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Inside Kanye West’s massive third ‘Donda’ listening party in Chicago

REVOLT attended Kanye West’s third listening event for his highly anticipated ‘Donda’ album. Read here to learn of all the dope moments from an insider’s view.

Kanye West Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

There is one question that I truly feel that we all have right now: Are we ever getting Kanye West’s DONDA album? During these mysterious and bizarre times surrounding the icon’s highly anticipated release, fans worldwide have been in a frenzy. After having three listening parties for the album in Las Vegas and Atlanta, Ye brought the experience to the city that made him and the city he calls home — Chicago. This was most definitely one of the best moments for me as a Kanye fan to witness and I feel for the fans that never got the opportunity to be apart of it. Nonetheless, allow me to give a brief synopsis of my experience at the legendary Soldier Field.

So, upon walking up to the stadium, there were thousands of fans kicking it around the stadium. While some were selling merch, others were rushing to get last minute tickets at will call and scheming on ways they can get as close to him as possible (that had a 0% success rate, of course). As I walked to my section, seeing a replica of Kanye’s childhood home built right in the middle of the stadium surrounded by candles and clouds of smoke had already set the tone for me! Actually, besides the smoke machines, there was a ton of weed smoke circulating the entire stadium which I am 100% sure contributed to the ambiance. I was as geeked as anybody else to witness greatness like this. Running into other influencers that came to my city to see Ye was super dope as well.

As the show started, the entire stadium went into an uproar so loud it could be heard from miles away. To kick things off, there were countless individuals wearing all black with black masks marching out in unison, surrounding Kanye’s childhood home followed by a long line of black cars with tinted windows. This happened for about 30-45 minutes as there was a sequence of people - cars - people - cars until the aesthetic of the show was set in stone. Many people speculated Jay-Z being in one of the maybachs driving around, but unfortunately that was not the case.

The energy was there for sure and rightfully so. Although I could barely make out the words to the records playing due to some sound issues, just being in that type of atmosphere was good enough for me. Many surprise guests appeared on the porch of his childhood home including Westside Gunn, DaBaby and Marilyn Manson. Just by standing there with minimal movement, their poise and energy shook the venue even more and without a doubt — you could literally feel the high vibrations circulating all throughout Soldier Field. We all just sat there thinking “this is really happening.”

There was also a time I turned around only to see the living legend Dave Chappelle sitting right behind me in a private suite — feet kicked up, smoking what I assume to be some of Chicago’s finest weed, and talking to some wealthy guys enjoying the show. Maybe I was tripping but he was so low key that I don’t think many people even noticed he was right there but it blew my mind being that close to somebody as iconic as he is! I’m really bothered that I didn’t get a chance to speak with him about the Veruz challenge that Damon Wayans recently proposed, only because I wanted to be the first person on wax that he told that he would smoke Damon’s boots off. I also saw a number of fans pass out from just being there. There were about 13 people I saw being carried out on stretchers throughout the stadium as I’m walking around for my beer runs that resembled dead bodies left and right and I’m just looking like “Wow, this is really part of the Yeezy effect huh?”

It was then where one of the wildest moments of the show occurred — Kanye West being set on fire and walking around like that type of shit is normal! It was crazy. All I heard in the crowd were things along the lines of “WHAT THE FUCK, ” “WOW!” and then some. I even heard people asking “WHO DOES THAT TYPE OF SHIT?” and the answer is Kanye apparently. I’m not even sure what to take from that whole stunt, but it was a special moment for us fans to witness in real time. According to Andrew Barber of Fake Shore Drive, Kanye’s original plan was to set the entire house on fire in the middle of Soldier Field, but the city would not approve it. I could only imagine how lit that would have been to see (see what I did there?)

Oh yeah! One of the biggest moments that turned the crowd all the way up — the DJ played one of Chicago’s hottest anthems “GD anthem.” Although many people that are not from Chicago did not understand what was happening, the Chicagoans all over the stadium stopped what they were doing and got BUSY. You had people at every bar, in every section chanting “THEY DONE LET THE GD’s IN THE DOOR” while throwing up what’s called the “rakes”. — not me, though. I’m not cut from that cloth per say, but I know that Larry Hoover would be so proud of Rooga (if you know, you know).

In my opinion, the standout moment was a woman walking out wearing a wedding dress approaching Kanye — this woman turned out to be his wife, Kim Kardashian. Once the stadium realized what the hell was happening, everyone screamed so loud that I’m sure thousands of people lost their voices from that moment alone. He literally ended the show with a mock wedding amid the divorce headlines and such. This was clearly a sign that they were all good and nothing was going to tear them apart.

All in all, the DONDA listening party was very much so a success — but WE NEED THE ALBUM KANYE! Currently, it has a new release date of September 3rd but we will see when the time comes. This is also the date that Drake is set to release his highly anticipated album Certified Lover Boy and given their history, it is apparent that Kanye is just being petty now. I’m not complaining though! Like Rick Ross said, they are just simply having fun with this music shit and it is all for our pleasure.

In retrospect, Kanye West has completed a mini tour for an album that has not even been released yet. Sold out events in three different cities and each of them were special in their own way — but his Chicago stop was by far the best, no questions asked. He’s the only artist in the history of music to ever do something like this and it is one of the many reasons why Kanye Omari West will forever be goated. The range, the creative genius, the execution, the list goes on and on. One thing for sure, Chicago is very proud to call him one of our own and his late mother, Donda, is very proud of her son.

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