Kanye West Presents Second “Donda” Event

Kanye West Presents Second “Donda” Event

Kanye West held his second “Donda” listening event on August 5 at the Atlanta Mercedes Benz Stadium, with the full album release slated for August 7. 

Following the first listening event on July 23 that amassed over 3.3 million viewers on Apple Music’s Livestream, West postponed the album’s release, announcing it still needed a few touch-ups. Since then, he’s been living inside the Benz arena finishing up the album, which critics say is finally starting to sound like a final draft. 

The second event kicked off with a “Countdown to Donda” Livestream from Kanye’s room inside the stadium. Showcasing different moments of his day, from working out to napping to editing what fans were about to hear. Billboard described the prelude as “odd and abstract,” yet the perfect segue into Kanye’s “Donda” spectacle. 

“Donda” stage setup (image via HighSnobiety)

As the night went on, West gradually transformed the listening event into a full-on, theatrical concert. With him standing at the arena’s center amidst a large mob of dancers dressed in all black, that joined him in every antic whether it was hyping him up and raging to the beat, or calming down and praying alongside him. The latter echoes back to Kanye’s Sunday service days. 

While his mob orbited around him, “Donda” played in the background and audience members were quick to note the illustrious line-up of artists featuring on the album. Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, Lil Yachty, Pusha T, Lil Durk, Francis, and the Lights, and Playboy Carti all make an appearance on the track’s records. With The Weeknd, Jay Electronica, The Lox, and Griselda also making their debut on “Donda”s line-up. 

Seeing that the album is named after Kanye’s late mother, themes of divinity and the afterlife seeped through with the stadium’s design. From the arena’s upper ring showcasing visuals of heavenly clouds and hellish flames to the listening event’s main, jaw-dropping spectacle, Kanye West ascending off its ground. 

As a circular halo of lights projected into the sky, West lifted up into the air with his new song “No Child Left Behind” playing in the background. An orchestral and cinematic moment, West wrapped up the event with a visual representation of him getting closer to his mother. Finally ascending to the heaven they share. 

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