2/22/22 has come and gone and we’re all hungover from the excitement. As we finally sit back and relax to DONDA 2, let’s take one look back at Kanye West’s palindrome 2/22/22 rollout – the album, the event, and the merch – that rocked the world.
After months of buildup and hype with Kanye dominating the news cycle for several weeks, the fateful 2/22/22 date had arrived with fans hot for the DONDA 2 album, the listening experience, and the merch drop of his Yeezy Gap Balenciaga and the rumored Yeezy Onyx Foam Runners.
The DONDA 2 Experience – Kanye’s live listening event at Miami’s LoanDepot Arena – received both praise and criticism. Kanye performed a feat of historical proportions – his broadcast was only the 2nd IMAX live stream in history.
The star-studded spectacle brought out all of Kanye’s current allies, including Game, Migos, Da Baby, Future, Pusha T, Alicia Keys, Baby Keem, Fivio Foreign, Travis Scott, Jack Harlow, and Playboi Carti. Elon Musk, Rick Ross, and his four kids were spotted backstage.
Fan reception to Kanye’s “performance art” was overwhelmingly positive throughout the almost 3-hour experience – in spite of the minor technical difficulties.
At one point during the performance, Kanye threw his microphone on the ground in frustration with the sound. Instantly, fans started making fun of Kanye’s temperament and his history of publicly firing fumbling team members, posting funny memes like, “Guess who’s getting fired tonight.”
The official rollout began on 2/22/22 when the Yeezy Gap Engineered by the Balenciaga collection began making their rounds online. Kanye posted to his Instagram eight new pieces from the collaboration.
Kanye West had the world on halt when he joined forces with popular clothing retailer Gap last June. The hype of the collaboration rose exponentially more when Ye announced a collaboration with Balenciaga.
As Balenciaga was happening, Kanye was simultaneously turning his DONDA 2 Experience into a popup shop for his new Yeezy Onyx Foam Runners. Fans crowded in to get the first releases and showed them off in pics live from the stadium.
And the shoes are already in massive demand according to the “kicks as currency” trading platform, Tradeblock. “The foam runners are a very polarizing shoe in terms of people’s style preferences, but we’ve seen a lot of collectors adding them to their wishlists on Tradeblock,” CEO, Mbiyimoh Ghogomu tells SOHH. “In fact, there’s more demand than supply on every single colorway, with the Wishlist-to-Closet ratio getting as high as 8:1 on the Cream Clays.”
The fact that the full DONDA 2 album was not delivered on schedule was a setback to this massive multi-prong 2-22-22 rollout event. The delay left many fans upset that Kanye had once again failed to keep his promise.
Kanye originally announced the release in early February, throwing fans into a frenzy of excitement and cynicism. Would he actually release the album on time this time?
Many fans were doubtful that DONDA 2 would actually be released, reflecting on his past release delays – DONDA came out more than a year behind schedule, The Life of Pablo was almost two years late and Graduation was released almost one year after the announced release date.
Disgruntled Kanye fans scoffed at the announcement on social media. One user said, “I can’t wait to hear this in July.” Another said that he believes the release would indeed be coming in February…2024.
Kanye would spend the next several weeks after the announcement doing everything but promoting DONDA 2 – dripping out just enough to whet the dry lips of his parched fans in the form of an Alicia Keys, Fivio Foreign assisted anthem, City Of Gods – until he made a blockbuster announcement that he is bypassing the streaming giant strongholds and exclusively releasing “DONDA 2” on his wholly-owned Stem Player. On the day of the announcement, Kanye made almost $2 million on pre-sales in less than 24 hours.
Time is relative to Kanye West, who walked onto the Listening Experience stage even as fans complained about not having the album in their possession, sharing tweets like ”DONDE esta #DONDA 2.” Another noted, “It’s 22:22 ind ye still hasn’t dropped #DONDA2, how many more 2s need to be aligned so ye can drop yo!”
At some point on DONDA 2 Day, loyal fans who bought the stem player got four exclusive songs before anyone else. (Those who didn’t get theirs from stemplayer.com trolled the internet for rips.)
Was the album released on 2/22/22? With Kanye in complete control of the distribution platform and all the frenzy of Kanye’s palindrome activities, the only one who knows is the undeniable king of all media, Kanye West. And he’ll tell us when and if he’s good and ready.