Kayne West: Is this his best?

Owen Atseff

More stories from Owen Atseff


Rapper Kanye West’s album release event at Chicago’s Solider Field was more than just a listening party, it was a spectacle. The listening party featured staggering visuals and a preview of his unreleased album “Donda.” However, this experience, while extraordinary, was not flawless.

The listening party for “Donda” took place on Aug. 27. This was the third listening party hosted for Kanye West’s ever-evolving album “Donda.” This gathered over 40,000 fans, which was similar to West’s two previous listening parties in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The listening party was a once in a lifetime experience, with its characteristics being more than memorable. The scale and the visuals of the show outclassed the music, the listening party’s main selling point. These two factors combined to make the ticket well worth its price of $180

The impressive scale of this show was incredible to witness, it was not marketed as a concert despite having a similar production. It had a performance with over 500 dancers, clad in masks and black outfits, and over ten cars all circling the house. The house was a complete recreation of the outside of West’s childhood home and was in the center of the stadium.

The listening party boasted some incredible visuals that were mostly portrayed through live performances. The two most prominent being West lighting himself on fire during the second to last song, in a reported representation of the “old Kanye” being gone. The second was a wedding ceremony that reportedly featured West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian and had West “remarry” her.

Kanye West highlights his relationship with Kim Kardashian at Solider Field. (Owen Atseff)

On top of the visuals, there were a variety of guests to feature on tracks that also appeared during the performance on the porch of West’s recreated childhood home. These guests included musical artists such as Travis Scott, Don Toliver, Westside Gunn, Shenseea and Rooga. They also included the controversial Dababy, currently under fire for homophobic comments and Marilyn Manson, currently under investigation for four sexual assault cases.

The music was a great aspect of the show and did not disappoint as the main attraction. The music had surprising features on most of the songs and an overall great production and beats; it held some of West’s best verses and had a classic Kanye feel.

This said, the performance was not flawless. The sound system often had an overbearing bass that rendered some lyrics inaudible. The inaudibility was a bigger problem due to the circumstances of this being a listening party and the music being previously unheard.

Another disappointment was the lack of specific features such as Kid Cudi, Pusha T and Jay Z. This has been theorized as West’s move on from his past as he has worked with these artists for a long time and has collaborated many times with them. These artists would have been great to hear on the tracks they were rumored to be on.

Another flaw in the show was the runtime. The show was already planned to go late with a start time of 9 p.m., but extending this by starting the performance an hour forty late was a poor move by West. The show also featured a lot of music, with 100+ minutes of music being played and leading the show to go well past midnight.

Overall, the listening party accomplished all of its goals and exceeded expectations in many areas. However, its format could be improved if West or other artists try a similar format to build up the hype for future albums.

Kanye West’s childhood home was recreated on stage at Solider Field. (Owen)