Rap artist and entrepreneur Kanye West. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

By Reginald L. Allen II
Special to the AFRO

Rap artist and entrepreneur Kanye West’s 10th studio album ‘Donda’ raised the bar for music streaming in 2021 with over 94 million streams globally on Spotify within the first week. The long-awaited album release was surrounded by controversy involving other artists and mixed reviews from fans. 

The 27-track album garnered a massive 80,000 fans for a listening party leading up to the release in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The album features Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir and several rappers such as Jay-Z, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty and posthumous work from New York City’s Pop Smoke. 

However, Chris Brown and Soulja Boy have been vocal on social media about their removal from the album. Soulja Boy told TMZ that Kanye is a “coward,” and “time waster” for removing his work from the song, “Remote Control.”

Soulja Boy said, “I don’t know how to feel, Kanye sent me that song ‘remote control’ and I don’t hear my verse on it.” The song ‘Remote Control’ officially features hip-hop artist Young Thug.

Though Soulja Boy is not featured on the album, he posted his verse on Instagram with the caption: “here’s my ‘remote control’ verse. f*** kanye. #donda.” He expressed frustration in Kanye’s decisions, but he expressed that he is still open to working with him.

Chris Brown, a 32-year old R&B singer, also took to Instagram to voice his frustration. “Kanye a whole h**.” This is in reaction to Kanye removing Brown from the song, “New Again.” Brown is credited for the music on Genius as a performer and co-writer, but is not heard in the official album.

In defense, Kanye stated on social media that Universal Music Group released the album prematurely. “Universal put my album out without my approval and they blocked ‘Jail 2’ from being on the album,” said West.

Representatives from Universal later called the allegations “preposterous.”

The success of the album is evident in it setting a 2021 record on Apple Music record with over 60 million streams in the U.S., but the reviews from fans are mixed.

Ruben Gresham, a junior business major from Towson University said, “It’s a good album definitely, but it is out of the box. That’s about what I expect from .”

Some Kanye fans and hip hop/R&B listeners showed their disapproval of the album. Tyree J., a podcaster, social media influencer, and student at Towson University, stated he stopped listening after the first song.

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