Say what you will about Kanye West, but the dude has an undeniable knack for pleasing, baffling and angering his fanbase in equal doses with just about everything he does. The impending release of his next album, Donda, is the latest (literally) inflammatory example, as Ye's latest listening party, held in Chicago's Soldier Field, was a truly bonkers exhibition in self-expression. The event featured soon-to-be-ex-wife Kim Kardashian taking the "stage" in a wedding dress, the questionable appearances of controversy-courting musicians Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, and West himself coming out fully engulfed in flames. I guess the only thing missing was a big Drake piñata.
Arguably the biggest news coming out of Kanye West's latest Donda listening party is the fact that Donda didn't drop after the event, which was a rumor that tons of fans had eagerly latched onto, with the assumption that it was the perfect time for a surprise release. Still, that was almost expected, considering the previous delays that have kept the album out of fans' ears. And while it wasn't a totally out-there notion for Kim Kardashian to be in attendance, since that was the case previously, I can't imagine many people expected her to close out the show by appearing outside the recreation of West's childhood home in a white wedding dress for a callback to their wedding.
That's right. Despite being on the brink of divorce — after which she aims to retain the last name West — Kim Kardashian popped up during the event's final song, "No Child Left Behind," to support the father of her children in such an emotionally bizarre way. (And all while rocking out a pretty stunning Balenciaga Couture dress, according to TMZ.) Just because she was present, however, doesn't mean anything has changed regarding their marriage. This was reportedly just Kardashian's way of helping out West's professional career, which she's always said she would continue doing despite the divorce.
Another highly conversation-worthy addition to Kanye West's latest Donda performance was the on-porch inclusion of Marilyn Manson. The hard-rocker has spent much of 2021 sidestepping landmines after Evan Rachel Wood formally accused him of physical and emotional abuse, which sparked a host of other women to come forward with their own allegations of sexual assault, rape and more. Not that West has ever made a point of only hanging out with squeaky-clean artists, but a lot of people were still very confused by Manson's front-line presence during the show.
That said, at least Kanye West didn't shoehorn Marilyn Manson into the evening's events. The same could not be said for rapper DaBaby, who was the subject of a slew of negative tweets after he not only appeared on the house set, but also performed a verse for the title track "Donda." Even outside of his own recent controversy regarding offensive homophobic comments made on stage and beyond, DaBaby's appearance inspired tons of negative tweets from fans who inferred that it meant Jay-Z's previously heard verse on the track had been removed. That wasn't confirmed in any way, but the simple thought was enough.
And hey, what's a big live listening party without somebody setting themselves on fire and walking around as a giant flameball?
The tweet above does a little between-the-lines reading by inferring that Kanye West's flame-suit was in reference to a supposed diss from Drake's verse in Trippie Redd's latest track, "Betrayal." Regardless of the reasoning, though, it was still pretty badass.
For now, Donda is reportedly set to release on September 3, the same day that Drake is dropping his new album, but there's a very good chance West will delay the album's release yet again. Good thing there's a ton of Fall TV to catch up on while waiting, right?
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.