Listen: Kanye West References Giannis, Lionel Messi on New 'Donda' Album

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2021

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JULY 22: Kanye West is seen at ‘DONDA by Kanye West’ listening event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Universal Music Group)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Universal Music Group

After three listening parties, countless track revisions and an Instagram beef with Drake, Kanye West finally delivered his anticipated Donda album Sunday morning. 

If you're Lionel Messi or Giannis Antetokounmpo—and, hey, if you are, thanks for reading—it was more than worth the wait.

The soccer star and reigning NBA Finals MVP added their names to the massive list of sports references in Ye's discography. Messi shows up on standout track, "Off the Grid," with Kanye rapping: "I talk to God every day that's my bestie / They playing soccer in my backyard, I think I see Messi."

The Giannis bar has been included in every version of the album on the Playboi Carti-assisted "Junya," with the first listening event coming just weeks after the Bucks' NBA championship: "I won with the bucks, boy / Let me Giannis."

The Messi and Giannis mentions are even more notable given they're the only athletes mentioned—a surprise, considering Ye has littered his albums in the past with shoutouts. 

As far as the album as a whole, it is well worth your time and arguably Kanye's best work since 2016's The Life of Pablo. That is, of course, if you can handle the nearly two-hour runtime.