Kim Kardashian West made a show-stealing cameo at estranged husband Kanye West’s album launch event, emerging from the audience in a wedding dress months after filing for divorce from the rapper.
West, a notorious perfectionist, has spent weeks putting the finishing touches on the much-delayed Donda, his 10th studio record, which is named after his late mother.
He held a listening party in his hometown of Chicago. It was the third such promotional session the rapper, 44, had held for the album, but the first two came and went without Donda’s arrival.
West built a replica of his childhood home at the Soldier Field stadium, inviting almost 40,000 fans to the venue.
The event, which started almost two hours late, also offered on-site vaccinations and featured a cameo from Kardashian West, who attended with their four children.
She appeared in a Balenciaga wedding gown during No Child Left Behind, the final song of the night.
Kardashian West filed for divorce in February after almost seven years of marriage.
While the previous listening events failed to result in Donda’s release, West’s team insisted before Thursday that it would finally arrive after the party.
After keeping fans waiting in Chicago, the mercurial man of the hour emerged from the replica house to repeated utterings of Donda while a collage of pictures and videos of his mother appeared in black-and-white on a giant screen.
West was accompanied by two musicians who have recently been engulfed in controversy – shock rocker Marilyn Manson, who has denied multiple allegations of sexual assault, and rapper DaBaby, who was criticised for homophobic comments made at a music festival.
The latter apparently replaced Jay-Z on one of the Donda tracks.
The unlikely trio stood on the porch of the replica home, surrounded by a small army of backing dancers in matching masks and dark-coloured uniforms as a cavalcade of SUVs drive around the building.
The album featured contributions from hip hop stars including The Weeknd and Travis Scott, as well as a sample from Lauryn Hill.
Donda has suffered multiple delays after being initially promised a year ago.
West had said it would arrive in July, then spent time living at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, while working on completing the record.
A second event was also held in Atlanta, with no sign of a release.
Donda West was an English professor at Chicago State University who died in 2007 aged 58 following complications from cosmetic surgery.
Her death had a devastating impact on West, who as well as his latest album also named a creative content company after her.
Samples of his mother’s speech feature on the record.
Since West last released an album, 2019’s gospel-inspired Jesus Is King, the Grammy-winning star has kept busy.
He launched a doomed bid to become United States president, was officially classed as a billionaire by Forbes magazine thanks to his Yeezy fashion brand and this week petitioned a court in Los Angeles to legally change his name to Ye.