More Words on Donda

When Kanye West dropped The Life of Pablo in 2016, I was 18, a senior in high school, and was a dishwasher at a local Euro cafe, which was an improvement from my last job as a “sign-holder”.

alt Donda cover

It was an exciting time in my life. College was on the horizon, I traveled to Argentina and Chile for two ½ weeks in March to celebrate my birthday, my first trip outside of the country besides visiting Canadian relatives, and I was deep in my first attempt at writing a book.

The cafe itself was memorable as far as workplaces go. I had a work crush on a waitress that wasn’t my usual type, a boss I only saw when he and his wife would host dinner parties in a dining room separate from the cafe, and of my 3 waiter coworkers, one was a white guy who would try and freestyle rap to me, another was a pagan, and the third, a man in his haggard 40’s.

The kitchen staff was Mexican aside from two Guatemalan twin brothers and the old white woman who was the pastry chef. At 18, my Spanish was at a beginner level so there wasn’t much I could add to any conversation, but they tried to teach me words here and there. A couple of months in the younger Guatemalan brother helped me out with dishes if we were busy and I fell behind. I’d repay it by giving him rides home, and we soon became work-friends.

It was on my drive home after I dropped him off when I really got into The Life of Pablo. 30 hrs, No More Parties in La, Real Friends, Wolves, Ultralight Beam (a song I told a girl I knew all the lyrics to, but why didn’t when she asked me to prove it) became my after-work anthem and in turn, the soundtrack of my life at that time.

Five years after those shifts at the Euro cafe and Kanye dropped Donda. His first focused/real/full project since that year at the Euro cafe; And so much has changed, so much has stayed the same. I’ve talked a lot about Kanye recently, so all I want to say is this:

It feels so good to have a real Kanye album again. Kanye’s sound is my personal favorite in all of rap. It’s pleasing, challenging, provocative, and makes you have an opinion about it. I find myself unattracted to “safe” artists because I believe that art is, regardless of medium, about telling a truth and pushing something forward. Here’s something Kanye said in a past interview, talking about the making of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy —

“How do you view songs where Rick Ross comes in six minutes after a guitar solo? — I’m offering so much more. The songs are seven, eight minutes long. How do you even send this in for reviews? Why would people even play themselves to review it? You haven’t even heard that before.”

20 Minute Mark for the quote

And that’s how I feel about Donda. This album, considered a full-length musical dedicated to his mother as much as it is an actual album, is challenging in that it’s so new. He has an 8 and 11-minute song, the sounds, the features, the breadth, the bravado, I love it. Hip-hop is better when Kanye West is focused on music. And it’s so artistically inspiring to hear that happening again.

Anyway, here are the songs I rock with from Donda. I’d choose a favorite, but my favorite changes often.


Off the Grid




Believe what I say


Remote control


Heaven and Hell

Keep My Spirit Alive

Jesus Lord

New Again

Pure Souls

Come to Life

No Child Left Behind

Jail pt.2

Junya pt. 2

Until Wednesday,




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