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Kanye West is releasing a new album tonight (we think). Will ‘DONDA’ be safe for families?

Kanye West is reportedly releasing a new album Friday. But will it be as family-friendly as ‘Jesus Is King’?

Kanye West, white sweater, bows his head in prayer during his “Sunday Service” at The Gateway in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Thousands packed into the outdoor mall, causing people to stand on and climb up anything they could find to catch a glimpse of West.
Kanye West, white sweater, bows his head in prayer during his “Sunday Service” at The Gateway in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Thousands packed into the outdoor mall, causing people to stand on and climb up anything they could find to catch a glimpse of West.
Colter Peterson, Deseret News

Kanye West is slated to release a new album Friday night. We don’t know much about it. But the question must be raised — will Kanye West’s new album be safe for believers and families to listen to?

Frankly, we don’t know enough about the album. West also has a history of teasing album releases before holding off due to creative changes. But let’s talk about what we know and what we don’t know to see whether you’re safe to listen to this new album.

What we know so far:

West’s new album will be titled “DONDA,” which is a reference to his mother, Donda West.

“Donda: With Child” — a movie — will also be released alongside the album.

The album will have a solid connection to his mother. Based on the track list West shared on social media, the album will include a song called “Donda,” which will include audio of West’s late mother, who performs part of KRS-One’s song “Sound of Da Police.” So there’s automatically some family ties that hint the album won’t be as dark as previous ones.

The album’s track list does not include the song “Wash Us in the Blood,” a song West released with Travis Scott. The song featured references to “drugs” and “thugs,” but it did not include any swears and curse words.

According to Pitchfork, the album will feature a song called “New Body,” which was supposed to appear on “Jesus Is King.” Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign had verses on it. But the song was cut due to creative differences. The song “disparaged body shaming and crudely discussed explicit sexual intercourse,” per Genius.com. The latest version eliminated all curse words, which may be why Minaj’s verse was cut.

What happened on ‘Jesus is King’:

West made headlines ahead of the release of his last album — “Jesus Is King” — because he didn’t include any swears on the album. Instead, the album had a gospel focus with plenty of faithful moments.

For example, he had a song called “Closed on Sunday,” with the lyrics: “Closed on Sunday/You my Chick-fil-A/You’re my number one/with the lemonade.” However, the song was about his family rather than the Christian business. West also asked on the song to raise his sons in faith and to avoid temptation at any cost, as I wrote about for Deseret.com. But when he’s making comparisons to Chick-fil-A, it almost seems made for headlines rather than genuine inspiration.

On the song “On God,” he talks about his earlier lifestyle and how it made him into a man of faith. “When I thought the Book of Job was a job/The Devil had my soul, I can’t lie.” It’s about his old life — the temptations he experienced before he found Christianity and God.

I wrote at the time, “The album does encourage you to think about your own faith. It encourages you to look up, look inside and wonder how you spend your days on this planet. No matter your faith, it’ll make you question how religion affects you.”

The verdict:

We really don’t know what West’s new album will sound like, or whether it will follow the “Jesus Is King” model and be about faith, God and love, or if it will follow the path of his previous albums with verses on partying, open relationships and the lifestyle of a celebrity. We also don’t know to what extent the album will include curse words.

The easiest way to determine if it’s for you or not may be to review the album’s track list when it arrives on a streaming service. An “explicit” tag on the songs should indicate whether the album is full of the cruses and crude language or not.