Kanye West Claims Universal Released Donda Album Without His Permission

After Kanye West's new album Donda dropped, the rapper stated on social media that he hadn't yet granted approval to his record label to release it.

By Ryan Gajewski Aug 30, 2021 2:12 PMTags
Watch: Kim Kardashian "Blindsided" by Kanye West's Guests at "Donda" Event

Kanye West says he wasn't yet ready to release Donda into the world.

The 44-year-old rapper's long-awaited new album dropped on Sunday, Aug. 29, leading to plenty of enthusiastic response on social media. But one person who didn't appear pleased by the release was Kanye himself, who posted to Instagram later that day that his music label, Universal Music Group, didn't get his approval before making the album available for purchase. 

"Universal put my album out without my approval and they blocked jail 2 from being on the album," Kanye wrote.

His message references the song "Jail pt 2," which was not initially available when Donda initially dropped but is now included on it. The song features contributions by Marilyn Manson and DaBaby, who both attended the most recent Donda listening party.

E! News has reached out to Universal Music Group for comment and has not heard back. Meanwhile, Variety quoted a source from Universal who said Kanye's accusation was "preposterous."

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Kim Kardashian & Kanye West: Romance Rewind

Earlier on Aug. 29, Kanye posted text messages to his Instagram Story that appeared to show his manager telling him that DaBaby's team hadn't yet cleared the song, according to Complex. DaBaby's manager, Arnold Taylor, later posted on Instagram that he never received a call from Kanye's side, and he dismissed any notion that he didn't want to clear the song as "social media bulls--t."

Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company

Multiple sources previously told E! News that Kim Kardashian, who participated in the Donda event on Aug. 26, was caught off guard to learn that Marilyn and DaBaby were involved in her ex's project. 

Marilyn faces multiple allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct, which he has denied. As for DaBaby, the rapper sparked backlash over homophobic remarks he made at a Miami event over the summer, for which he has since apologized. 

Keeping scrolling for our full analysis of Donda's many references to Kim, who filed for divorce from Kanye in February.

"Hurricane": "Ask Kim"

On the track, Kanye raps, "Heated by the rumors, read into it too much / Fiendin' for some true love, ask Kim, 'What do you love?' / Hard to find what the truth is, but the truth was that the truth suck / Always seem to do stuff, but this time it was too much."

"Hurricane": "New Chick":

Kanye also raps, "Here I go actin' too rich, here I go with a new chick." While he does not name the mystery woman, the album was released more than two months after the rapper was spotted vacationing with supermodel Irina Shayk. The two cooled things off after a couple of months.

A source close to her told E! News, "It was never serious. [Kanye] wanted to pursue something with Irina that wasn't going to happen. He got very busy with work, and they were in different places. It kind of fizzled out from there. They are still friendly and there's a lot of mutual respect. It just was never going to turn into a full-blown relationship."

"Hurricane": "Never Went Home"

Also on "Hurricane," Kanye references the Southern California home he and Kim bought in 2014 and later renovated to feature a mostly white interior. Architectural Digest featured it in a 2020 issue, alongside an interview with the duo.

"Architectural Digest, but I needed home improvement," Kanye raps. "Sixty-million-dollar home, never went home to it."

In 2019, Kanye purchased a $14 million ranch in Wyoming. He later spent much time there. In January, a month before Kim filed for divorcea source told E! News that it had gotten to the point where the pair hadn't spent time together as a married couple in months, adding, "They've seen each other for the sake of the kids but have been living separately. Kim knows the marriage is over. She's known for a while." 

"Off the Grid": "Had to Move Away"

"Off the Grid" includes the lyrics, "Had to move away from people that's miserable" and "We off the grid, grid, grid / This for my kid, kid, kid, kid / For when my kid, kid, kids have kids / Everything we did for the crib." 

"Off the Grid": "Fell in Love With Me"

On this track, Kanye raps, "I pray that my family they never resent me / And she fell in love with me as soon she met me."

"Come to Life:" North West Shout-Out

On the track, Kanye sings, "Brought a gift to Northie, all she want was Nikes."

"Lord I Need You": "Give Me a Ring"

"When you said give me a ring, you really meant a ring, huh?" Kanye raps. "Turned out to be more than just a fling, huh?"

The song also contains the lyrics "You know you'll always be my favorite prom queen."

"Lord I Need You:" A Gesture of Love

On the track, Kanye raps, "But you came here to show that you still in love with me."

"Lord I Need You:" "Baby Mama" Drama

"Cussin' at your baby mama," Kanye raps. "Guess that's why they call it custody."

He and Kim have yet to finalize their divorce. Both are seeking joint custody of their kids.

"Lord I Need You": "Freedom"

On the song, Kanye alludes to a relationship break or breakup. The track includes the lyrics, "Startin' to feel like you ain't been happy for me lately, darlin' / 'Member when you used to come around and serenade me, woah / But I guess it's gone different in a different direction lately / Tryna do the right thing with the freedom that you gave me."

"Jail": "Single Life"

On "Jail," Kanye sings, "Guess who's getting 'exed? / You made a choice that's your bad, single life ain't so bad."

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