For fans of the artist formerly known as Kanye West, it’s the anticipation that hurts the most.
Announcing the sequel to his Grammy-nominated album Donda only five months after its predecessor, fans continue to hold their breaths for Ye to officially share his LP to the masses. While the stage is set for Ye’s long-awaited Donda 2 performance at Loandepot Park in Miami tonight (Feb. 22), not all fans will get to enjoy the new album.
Amid his Miami listening experience, Donda 2 will not be released or available on any streaming platforms. Instead, it will be exclusively released through his innovative audio device, the Donda Stem Player. The YZY mogul later revealed that he sold over $2.2 million in devices in one day in a now-deleted post, The show is only available to view at select IMAX theaters across 15 cities. There will not be a live stream for the concert, but will be available via stemplayer.com for purchase.
Per his initial announcement, Ye divulged that artists only make “12% of the money the industry makes,” taking another defiant stand against long-standing industry practices and ending his relationship with Apple Music in the process. Ye exclusively released his 2016 album The Life Of Pablo through Tidal — which doubled the then-budding streaming service’s subscriber count — but was later added to all DSPs.
“Donda 2 will only be available on my own platform, the Stem Player. Not on Apple Amazon Spotify or YouTube. Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from this oppressive system. It’s time to take control and build our own. Go to stemplayer.com now to order.”Ye via Instagram
In light of this, Ye purged his Instagram which included posts about Donda 2’s “2/22/22” release. While the album is still not yet available on the Stem Player, it’s expected to release sometime after his Miami show. The device itself is $200 on Ye’s website — a high price to pay for an album exclusive to a sole entity.
Fresh off his appearance on Fivio Foreign’s “City Of Gods” and Pusha T’s new single “Diet Coke,” Donda 2’s inception was a surprise to, well, everyone. Its “2/22/22” release date only happens once in a century, as Ye seemed to be alluding to the magnitude of his 11th studio album. In true Ye fashion, he released the tracklist scribbled out on his notepad Friday morning (Feb. 18), which contained a total of 22 tracks. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this play out before, as Kanye could easily wrap things up or shut it all down ahead of D2’s expected release. Someone has to play devil’s advocate.
Taking over a year to complete the original tribute album to his late-mother, the rate at which Ye had finished its sequel was much quicker than in years past. Since announcing the project, Ye has sworn off his cell phone, but has been quite active on Instagram as of late — posting a slew of now-deleted text conversations and rolling out his documentary “jeen-yuhs” amid his very public divorce with ex-wife Kim Kardashian.
Donda 2 will be executive produced by Freebandz founder and legendary ATL rapper Future, who invited Ye to perform during his Rolling Loud set last year. The Game’s new single “Eazy” initially led in Kanye’s return to the mic.
Still sporting gospel-orientated bars, the “Heaven and Hell” artist seems to have loosened his grip on scripture — taking shots at ex-wife and new boyfriend Pete Davidson in his collaboration with the Compton emcee. The Game is also reported to be working on an “album of the year” of his own, as Ye’s “Eazy” could potentially wind up on both projects.
Initially reported by both Page Six and TMZ, Ye held a listening party for Donda 2 on Feb. 7 at Nobu restaurant in Malibu. The event — which allegedly hosted Travis Scott and later Drake at Nice Guy in West Hollywood — went on throughout the night as French Montana, Baby Keem, Gunna and more were said to have attended. Footage later emerged of Gunna recording a verse inside the restaurant, further confirming the listening party’s existence.
In a text conversation with Moneybagg Yo earlier this month, the album was confirmed to be in the recording process when Ye asked the Memphis superstar to come work on it with him. Ye also recently sat down with Hollywood Unlocked’s Jason Lee, revealing a slew of details about he and Drake’s “Free Larry Hoover Show” in December, living near his children, his headlining sets at Coachella in April and much more.
Ye’s tenth studio album DONDA was a multi-year moment for music. Originally slated to drop in 2020, it took the YZY mogul over a year to materialize the final tracklist and its concept. Debuting at No. 1 on Billboard, selling 327K first-week units and reaching platinum status by the end of 2021, DONDA’s rollout was littered with constant delays and a handful of stadium listening parties.
Here’s hoping we don’t see the same with Donda 2 — praying that it makes its way to DSPs in the very near future.