Ye, commonly known as Kanye West, played his newest album, “Donda 2,” on Feb. 22 at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida which was live-streamed at select IMAX theaters in an event called “Donda Experience Performance 2.22.2022.”
With controversy surrounding the artist after his public divorce with reality star and businesswoman Kim Kardashian and his feud with Kardashian’s current boyfriend comedian Pete Davidson, many were anxious to see what was going to happen, including Montclair State University students who attended the IMAX screening in Paramus, New Jersey.
Nicholas Vidal, a freshman visual communication design major, and Myles Haywood, a freshman filmmaking major, thought it was a must-see production.
“I felt it was like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Vidal said. “I saw this experience with a whole bunch of [Ye] fans in a movie theater, in IMAX.”
Haywood added that he was curious about how the event was going to go.
“With everything going on [with Ye], I thought it would be interesting to see the ‘Donda 2’ listening party,” Haywood said.
After entering the IMAX Theater at the AMC Garden State Plaza 16 and hearing the roar of Ye fans in the audience, they were ready. But they had to wait approximately two hours. The sound of a heartbeat surrounded the screening room while the masses were on standby for the rapper to pop up.
Vidal was not expecting the long wait time.
“I thought maybe the start time would be different, but I was wrong,” Vidal said. “[Ye] is [Ye]. It took him forever to start the event. He was, like, two hours late.”
The two hours passed. The performance began and the crowd was in “awe” — Haywood included.
“It was the sound, sharing it with friends, seeing it on the big screen,” Haywood said. “It was everything that a theater is, and I was happy to be able to experience it in IMAX rather than watching it in my dorm room.”
Everything was going great as the fans listened to new material from one of the most renowned artists of the last decade.
However, things went south when he started singing old material from his previous album, “Donda,” and artists like Playboi Carti, Fivio Foreign, Alicia Keys, DaBaby and Marilyn Manson joined him with apparent audio problems around the production.
“It was a little annoying to see that happen,” Vidal said. “Maybe he should have stuck with ‘Donda 2.'”
Haywood argued the sound issues in the performance were handled professionally.
“It’s unfortunate, and as a person who has worked backstage, I can tell how stressed everybody was,” Haywood said. “They put so much work into something, and the day of the event, something happens like the mic going out.”
An ever-changing album, “Donda 2” represents Ye going through arduous situations. Songs like “Get Lost,” “Sci-Fi” and “Broken Road” explore heartbreaks and the struggle to see a loved one with another person.
We also see the Chicago-native paying homage to two well-known men in the art world. One of them being the late Virgil Abloh, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, in the song “Louie Bags,” and the other was rapper XXXTENTACION who was featured in “True Love” and “Selfish.”
The question stands: is “Donda 2” a good Ye album?
Vidal says yes but hopes for change soon.
“I believe it is okay,” Vidal said. “There are specific songs that need work. Some are close to being done.”
Haywood feels similarly.
“I think [it] is a good album for [Ye] fans, but I would not add it to my playlist because I’m not in tune with the hip hop genre,” Haywood said. “I’m more into R&B.”
“Donda 2” is available exclusively on the Stem Player after Ye said in his social media that streaming services only give 12% of the money the music industry makes to artists.