Updated: Jun 29
Written by: Lucy Widmann
What happens when two of the most influential hip-hop artists release albums almost at the same time? We as listeners have just witnessed the frenzy Kanye and Drake have sent listeners into, locking themselves into the leading topic of conversation amongst the music world. This has become a crucial moment in time, seeing two of the most sought after collaborators and artists push hip-hop into the forefront of discussion in the music industry.
2020. Donda, a 27-track album clocking almost 2 hours, sonically honors a tribute to Kanye’s mother who passed away in 2007. Rewinding back to November of 2020, rumors started to buzz of Kanye releasing an album to follow up his 2019 record Jesus Is King. 💜
Not one to shy away from spilling his own intentions, Kanye shared in April of 2020 that there indeed was an album on the way, but a much different one than what fans were expecting. A genre-shifting album was in the works by Kanye, which had him convinced to start rapping for God instead of the Devil. Fans took this news well, excited for the genre-bending style. Two months later in July of 2020, Kanye revealed on Twitter the album title Donda, confirming that the new album was legit! To make matters even sweeter for fans, Donda was rumored to be released on July 24th. Song titles and cover art were attached to the Twitter post, getting fans hyped about the new album about to drop during the summer month. ☄️
But in true Kanye fashion, it was an almost success, just a second too late. The album never came to fruition, and rather than hearing from Kanye about the reasoning, all fans heard were crickets. It wasn’t until almost a year later in mid-July of 2021 that the reappearance of Donda came into view. Instead of the album finally being released to the public, Kanye revealed a live listening event of the album would be taking place on July 22nd at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Further news from Kanye’s record label, Def Jam Recordings, released the statement that the album would be made public the following day of the listening
event, July 23rd. As you may have suspected, July 23rd flickered by with no album and just the buzz of Kanye performing Donda circulating around the world; rumors also swirled around about the album not being completely finished.
It was then posted on Kanye’s Instagram account that he was living in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in order to have full concentration on finishing the album without distraction. 🤨
On August 5, 2021, the second live show of Donda was performed by Kanye again at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and many reported a positive improvement from the first listening of the album. Notably, those who attended the performance reported it being filled with surprises and strange scenes. It is known that controversial individuals such as DaBaby and Marilyn Manson were spotted at the scene of Kanye’s listening party. Of course, fans also were shocked to see estranged wife Kim Kardashian in the midst of the performance, with Kim walking slowly towards Kanye in a white wedding dress. 👰♀️
Yet, while all the buzz of Kanye was reverberating amongst fans, it couldn’t be hidden that another influential hip-hop artist was rumored to be dropping a new album soon. Long overdue for an album to be released, fans were expectantly waiting for Drake to release a follow up album to Dark Lane Demo Tracks. Drake confirmed the new album's title Certified Lover Boy and originally planned on releasing it in January of 2021. However, when Drake reported he suffered from an unexpected knee injury, his album was pushed back later into the year. 💔
Little information circulated about what Certified Lover Boy was going to sound like, however Drake kept fans excited in anticipation with short promos here and there describing his enthusiasm for people to hear the new album. It wasn’t until the last week of August that fans knew the exact release date of the album. A cryptic message broadcasted on ESPN’s SportsCenter was aired with a faceless figure holding a cardboard sign reading “CLB September 3.” Fans put the message together, believing it had to be the release date of Drake’s new album; to their delight, they were right! A few days later, Drake officially confirmed the September 3rd release date and additionally shared the album cover art. 🎉
Drake's September release linked both of the generational stars together, with these albums coming out a mere five days apart. Kanye took to finally rolling out his album Donda on August 29th, charting 23 of his songs on Billboard Hot 100. Reports of Kanye releasing his album at this very moment because of Drake’s album coming out is speculated, but that did not hold Drake back from
Because both Donda and Certified Lover Boy are so recently released, it’s hard to tell where both albums will finally lie compared to each other on streams and on the Billboard Top 100. But rather than pinning each against each other, both albums have significantly enhanced the broad scope of what hip-hop music can sound like. The perspective of tension pinned against the two artists and their albums can rather be turned into celebration of hip-hop being pushed into the spotlight of music headlines. Kanye’s Donda and Drake’s Certified Lover Boy are creating such a huge buzz in the industry, and the influence that these songs have is truly amazing! Let us know what songs are your favs! 🤘🏼
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