Donda Watch, Day 14: Is Kanye West Finishing His New Album in the Basement of a Football Stadium?

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Dispatch from #DONDAWatch, Day 14: The end, it seems, is near. By all accounts, Kanye West has been holed up deep in the bowels of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, since hosting a listening session for his new album Donda there on July 22. Ye has now presumably spent a fortnight in this room, wandering around the stadium like a futuristic count. He’s been wearing his current uniform—comprising one of the various colorways of his Gap collab puffer and a balaclava-like mask—showing up at a soccer game, and finishing up his tenth studio album. 

But since the early hours of Thursday morning, a soundless livestream has shown the goings-on inside his sparse bedroom-turned-studio. You can tune to watch now via Apple Music, which bills the stream as an opportunity to “Watch Kanye finishing Donda in Atlanta.” That’s translated to: recording, lifting weights, doing push-ups, wearing spiked Balenciaga, and sleeping, more or less in that order. On the wall behind him is a countdown clock, ticking down the minutes until 12:30 a.m. on Friday, August 6.

As evidenced by the footage from his room—giving off East German hotel vibes—Kanye seems to be cultivating a very specific look for this latest album cycle. He seems to be particularly vibing with Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia’s apocalyptic fall 2020 collection—which, chillingly, showed at Paris Fashion Week just days before the coronavirus pandemic shut down Europe last March. Indeed, Gvasalia is set to creative-direct tomorrow’s Donda festivities. And Kanye’s not alone: joining in his pseudo-cell block tango are a host of collaborators, including Chance the Rapper, Lil Yachty, Vic Mensa, and producer Mike Dean, several of whom have matched Ye in sporting custom Donda tactical vests. 

And on Thursday afternoon, we got another glimpse of what Donda might actually sound like, in the form of a new Beats by Dre commercial, starring sprinter Sha’Carri, that features a Ye x Dre team-up called “Glory”:

Plenty more Donda news will surely emanate from the underbelly of Atlanta’s football stadium—check back for more.

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