Kanye West held a listening event and live performance at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, to coincide with the release of new album ‘Donda 2’.
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The rapper, now legally known as Ye, announced the performance earlier this month with an image on social media that showed a house on stilts, engulfed in flames. The structure resembled the rapper’s childhood home, a recreation of which heavily featured during his third and final listening party for the original ‘Donda’ last year at Chicago’s Soldier Field stadium.
Fans watching the livestream from the beginning spent the first two hours and 45 minutes watching a continuous, pulsating heartbeat before the event properly began. As signalled, a recreation of Ye’s childhood home took up a large part of the arena, with fires blazing inside of it as the rapper appeared to walk on water.
Fans were played around 45 minutes of music, including both previously-unreleased tracks such as ‘Flowers’ and recent collaborations like ‘Eazy’ with The Game along with Pusha T‘s latest single ‘Diet Coke’, with Pusha appearing onstage alongside Ye as it played.
Harlow’s track opened with a vocal sample of Kamala Harris’ “We did it, Joe” phone call to US President Joe Biden, and saw Ye repeat the lyric: “I just stopped buying Louis bags after Virgil passed,” referencing the late fashion legend Virgil Abloh.
Other notable moments including Ye playing a sample of ex-partner Kim Kardashian’s SNL monologue from October of last year, in which she called him “the best rapper of all time” and the “richest Black man in America”.
Following an appearance from Ye’s Sunday Service Choir, the event moved to a live performance, with the rapper performing multiple songs from ‘Donda’ – including ‘Hurricane’, ‘Off the Grid’ (featuring Fivio Foreign and Playboy Carti) and ‘Jail 2’.
For the latter, Ye was joined by the track’s controversial featured artists: Marilyn Manson, who is facing multiple allegations and lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault, which he has denied, and DaBaby, who faced backlash last year after making homophobic comments during a festival appearance.
West revealed late last week that ‘Donda 2’ would only be available to listen to on his Stem Player device. First released alongside the original ‘Donda’ last year, the device – available for $200 (£150) – allows owners to remix the album’s songs using stems of vocals, drums, bass, samples and more, plus effects and other controls.
Over the weekend, West said he had made over $2.2million (£1.6m) in Stem Player sales in the 24 hours following his announcement it would be the only way to listen to ‘Donda 2’.
“I walked away from Apple right after having the most number 1’s in Apple history. Song Writers have been really hurt by streaming platforms,” Ye said of his decision to release ‘Donda 2’ exclusively through his Stem Player in a since-deleted Instagram post.
“Some say I’m the only one who can make this change. So as the leading innovator in music of the past 20 years. I’m putting my own work on the line to change it. I’ve already won by not being afraid to move. Now we’re winning because there are true supporters that have invested their hard earned money in my vision of freedom.”