ATLANTA – A man who is rarely at a loss for words, Kanye West didn’t even have a microphone.
The premiere of his new album, “Donda, “ In front of a packed crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium here Thursday night, the rapper, who has become known as much for his failed presidential election and impending divorce as for his music, chose to say nothing.
Dressed in a red jacket with matching pants, West strolled over a white tarp, delivering oversized gestures and dance steps to his new music for less than an hour before leaving. It was a decidedly different tone from his previous public listening sessions, including the one he held in 2016 at Madison Square Garden before the release of “The Life of Pablo. ” For much of the night, West stood in the center of the stadium’s football field, in the middle of a searchlight, surrounded by fog. When he walked around the room, he spent a good part of his time in front of the section where his four children sat with Kim Kardashian, North, Saint, Psalm and Chicago. Despite the fact that she filed for divorce from West, Kardashian and her sister Khloe were also present.
‘Donda,’ West’s 10th studio album, was due out by GOOD Music / Def Jam Recordings on Friday, but it didn’t appear at midnight, as new music typically hits streaming services, and still hasn’t. surfaced. Representatives for West did not respond to requests for comment on the album’s release plan.
The album, his first since “Jesus Is King” of 2019, “ was named in honor of the rapper’s late mother, Donda West, who began her career as a professor at Morris Brown College in Atlanta in the 1970s. Kanye West was born in the city around this time, though that the family will eventually move to Chicago. Her mother died in 2007 from complications from plastic surgery. Presumably in honor of his ties to Atlanta, West gifted 5,000 tickets to Thursday’s listening session to faculty and students at the city’s historically black colleges and universities, including Morris Brown, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse and Spelman.