After more than a year of hype, an unsuccessful presidental run, and a notable divorce, it seems rap legend and purveyor of shoes that look like avant-garde football stadiums, Kanye West, has outdone himself, pulling a stunt so shocking, uncharacteristic, and unexpected that fans have found themselves questioning everything they once thought they knew. In an entirely unprecedented move that is absolutely not similar to the Kanye album roll-outs in, say, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2016, or 2019, the artist did not release his highly-anticipated 10th album, Donda, when he said he would. 

Take a moment and process, reader -- this is truly one of the most shocking music stories of the year. 

On Thursday night, the rapper premiered the new album to a packed crowd of eager fans at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia in a performance best described as quintessentially Kanye. After arriving nearly two hours late to the venue, West, decked out in a monochromatic red outfit complete with the very 2021 accessory of a face mask, didn't utter a single word as he stood on the field, the album playing loudly over the arena's speakers. 

“For much of the night, Mr. West remained relatively still atop a white tarp in the venue, though he also kneeled at times and danced at others," the Wall Street Journal wrote of the affair. Although West's performance was anticlimactic by some accounts, it seems the listening party was an emotional experience for the artist. Named after his late mother, Donda West, the album featured not only a snippet of her voice saying “No matter what, you never abandon your family,” but also a song discussing his heartbreaking split from his now ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. "I’m losing my family / I’m losing my family," West said on the track, allegedly called “Love Unconditionally” as he fell to his knees and appeared to cry. 

Between these heartfelt additions – and a surprise verse on the album's final song from fellow rap legend and West's Watch the Throne collaborator, Jay-Z – fans were eager to hear the passion-fueled work, which was originally scheduled to drop on Friday. Yet instead of appearing at midnight, which as the New York Times noted, is generally when new music first appears on streaming platforms, the album has remained MIA, leaving fans -- including myself, who spent a good 30 minutes this morning opening and re-closing Apple Music in the hopes Donda would magically materialize like the absolute clown that I am – disappointed. 

Although West's representatives didn't respond to the newspaper's request for comment, Kanye fans have been quite vocal about the missing album, taking to social media to express their frustrations …

… joke about the odds of the star saying “f--- it” for another year …

… and in the case of Cracked's Ethan Tyrrell, dunk on the rapper's fanbase for expecting anything else from West. 

Amid all of this controversy, one question remains – who could have seen this coming? All sarcasm aside, the answer, my dear reader, is anyone who has ever heard of West. Throughout his celebrated, decades-long career, almost every one of West's albums have been delayed for a variety of reasons, according to Complex, including leaks, the musician's incredible perfectionism, or my personal favorite, the rapper's evident dedication to restoring wildlife populations. “Ima fix wolves,” West posted on Twitter back in 2016 amid Life of Pablo's delay, referencing the album's 13th track. 

So, folks, here's to Donda – the most anticipated album of 2023!

Top Image: Jason Persse

For more internet nonsense, follow Carly on Instagram @HuntressThompson_ on TikTok as @HuntressThompson_, and on Twitter @TennesAnyone.

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