Ye’s “Donda 2 (V2.22.22 Miami)”: Watching A House Burn Down

Damian Martin, Contributor

When you bring up the name “Kanye West” in a discussion, you are bound to hear a plethora of contrasting opinions.

As he now goes by, Ye, the 44-year-old Chicago native, is a versatile musician, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and jack of all trades. He has always been a prolific yet controversial figure in whatever market he’s experimenting with, but not without him creating chaos.

Being first announced on the final days of January and executively produced by Atlanta’s trap icon Future, “Donda 2”, or “V2.22.22 Miami” (the album’s premiere date and location), is the latest experiment from Ye, being his eleventh studio album, and the hyped-up sequel to his previous release “Donda,” which came out last August.

Leading up to its release, Ye went on a series of circus-like rants targeted at his now ex-wife, model Kim Kardashian, and her new boyfriend, comedian Pete Davidson, refusing to accept the divorce and threatening Davidson.

Both albums were presented to live audiences before they were released. During the “Donda 2” performance, technical difficulties on stage frustrated Ye, leading him to throw his microphone straight into the watery stage beneath him. Everything about the event felt out of place, leaving attendees curious about the album’s completion. Despite the disastrous first listening party, there were no follow-ups like the first “Donda” had.

In a shocking twist, before the listening event, Ye announced on Instagram that, “Donda 2 will only be available on my own platform, the Stem Player.” The Stem Player is a $200 device that allows you to customize tracks through stems or individual track recordings. This decision left people both furious and in awe of Ye’s “innovative mind,” as many flocked to buy a Stem Player or chose to pirate the album after its release.

A day after the listening party, the Stem Player’s website featured four tracks, titled “Security,” “Pablo,” “Broken Road,” and “We Did It, Kid.” The remaining 12 of “Donda 2” were added later that day.

Currently, the official version of “Donda 2” is the same unfinished mess Ye showcased in Miami, but it does have some highlights. One of these is the features. Artists featured on the first “Donda,” like Baby Keem, Don Toliver, Vory, and Travis Scott, made it back onto another Ye project. Newcomers include Migos, Jack Harlow, Soulja Boy, and even the late XXXTentacion, just to name a few. They all delivered, especially Kentucky’s favorite rapper, Jack Harlow, on the track “Louie Bags.” His verse was one of the more enjoyable moments.

The production isn’t terrible, but a total downgrade from “Donda.” It’s another one of Ye’s attempts at making trap, but even more, watered down than previous efforts. It does not help when he is barely delivering on his tracks, lyrically speaking. Everybody knows he can rap incredibly well, but for a majority of the album, he uncomfortably vents about his divorce, drops repetitive and uninteresting bars, and when he’s not doing that, he’s rambling about nonsense. Some of the lyrics still shine with greatness, but they are easily forgettable as his irritating ranting surrounds them.

I’ve been following Ye ever since I first heard 2007’s “Graduation,” and I can say I’m a fan of most of his work. He undeniably has the talent and skill to craft a fantastic and conceptual album. His catalog and accolades speak for themselves. I can also say watching the continuation of his legacy right now is like watching a house burn down. On “Donda 2” and his recent social media presence, it’s apparent that his ego has consumed him once again. Instead of using it to his advantage as he had done in the past, the self-proclaimed “genius” continuously fails to meet expectations and deliver something truly remarkable. Writing an in-depth review on an album that lacks depth and is unfinished is borderline impossible.

No matter what Ye does, there will be an audience ready to praise or bash him. People continue to give him attention and put him in the spotlight, just like we glue our eyes to a burning house. The exact reason behind this is unknown, but I can say it is fascinating to see what comes next.