Donda 2: release date, what is a Stem Player, will Kanye West album be on Amazon or YouTube - and guests

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Ye will release his album on Stem Player, a new device that allows listeners to remix music on the go

Kanye West says his new album Donda 2 will only be available exclusively on his own platform, the Stem Player.

The US rapper said it was time to “free music from this oppressive system”, citing the small cuts made by artists for their work.

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West’s latest announcement on social media comes after the release of the first part of a Netflix documentary about his life Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, which featured clips of his late mother.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

When is Donda 2 released?

Donda 2 is expected to be released later this month on 22 February - but whether it does actually release then remains to be seen, and the saga of West’s first Donda record was an entertaining one.

The notorious perfectionist spent weeks putting the finishing touches on the much-delayed album, which was originally set for a 2020 release but failed to materialise for over a year.

Things looked more certain when the album received a 23 July 2021 release date.

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West even held a “global premiere” event at a sold-out Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, which was live-streamed globally by Apple.

But it took over a month for the album to actually see the light of day - during which time West held two more stadium “listening parties” - and even then, the rapper claimed it had been released without his consent.

So whether Donda 2 does actually make it to fans’ ears on 22 February... well, we wouldn’t hold our breath.

Kanye West has said that he won’t perform at Coachella unless Billie Eilish apologises to Travis Scott (Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)Kanye West has said that he won’t perform at Coachella unless Billie Eilish apologises to Travis Scott (Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)
Kanye West has said that he won’t perform at Coachella unless Billie Eilish apologises to Travis Scott (Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Like his previous record, Donda 2 will once again be named after the rapper’s late mother, an English professor at Chicago State University who died in 2007 aged 58 following complications from cosmetic surgery.

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Her death had a devastating impact on West, who as well as his latest album also named a creative content company after her.

Where will I be able to stream it?

The album will not be featured on streaming sites including Apple, Amazon, Spotify, or YouTube, West has said.

Sharing a video on Instagram, which appeared to show music playing on a Stem Player, West wrote: “Donda 2 will only be available on my own platform, the Stem Player.

“Not on Apple Amazon Spotify or YouTube.”

What is a Stem Player?

Stem Player isn’t actually a streaming platform. Instead, it’s a small device that allows users to split songs into “stems”, according to its website.

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The small disc-shaped device can control vocals, drums, and bass as well as isolating track parts and adding effects.

West has said he has decided to eschew the usual streaming names in an effort to “free” his music from an “oppressive system”.

“Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from this oppressive system,” he said. “It’s time to take control and build our own. Go to now to order.”

Stem Players retail online for £200.

Who will guest on it?

The guest appearances on the first Donda record were a subject of speculation for weeks.

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In the end, a bulging list of stars was overshadowed by the inclusion of two names who had both been engulfed in controversy – shock rocker Marilyn Manson, who denied multiple allegations of sexual assault last year, and rapper DaBaby, who was criticised for homophobic comments made at a music festival.

While nothing has been confirmed for the upcoming album, same names rumoured to appear on it include rappers with ASAP Rocky, The Game, Pusha T, and Blueface, and football player Antonio Brown.

One person who might not be appearing is regular collaborator Cudi.

West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, recently split up with his wife, Kim Kardashian, who filed for divorce from him last year.

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Kardashian has gone on to start a relationship with SNL star Pete Davidson, much to the chagrin of West, who in recent weeks has issued a series of erratic Instagram posts directed at the comedian.

One of those posts said Cudi would not appear on Donda due to his friendship with Davidson.

West posted a handwritten note sharing the news with his fans. “Just so everyone knows Cudi will not be on Donda because he’s friends with you know who,” it read.

“You know who” appeared to refer to Davidson.

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