Never Abandon Your Family” is a heartbreakingly slow track about the ever-so-publicized divorce between Kim Kardashian and Ye, causing him to feel like he’s losing his family. With a subtle instrumental, a sentimental opening from none other than Donda, herself, and pretty great singing vocals throughout, this song is sad. I honestly didn’t find much replay value in it during my listens, but definitely check this one out. 

Finally, the best song on the album. “Life of the Party” featuring André 3000 was destined to be amazing ever since Drake leaked it on OVO radio a few months back. As opposed to the leak, which contained a Drake diss verse, this version has two amazingly heartfelt verses from the artists. Ye opens the song singing over a beautiful sample, calling back to the car crash that almost killed him before his career even started. André then follows up with a verse full of confusion and grief over the loss of his mother. The verse is structured with questions geared toward “Ms. Donda” asking her if she’s seen his mom, and if so, can she say something to him. André talks about dealing with loss and struggling to look for a sign from his mom, telling him everything will be alright when he can’t find it. He goes into detail on his father never marrying, confused as to why he wouldn’t want to give his child his last name. He goes through the remainder of the verse confessing to his mother everything he’s hiding from her, as to see if this will make her leave him a sign, ending with a beautifully optimistic look on what he’s been put on Earth to do – spreading his thoughts through music. Ye follows up with a verse about his coming up, who believed in him, and where he is now. The entire song is a genuine masterpiece, and if you do not want to listen to the deluxe, I advise you to listen to this one song.