For quite some time now, rap icon Kanye West has been teasing his official comeback to music after a brief break, and the new era of Yeezy is finally upon us with the near-arrival of his tenth studio album Donda. It looks like the old Kanye is back, too — with his hip hop partner-in-crime and the (former) love of his life by his side.
On Thursday, July 22, Kanye welcomed thousands of industry mates, reporters, and fans to join him at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to get a first listen of his new album, named after his mother who passed away in 2007 from plastic surgery complications. For almost an hour, the rapper stood silently in the centre of the stadium main floor as the music played, hardly saying a word but appearing to get emotional at times.
Donda is a feature-heavy project, seeing Kanye recruiting verses from Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Pusha T, and the late Pop Smoke. Most surprisingly, he also managed to secure a feature from Jay-Z, his former best friend and Watch the Throne co-pilot — marking their first music collaboration since their unfortunate falling out. The friends and fellow rappers clashed after Kanye publicly shared his hurt feelings about Jay-Z and Beyoncé skipping out on his wedding to Kim Kardashian. However, after years of tension and strained relationships, it finally looks like the gang is getting back together.
In a verse for final track “Throne” that was allegedly recorded and submitted the day of the listening event, Jay-Z celebrated the reunion between the longtime friends and looked toward a bright future for them both.
“I told him to stop all that red cap, we going home,” rapped Jay-Z, referring to Kanye’s dark history as a Donald Trump stan. “This might be the return of the Throne. Hova and Yeezus, like Moses and Jesus.”
Speaking of reunions, Kanye's soon-to-be-ex wife also lent her support to the musician, attending the sold-out event with her sister Khloé and her children in tow. The ongoing divorce proceedings, stemming from "irreconcilable differences," between the couple are reportedly going smoothly, but the Donda singer hinted that the decision to split may not have been mutual. At one point during the event, Kanye got emotional while listening to "Love Unconditionally," a song written about the toll his divorce had taken on him.
“I’m losing all my family," said a distressed Kanye on the track (with Kim listening along in the stands). "Darling, come back to me — you never give up on your family."
Donda was set to drop on Friday, July 23, but it has yet to hit streaming platforms. Knowing Kanye, we can't even guarantee that this album will be released anytime soon, but we can at least sleep easier knowing there's a Jay-Z feature.