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21 Best Songs on Donda: Kanye’s 2021 Album

Kanye West is one of the best musicians of all time. He released his first album in 2004 and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. In August 2021, West released the album Donda and we bring you some of the best songs on Donda.

Although Kanye West comes with a fair share of drama surrounding his name and brand, his albums repeatedly excel past all expectations. 

His late mother is the title of this particular album. Kanye highly respected and regarded his mother as an influential figure in his life story. Much of the album centers around her and reflects on associated topics. 

Our top picks for the best songs on Donda take into consideration the tracks on Donda Deluxe, an album released later and has additional or longer songs. Keep reading to learn our favorite songs from this epic Kanye album.

“Come to Life”

“Come to Life” is the 22nd track on Donda. In our opinion, “Come to Life” is the best track on Donda, and many fans would agree. On this track, Kanye laments his desire to shift his current life into a better place. It is a song that reflects on regrets for not making better decisions. A positive undertone is found in the later half of the track when West mentions his children as the silver lining of his life and reason for living. Is Come to Life the best song on Donda? We think so!


“Off The Grid”

“Off the Grid” is the 4th track on Donda. This track is faster and more upbeat than our number one pick. “Off the Grid” features famous rappers Playboi Carti and Fivio Foreign for extra depth and character. The lyrics carry religious undertones and confident boastings about the artists and their wealth and accomplishments.


“Moon”

The 13th track on Donda is “Moon.” A calm melody starts the track off as it delves into a conversation on a wish for escapism. The moon in this song refers to a place where you can lose your worries and find genuine peace. This tantalization about escaping to a better reality is a common theme on the album and appears in several tracks on this list.


“Heaven and Hell”

“Heaven and Hell” is the 14th track on Donda. This track depicts life’s dichotomy: a juggling between the good and the bad moments. This song provides explicit commentary from West on his reality as a celebrity and how he handles them. While many people covet fame, West reflects on the positives and negatives of such a rare life experience as his.


“Jail”

“Jail” is the 2nd track on Donda and provides the first song. Jail acts as the foundation for the rest of the album. The rest of Donda builds out from “Jail.” The lyrics tell us where West is at this time in his life: a place of struggle and conflict. The song resembles Kanye’s occasional dip into beats that resemble pop more than his typical heavy-rap sound.

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“Hurricane”

The 5th track on Donda is “Hurricane.” This track features a plethora of religious references, specifically the act of walking on water like the Christian religious figure Jesus. Also, the song is a discourse on finding salvation in oneself. The song features The Weeknd and Lil Baby throughout the track.


“24”

“24” is the 11th track on Donda. Many fans interpret this track as West commemorating the death of beloved celebrity basketball player Kobe Bryant. Kanye uses this tragedy to speak on death in a broad sense throughout the track and display how West struggles with it personally. This discussion of death is also relevant to the whole album, which revolves around the passing of Kanye West’s mother, Donda.


“Jesus Lord”

“Jesus Lord” is the 17th track on Donda. Some people interpret this song almost as a prayer for prosperity and glory in all that West is pursuing. The first part of the song is dedicated to a call for the lost or struggling to find Jesus themselves for relief.

This song contains a lot of religious language choices. It is a crystal-clear display of Kanye West’s devotion to his religious beliefs and associations with modern Christianity.


“No Child Left Behind”

“No Child Left Behind” is the 23rd track on Donda. Much like “Jesus Lord,” “No Child Left Behind” is also highly religious and speaks of the devotion that Kanye’s God has to his followers. He also speaks about what God has done for him personally.

This track’s title refers to the No Child Left Behind Act enacted in 1965. This political commentary seems to be critical of the government’s lack of caring for children, while West has a God that will look out for all that call on him.


“Believe What I Say”

The 10th track on Donda is “Believe What I Say.” While this song is the last one on our list, it is far from the worst Donda song. This track depicts the struggles in relationships.

Specifically, many have assumed that this song refers to Kanye’s relationship with his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. Kanye states that he has given his partner everything, but it is never enough for them. This situation leaves West feeling hopeless and frustrated regarding his relationship.


“Jonah”

“Who’s here when I need a shoulder to lean on?” West asks. He talks about ‘fallen soldiers’, young men in the hood who’ve lost their lives and wonders who’s going to stand up for their lives and stop the violence. 

The track was originally a solo track by Houston singer Vory, who sings about the shooting of his friend Jonah Ware. Vory gave the song to West, who also brought on Lil Durk for the Donda version. Lil Durk speaks about a loss in his own life – that of his older brother Dontay Banks, who was shot and killed. 


“Ok Ok”

West talks about false friends and those who’ve betrayed him in this angry but restrained track. Specifically, he discusses Drake, a one-time friend who he now has a public feud with. “Okay, okay, I’m not okay,” he admits. Lil Yachty and Rooga also contribute verses, calling out the critics and fake friends in their own lives. 

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“Junya”

West is wearing Tokyo fashion designer Junya Watanabe in this track about success and riches. Specifically, he’s wearing Junya on his wrist – which is impressive, as Watanabe hadn’t publically released his watches at the time the track was written. 

West isn’t just wearing high-end clothes though – he’s designing them. He brags about how quickly his Yeezy collection sold out and how much success he’s finding in that aspect of his career as well. He also takes a shot at Drake, whose original release date for Certified Lover Boy was alleged to be the same as that of Donda. “Move out of the way of my release,” he raps.

The main focus of the track is flexing, but West does acknowledge a conflict at the end of the track, as he references his Christian faith. He determines to find his way back to God when he’s done with the song. 


“God Breathed”

West once again speaks about his faith in God in this epic five and a half minute track. Whatever other doubts he may have, West can always be sure in his religion. “I know God breathed on this,” he repeats over an urgent beat. Originally written for 2019’s Jesus Is King, “God Breathed” was cut from the album but found its way onto Donda instead.

West is joined on the first verse of “God Breathed” by Louisville singer Vory. Vory also worked with West on tracks “Jonah” and “No Child Left Behind”.


“Remote Control”

West asserts he is on top of everything, despite how it might appear. In ‘Remote Control’, he claps back at his critics and lets them know that from where he’s sitting, he’s got it all together “like a CEO”. What’s more, he’s certain that God has a larger plan for him and that he also has the whole situation under control. West also brings Young Thug in for a verse, where Thug talks about a woman who can’t see how well he treats her. 


“Donda”

West pays tribute to his mother, Dr Donda West, in this track. The track interpolates extracts of Dr West’s address at Chicago State University, which she gave in October of 2007, just a few weeks before she passed away at the age of 58. Dr West was speaking on the works of poet and writer Gwendolyn Brooks. The hook is sung by Tony Williams, a vocalist at Sunday Services, and The Sunday Service Choir, and reworks lines commonly recited in the Lord’s Prayer. 


“Keep My Spirit Alive”

Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine join West on this self-reflective track that sees each rapper looking back over their lives, failures and blessings. They each speak on how important their faith is to them, maintaining that even if they were to lose all their physical possessions, they would still have their ‘spirit’ – which is to say, their souls and their relationships with their faith. “You can take it all but the Lord on my side,” sings West.

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“New Again”

“New Again” deals with the idea of rebirth and getting a second lease on life. He thanks God directly for the role he’s played in Kanye’s life and asks him to “make me new again”, over and over. He knows that he won’t do everything perfectly from this point forward, but that he’ll always have another second chance. The Sunday Service Choir join West again on this one to sing the grateful chorus. 


“Tell The Vision”

“Tell The Vision” is a reworking of Pop Smoke’s 2021 track of the same name. Released after the rapper’s death, it featured vocals from both West and Push T. West also produced the track. After Pop Smoke’s passing, West still wanted to pay tribute to the late rapper. This version of “Tell The Vision” uses a distorted effect on Pop’s vocals, a nod to the electronic voice phenomenon method of communicating with the dead.


“Lord I Need You”

West reflects on his failed relationship in this tender track. “You’ll always be my favourite prom queen,” he tells ex-wife Kim Kardashian. Although he isn’t happy that the two of them have had to separate, he’s beginning to accept the reality of his new life and he knows that the two of them and their children will be alright. He explores the differences and disconnects between the two and acknowledges that things did turn sour, and perhaps a separation was for the best.


“Pure Souls”

“Pure Souls” marks the first collaboration between Kanye West and Roddy Rich, despite past conflicts on social media. The two rappers reflect on the obstacles they’ve faced throughout their careers and the temptations that have often led them astray. However, despite it all, they’re both still standing. 

Final Thoughts

Donda is an album that fans will remember for years to come. Despite the minimal promotion that Kanye’s publicity team did for the album, it received very impressive praise and is still on people’s playlists.

Donda contains some of the best Kanye songs of all time, and it’ll be hard to top it with his next release. Does your top 21 Donda tracklist look similar to ours? Listen to Donda on Spotify or Apple Music and let us know.

Craving more music-based content from Repeat Replay? Check out some of our other articles, including the 20 best Kanye West songs, 10 best rap songs about money, 10 best songs about lying friends, 21 best songs about men, and the 21 best songs about danger.

Writer

Caitlin Devlin is a music, entertainment and lifestyle writer based in London. When she’s not creating playlists for Repeat Replay, she’s reviewing gigs and interviewing artists for Ticketmaster UK and thinking about what her Spotify Wrapped will look like this year.