"LA Monster"
Song by Kanye West
ReleasedMarch 2020 (leak)
Length3:18

"LA Monster" is an unreleased song by American rapper Kanye West. The song was initially intended for West's ninth studio album Jesus Is King (2019) and previewed during listening parties in September and October 2019. West criticized the city of Los Angeles where he lives, saying it is controlled by Satan. The song was leaked online in March 2020 featuring production done by American producer Dr. Dre. "LA Monster" is the second song to leak from Donda, after "Up from the Ashes" leaked online in February 2020.

Background and recording

In August 2019, American rapper Kanye West's wife, American media personality Kim Kardashian, announced that her husband's ninth studio would be titled Jesus Is King.[1] On September 27, 2019, West held a listening party for the album at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.[2] Kardashian shared a track list via Twitter that included the track "LA Monster".[2] On September 29, 2019, the listening party in New York City altered the order of the track list, making "LA Monster" the eighth song played out of ten.[3] During the listening party, West announced the song's title as "Ugliest Nightmare".[4] Jesus Is King was released on October 25, 2019.[5] "LA Monster" was not included on the final cut of the album.[6]

On November 18, 2019, West announced on Twitter that he was working with American recording artist Dr. Dre on a sequel collaborative project Jesus Is King Part II.[7] In March 2020, the reworked "LA Monster" for Jesus Is King Part II leaked online.[8][9] The leaked track was co-produced and mixed by Dr. Dre.[10] Another Jesus Is King Part II track, "Up from the Ashes", had previously leaked online in February 2020.[11]

Composition and lyrics

In "LA Monster", West claims that Satan runs the streets of Los Angeles (skyline pictured).
In "LA Monster", West claims that Satan runs the streets of Los Angeles (skyline pictured).

In the song, West talks about his life and grapples with "the challenges of being in [Los Angeles] and what it can do to you."[6] West, who lives in the suburbs of Los Angeles with Kardashian, raps about the city letting Satan run the streets.[12] West pleads to God to save the people of the city from the "LA Monster", an image of the wild lifestyle of Los Angeles.[9] West criticizes those who claim to be woke, saying that they are sleepwalking and have sold their souls.[13] Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press wrote that "LA Monster" continues the overarching spiritual theme of Jesus Is King by warning "against the temptations of superficial culture."[14]

Critical reception

Gary Graff of Billboard described the song as "prayerful".[2] Elias Leight of Rolling Stone reported on gospel artist Donald Lawrence praising the song's narrative as refreshing.[6] Lawrence compared "LA Monster" to gospel songs that have a vertical relationship with God, stating that West talking about his life was "something praise and worship doesn’t allow you to do."[6]

References

  1. ^ Holmes, Charles (August 29, 2019). "Kim Kardashian Teases Track List for New Kanye West Album 'Jesus Is King'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 14, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Gary Graff (September 27, 2019). "Kanye West Plays 'Jesus Is King' Album for Eager Detroit Crowd Ahead of Release: Inside the Event". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 26, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  3. ^ Samuel Spencer (October 22, 2019). "Kanye West 'Jesus Is King' Album Tracklist, Guest Spots: Everything We Know So Far". Newsweek. Archived from the original on January 19, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  4. ^ Kiana Fitzgerald (October 1, 2019). "'Jesus Is King' Is Kanye West's Attempt To Get Right With God". Vibe. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  5. ^ Leight, Elias (October 25, 2019). "Kanye West Releases 'Jesus Is King,' Capping Hectic Rollout Saga". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 25, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Elias Leight (October 25, 2019). "Can Kanye West Save Gospel Choirs?". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 7, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  7. ^ Orwitz, Edwin (November 18, 2019). "Kanye West and Dr. Dre Announce 'Jesus Is King Part II'". Complex. Archived from the original on November 19, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  8. ^ William E. Ketchum III (March 17, 2020). "Unreleased Kanye West Song "LA Monster" From 'Jesus Is King' Leaks". Vibe. Archived from the original on March 23, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Sasha Star (March 16, 2020). "Kanye West Music Leaking Again, New Song 'LA Monster' Surfaced Online: Reports". Urban Islandz. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  10. ^ Viral MVP (March 17, 2020). "Kanye West – LA Monster (Mixed by Dr. Dre)". OnSmash. Archived from the original on March 23, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  11. ^ R. Gelenidze (February 20, 2020). "LISTEN: Kanye West's "Up From The Ashes," prod by Dr. Dre surfaces online (Full)". Southpawer. Archived from the original on March 31, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  12. ^ "'Jesus Is King' Album: Kanye Warns Of Modern Evils, Says LA 'Run By Satan,' Only Making Gospel Music Here On Out". BroBible. September 29, 2019. Archived from the original on March 23, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  13. ^ Douglas Ernst (September 30, 2019). "Kanye West's 'Jesus Is King' film gets exclusive Imax deal; songs arranged 'in the gospel tradition'". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  14. ^ Brian McCollum (September 27, 2019). "Kanye West plays new album 'Jesus Is King' for fans in Detroit, previews new gospel movie". Detroit Free Press. USA Today. Archived from the original on March 1, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2020.