Kanye West is living at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to complete 'Donda' album

A planned Friday release for the rapper's long-awaited new album has been delayed

Kanye West has delayed the release date of new album 'Donda' again. Reuters
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Kanye West has not left the building.

Two days after the acclaimed rapper hosted a listening party for his long-awaited 10th studio album, Donda, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, he was spotted at the same venue, in the same outfit, on Saturday during a football match between Atlanta United and Columbus Crew.

Fans posted pictures of West, with a full face cover, dressed in a puffy red jacket and matching leather trousers, at the match.

West has reportedly made the stadium his home until he finishes the album, and the rapper's team has created a studio space, living quarters and even have a chef to prepare West's meals, according to TMZ.

A representative for the rapper told the Associated Press that West planned to remain inside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium while working to complete Donda.

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta where Kanye West is holed up as he finishes his 10th album 'Donda'. AP

According to Page Six, there’s a suite in the building with an official stadium placard outside the door that reads, 'Donda Studio at Mercedes-Benz Stadium'.

The 22-time Grammy winner had earlier revealed in a commercial, featuring US track star Sha’Carri Richardson, that Donda would be released on Friday. The Beats by Dre advert, scored and directed by West, featured No Child Left Behind, a song from the album.

But there was no album release on Friday, with Donda still a work in progress. Friday, August 6 is the new expected release date, reports TMZ.

The album is named after West's mother, Donda West, who died at the age of 58 following complications after plastic surgery in 2007.

The Thursday listening session at the 71,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium – which was live-streamed on Apple Music – was sold out only two days after West announced the location, with tickets priced at $20 and $50.

Some of the big names who attended the event were Rick Ross, Khloe Kardashian and more notably West's estranged wife Kim Kardashian West, who showed up in a red jumpsuit with their children.

Kardashian West, who filed for divorce from West in February after nearly a decade-long marriage, shared a video from the live-streamed event on her Instagram Stories.

When West began playing No Child Left Behind, he dropped to one knee before he slightly lifted up into a track runner’s stance like Richardson, who will miss the Tokyo Olympics after a positive marijuana test this month. The rapper then stood up and pointed his finger into the air as the words “he’s done miracles on me” were heard in the song.

The crowd appeared surprised to hear Jay-Z rapping on the final song of the listening session. On social media, the track was lauded for Jay-Z’s verse that included the line, “This might be the return of the throne”, a nod towards 2011 album Watch the Throne, which earned a Grammy nomination. Other featured artists include rappers Travis Scott, Pusha T, Lil Baby and the late Pop Smoke.

After the song finished, West made his way toward the end zone area, stared at the crowd for a few moments and calmly walked off the floor as the audience collectively cheered for him.

West, 44, is mostly known as being associated with Chicago, but he was born in Atlanta, where there are no restrictions against large gatherings. He gifted 5,000 tickets to faculty, staff and students from some of Atlanta's historically black colleges and universities.

Donda is a follow-up to his 2019 gospel-themed album Jesus Is King, which won a Grammy for best contemporary Christian album.

This delayed release is part of a pattern. Even Jesus Is King was finally dropped at random after missing several planned release dates. On his acclaimed 2016 album The Life of Pablo, West, a known perfectionist, continued to tweak his work even after it was already officially streaming.

Thursday wasn't the first time West has hosted a listening event for a soon-to-be-released album. He debuted The Life of Pablo during a massive event and fashion show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Several big names who attended the show included Kardashian West, 50 Cent, Lil Kim, Caitlyn Jenner, A$AP Rocky and 2 Chainz.

– Additional reporting by AP and AFP

Updated: August 30, 2021, 6:35 AM