Kanye West’s 'Donda' has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the biggest week for any album released this year with 309,000 equivalent album units, Billboard reports. With 'Donda', Kanye West has once again tied Eminem for the record of most No. 1 debuts in a row on the albums chart, too. Eminem broke the tie in early 2020 with 'Music to Be Murdered By'. West has become one of only seven artists in chart history to release 10 chart-topping albums, alongside the Beatles, JAY-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Eminem, and Elvis Presley.

After much delay, Kanye West has released his 10th album 'Donda' with 27 songs spanning an hour and 48 minutes. The length of it is an issue with the critics. "Nobody needs all 27 of these tracks" - NME insists, adding, "but dig deep into its contents and you’ll find enough gems to make his 10th album worth your time". The Times hears a "sprawling and sometimes brilliant album". Pitchfork says the album is "barely finished and with a lot of baggage. Its 27 tracks include euphoric highs that lack connective tissue, a data dump of songs searching for a higher calling".

Input analyses Kanye West's career as it was mirrored in his fashion: "Kanye has curated his aesthetic universe to be one of the most recognizable in the music industry. His relationships with music and fashion have not only been symbiotic within his own life, but with the streetwear landscape around him. While the Yeezy label carves Kanye’s imprint within luxury fashion, he uses his merch as a creative playground, transforming each album into collectible garments. The lasting impact of Kanye’s merch has less to do with the artist himself, but more so with the creative ecosystem he creates around each project, and the aesthetic footprint it leaves behind". West's listening event for his still-unreleased album on August 5 proves the point - with 40,000 ticketed guests, it raked in $7 million from merch sales, breaking the record for highest-grossing U.S. tour.

'Dreams Still Inspire' by the Chicago underground rap duo Abstract Mindstate is the first album fully produced by Kanye West that was not his own since Common’s 'Be' in 2005. It is also the first release under West's new YZY SND imprint. Coming out nearly 20 years after the release of their first and only album, 2001’s 'We Paid Let Us In!', and "with lyrics and production that perfectly complement each other, Abstract Mindstate's reunion album is a masterclass in Hip-Hop fundamentals", Hot New Hip-Hop points out.

Kanye West levitated hundreds of feet in the air at the second live-stream of his highly anticipated album, 'Donda', Pitchfork reports. West was shown lying on his back as he was flown on a wire hundreds of feet in the air while his single, "No Child Left Behind" played. About 35,000 West fans witnessed the retooled 'Donda', which sounded more cohesive, with more beats and melodies.

It just a transfer of ones and zeros anyhow
July 29, 2021

Is it possible to release an album an hour after it's been finished?

Last Thursday Kanye West had an album-release party, and the day after his 10th album 'Donda' was to be released. It didn't come out. Vice explores "how quickly could 'Donda' - or any other record, for that matter - actually hit streaming services after it’s finished? The answer depends on who you ask, and who you are".

"Last week, Kanye West hosted a 'Donda' album listening party for 40,000+ fans at the Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Kanye sold 40,000+ tickets for this event on three days' notice. Tickets were $20 or $50. He gave away around 5,000 seats, but still, he likely made at least $1 million from paid tickets. Plus merch sales. Plus the record-breaking Apple Music livestream. And all he did was press play and walk around the stadium. Only a handful of artists can pull this off" - Dan Runcie looks back at the release party of the album that wasn't released.

Kanye West announced his latest album 'Donda' for this weekend, although it wasn't released at the end. He did however throw an album listening party at the Atlanta football stadium, which impressed Music REDEF's Matty Karas: "It *looked* amazing. It wasn't a live performance so there was no stage. And there was no one sitting on the field which was covered in some kind of white material, over which Kanye roamed, in a red puffer jacket and WATCHMEN-like mask, while the album played. He would stand or sit in place for long stretches and then resume roaming, not saying a word, often raising one or both arms as if to give himself an amen. A lone, silent prophet wandering on what you might imagine was a cloud, surrounded by fans but also at a distance from them. It was less-as-more taken to its logical conclusion, and as arresting a music visual as I've seen in a long time".

A pair of prototype Nikes worn by Kanye West during his performances of 'Hey Mama' and 'Stronger' at the Grammy Awards in 2008 has been sold for $1.8 million in a private sale, al Jazeera reports. The sale marks the highest publicly recorded price for a sneaker sale and the first pair of sneakers to top $1 million. The buyer was sneaker investing platform RARES, the leader in fractional ownership, allowing users to invest in sneakers by buying and trading shares in them.

Kanye West's sneaker and apparel business Yeezy, a venture with Adidas AG and Gap Inc., has been valued at $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion by UBS Group AG, according to Bloomberg. An unaudited balance sheet of West finances includes also $122 million in cash and stock and more than $1.7 billion in other assets, including a significant investment in Skims, Kim Kardashian’s underwear label. West’s entire music catalog is worth $110.5 million. In 2015, West said he was $16 million in debt. A year later he said he owed $53 million. By 2018, however, he was earning more than $100 million in royalties through its Adidas relationship. Forbes made its calculations of West's wealth, and those are significantly lower. The Yeezy company that West is the sole owner of is currently worth $1.5 billion by Forbes' estimates, not $3.2 to $4.7 billion like the Bloomberg report implies. The Bloomberg report also mentioned an additional $1.7 billion in personal assets - Forbes thinks that number is closer to $160 million. Forbes estimates his total net worth to about $1.8 billion. 

Fiona Apple / Thundercat / Kaytranada

Apart from the biggest categories, there were some noticeable wins at the Grammys last night. Kaytranada won Best Dance/Electronic Album with 'Bubba', Fiona Apple won Best Rock Performance with 'Shameika' as well as Best Alternative Music Album with 'Fetch the Bolt Cutters', Brittany Howard won Best Rock Song with 'Stay High', The Strokes won Best Rock Album with 'The New Abnormal', Thundercat won Best Progressive R&B Album with 'It Is What It Is', Gillian Welch & David Rawlings won Best Folk Album with 'All The Good Times', Burna Boy won Best Global Music Album with 'Twice As Tall', Body Count won Best Metal Performance with 'Bum-Rush', even Kanye West won, in Best Contemporary Christian Music Album category with 'Jesus is King', tying Jay-Z as the most ever Grammy-awarded among hip-hop artists with 22 awards.

500 performers and 300 backstage workers such as make-up artists and hair-stylists are suing Kanye West for up to $30 million in damages after allegations that he failed to pay up for his Sunday Service shows, The Sun reports. The two class-action lawsuits allege that West broke employment laws at his Hollywood Bowl opera 'Nebuchadnezzar' in November 2019. The allegations are said to include failing to pay hundreds of employees on time, or not at all, as well as not delivering the overtime wages, meal and rest breaks and business expenses to which employees were legally entitled.

Kanye West released a surprise EP 'Emmanuel' performed by Sunday Service on Christmas Day, Rolling Stone reports. The new project, executive produced and composed by West, arrives as a "celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ". It's five tracks of acapella songs in Latin.

The election dropout
November 04, 2020

Kanye West admits election defeat, looks to 2024

Kanye West has admitted defeat in American presidential elections, and has turned his attention to the next election, in 2024, the USA Today reports. West cast his vote in Wyoming, where he penned his own name on a 2020 election ballot. The 43-year-old artist appeared on pre-printed ballots in just 12 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont. West got 60,000 votes across these 12 states, Deadline reports.

In a series of tweets, Kanye West outlined some “new recording and publishing deal guidelines”, demanding for artists to own the copyright for their recordings and songs, and lease them to the label and publisher “for a limited term. 1 year deals”, with those “service provider” partners taking a 20% cut of the income. Also, “every audio file, every asset, every deal stored WITH the money. Money and Music must stay together. When your term ends, download it all. Leave”.

He believes he can fly
September 17, 2020

Kanye West leaks his Universal contracts

Kanye West has uploaded photos of his recording and publishing deals to Twitter, and is demanding to be released from his contracts, Variety reports. "I need every lawyer in the world to look at these," he told his followers, while referring to the music industry as "modern-day slavery". West says he won't release new music until he is released from his deals. PDF document of the contracts - here.

Apart from losing time...
September 05, 2020

Kanye West has spent $6 million on his presidential campaign

Kanye West has spent nearly $6 million since entering the presidential race on July 4th, with him loaning approximately $6.7 million to his campaign between July and August. He’s received eight outside donations totaling $11,500. Most of the money spent has gone to consulting firms who’ve been working to get his name on states’ ballots. He has been kicked off more states’ ballots than he’s actually gotten on - he’s gotten his name on the ballot in just 10 states. In a recent survey, Kanye received just 2% of voters aged 18-34, so it seems his candidacy won't change much for the other candidates, especially since Democratic voters don't have a favorable opinion of him.

"Adidas has allowed the production of a shoe that is named after an archangel in Islam. This is highly offensive to the Muslim community" - a petition, started on Change.org, reads, pushing for new Kanye West shoes be taken off the market, All Hip Hop reports. West has recently dropped sneakers that bear the name of two Islamic angels of judgment and death. The Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Israfil is a shoe Adidas already has on its way to market, and the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Asriel that should be released in September/October. The new petition demands cease of all sales and an apology.

It certainly hurts music
August 07, 2020

Would Kanye West's candidacy really hurt Joe Biden?

It is widely believed that Kanye West's American presidential candidacy serves one purpose - to take potential Joe Biden's votes, black and young ones, and make it easier for Donald Trump to win. Billboard argues it just might not happen like that. African Americans tend not to vote for candidates solely because they are Black, while West’s status with Americans age 18 to 29 is actually more unfavorable than favorable - said David Jackson, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University whose research focuses on the links between young people’s entertainment and political preferences. It’s also possible West could actually draw support away from Trump, since he’s been an outspoken supporter of the president in the past.

Kim Kardashian West has publicly addressed her husband Kanye's mental health issues asking for "compassion and empathy" for her family, All Hip Hop reports. KKW came out publicly following a series of West's erratic statements in recent days. She wrote on Instagram: "As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder", adding that west a "brilliant but complicated person" whose "words sometimes do not align with his intentions". "He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bipolar disorder" Kardashian West said, asking for "compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this."

News from the "bizarre" segment
July 20, 2020

Kanye West starts presidency campaign with chaotic rally

Kanye West has officially launched his campaign for the 2020 US presidential election, with an unorthodox rally in Charleston, South Carolina, ABC reports. West appeared with "2020" shaved into the back of his head and wearing a protective security vest, and addressed the gathered rowdy crowd of a few hundred people without a microphone. He gave an impromptu monologue about 19th century abolitionist Harriet Tubman saying she "never actually freed the slaves, she just had the slaves go work for other white people" (Tubman was rescuing slaves on the network of routes and safe houses known as "underground railroad", risking her own life to lead people to freedom). West also suggested that women should be given $1m when they have a baby. He clarified that he thinks abortion should be legal, but that there should be more support for those who need it. West also said that marijuana "should be free". He also spoke about his private life, his children and his mother... You can watch his rally here.

Zen Mother

Moses Sumney released 'Monumental', his interpretation of 'Olympic Hymn', accompanied by a stunning black and white video starring and directed by Sumney, featuring the musician singing the song on a pedestal like a marble statue come to life; Idles make a slight turn - release s tense psych-ballad 'A Hymn'; free jazz collective Standing On The Corner shared ‘G-E-T-O-U-T!! The Ghetto’ featuring a seven-year-old vocalist Annalise Chanel Renee Williams; Kanye West, again, has a good song - 'Donda', dedicated to his mother; King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard shared a ballad 'Honey'; 'Order' by Zen Mother is just some mighty electro industrial; Helena Deland's 'Lylz' is about the "aching forever-after of female friendship"; Arcade Fire's Will Butler released his new, solo, uplifting song 'Surrender'; Makaya McCraven's 'Strangers in the City' is groovy and tribal jazz.

That last musician in the White House was there ages ago, time for a new one?!
July 08, 2020

Kanye West unveils his political platform - conservative, anti-vaccine, pro-life...

Kanye West talked in lengths with Forbes about his presidential bid - he has chosen a party name, Birthday Party, a slogan, “YES!”, and a vice president - Wyoming preacher Michelle Tidball. His political views are quite conservative - he said vaccines are “the mark of the beast”; he believes family planning is racist - “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work”; he envisions a White House organizational model based on the secret country of Wakanda in 'Black Panther'. NME's Mark Beaumont argues that West's "Presidential bid, by swaying even a small amount of liberal and minority voters away from Biden, might well serve to aid Trump’s re-election chances. You might even wonder if the whole idea for the West 2020 campaign came from POTUS sliding into his DMs to stroke his permanently priapic ego".

Less sunday service, more Kanye
July 01, 2020

Kanye West is back, with a - good song, 'Wash Us in the Blood'

Kanye West has shared a song 'Wash Us in the Blood', mixed by Dr. Dre and features Travis Scott, with video directed by Arthur Jafa. It goes back to West's raw sound, but it keeps the Christian narrative and gospel undertones. The video features plenty of protest footage, and some from West’s Saint Pablo Tour and Sunday Service rehearsals. The new track is set to feature on an album presently titled 'God’s Country'. Vulture has an interesting perspective on the song - "On one level, the song is a return to form and a smoother pairing of West’s newfound faith and existing politics. It’s also motivational boilerplate. But that’s to be expected. The sneaker man does not want you so free that you stop wanting sneakers”.

Kid Cudi has released a teaser of the new CGI animated series 'Kids See Ghosts', based upon his 2018 collaborative album with Kanye West., Complex reports A new trailer features the iconic Kanye West bear, voiced by West himself, and another character, Kid Fox, voiced by Cudi. It's directed by Takashi Murakami, and Cudi promises it's “coming soon.

Kanye West has partnered with Gap to launch a clothing line called Yeezy Gap where the musician will act as creative director, designing “modern, elevated basics for men, women and kids at accessible price points”. According to the New York Times, Yeezy Gap will arrive in stores in the first half of 2021, and Gap hopes the new line will be generating $1 billion in annual sales within five years.

Kanye West has donated $2 million to support the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor - three unarmed African-Americans recently killed by police officers or a former police officer. West also set up a 529 education plan to cover the full college tuition for George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd, All Hip Hop reports. West was also seen joining protestors in the streets of Chicago.

Yet another college dropout billionaire
April 25, 2020

Kanye West is a billionaire now

Based on financial documents reviewed by Forbes, Kanye West’s net worth has recently reached $1.26 billion dollars. It's a tremendous change - less than five years ago, West publicly announced himself to be $53 million in debt. After striking a deal with Adidas to expand his Yeezy apparel brand, his income skyrocketed. Last year alone, West’s Yeezy sneakers sold $1.3 billion, with West himself personally pocketing $140 million in royalties. On the music side, West’s recordings and publishing rights are valued at around $90 million.

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