And Finally Artist News Releases

Kanye hosts listening party for 42,000 fans

By | Published on Friday 23 July 2021

Kanye West listening party at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta

Yeah, so you remember how a week ago you were all like, “There’s no way Kanye West will release a new album any time soon”? Well, days later he announced that he would be. So I bet you feel silly.

You didn’t even predict that he’d stand silently in the centre of a big old sports stadium while 42,000 fans sat and listened to it for the first time. Must be embarrassing to be you right now.

The album – named ‘Donda’ after the rapper’s late mother – was originally supposed to come out in July last year. But then he got all distracted with a label feud, presidential campaign and divorce. And – what with everything that’s gone on in the last year – when the new album never arrived people mostly forgot about it. But then last week Justin Laboy claimed on Twitter that West had played the record to him and that it would be out within days.

It was subsequently confirmed that the album would arrive this Friday – aka today – and that it would be preceded by a public listening event. And as listening events go, it was a pretty memorable one.

Artists often say that sitting in a room with people who are listening to their music for the first time is painfully uncomfortable. Not for Kanye West, apparently. With a sell out crowd filling all the seats in the Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, just one single person stood in the centre of the standing area of the venue: West.

In my head, he played the album holding a ghetto blaster over his head, like John Cusack in ‘Say Anything’. He didn’t, but I’m holding onto that image anyway. He just stood alone and silent for 48 minutes while the record played over the venue’s sound system. Then he silently walked away and everyone went home.

It wasn’t just the more than 40,000 people there to hear the record in person listening in, either. The whole event was also livestreamed on Apple Music.

If you want to watch that livestream now, well, firstly: Why? Second, you can’t, you really did have to be there at the time. But, hey, why not tune in and listen to ‘Donda’ on your favourite streaming service? Well, because it hasn’t actually been made available on any streaming services yet. Is it possible that the only people to ever hear this album will be those in that stadium or on the livestream? Well, this is Kanye, so yes.

Maybe you were right about him not releasing an album any time soon after all. You still didn’t predict the stadium thing though. Idiot.