kanye west no child left behind donda

Kanye West – Jonah Ft. Lil Durk & Vory | Lyrics Meaning Explained

“Jonah” is the seventh track on Kanye West’s 2021 album ‘DONDA.’ The song features vocals by Lil Durk and Vory. This marks the first collaboration between these artists with Kanye. In the song, the three artists touch on topics such as losing their loved ones, coping with death and loneliness, and seeing the light through His grace.

Donda’ is Kanye West’s tenth studio album released on August 29, 2021, after being teased and delayed multiple times. Kanye West held two listening parties for the album at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta leading up to the album release, and the third party in Chicago. This track was played at the second listening party.

The song “Jonah” also has an alternate title “Shoulder to Lean On,” as the artists sing about finding solace among each other who has been through similar experiences.

Listen to “Jonah” by Kanye West Ft. Lil Durk & Vory

Kanye West “Jonah” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review


Vory handles the hook of the song. He sings that we all need a shoulder to lean on at some point in our lives. We all have our own demons that we fight on a daily basis. But nobody has to go through this alone. And we should be there for someone in need of a shoulder to lean on.

Verse 1

Vory starts the first verse by bringing in a situation when he would need a friend to fall on to. He talks about gang wars that have been commonplace in the streets. He gets a message that some people have shot up some fellow brothers for god-knows-why. Usually, these problems stem from money and escalate with money. These problems seem to be embedded into our society today.

Vory says that these people ask him why he is not seen in the streets lately, hustling. Vory says he found the better way to make a living–music. Granted this option is not available for everyone. But there could be a better way for everyone without resorting to killing each other, which accomplishes nothing.

Way too many fallen soldiers, no, I can’t forgot
Hope they got headphones up in Heaven

Vory recalls countless of his friends who have fallen in the streets trying to make ends meet. He knows he cannot change anything for them now. His only wish is that they can hear his music and his messages for them in heaven.

Verse 2

Lil Durk starts off his verse by shouting out Kanye West and Jay-Z who are at the top of wealth and fame at this point. However, Lil Durk takes a moment to remember the people who were not so fortunate, for example, his brother. On June 6, 2021, Lil Durk’s brother DThang was shot and killed outside Harvey club. DThang was also an upcoming artist in the hip-hop scene.

Lil Durk also remembers artist King Von who was shot and killed in November 2020 in Atlanta. He says he will take care of Von’s children for him. King Von was just 26-years-old when he passed away and was one of the best friends of Lil Durk.

Lil Durk seems to confirm his association with the street gang known as ‘Crips,’ one of the largest and most violent gangs in the US. However, he says he can still be the cleanest millionaire, alluding to the fact that his money comes from his music and not from his criminal associations.

Durk ends his verse by shouting out Kanye for what he has done for Chicago; “Kanye did it for the city, he co-signed.” Kanye did grow up in Chicago for a large part of his life. Durk could also be referring to how Kanye has often been outspoken about the devastating effects of gang wars.

Verse 3

Kanye West jumps in on the third verse of “Jonah.” He starts the verse by saying that killing another brother is not the answer to all the systematic problems that are there today. The Blacks have to struggle to earn their bread, but what does killing another get you? Nowhere, except for death in the streets, or prison.

Smoke a opp pack ain’t funny like that
It get ugly like that, can’t get no money like that

Kanye seems to ask for Lord’s blessing for him to step into this war that is going on. However, his resolutions will be with words of peace. Even on this mission, Kanye is doubtful how his ‘peace talks’ are going to work out. He knows it can get bloody any time. His speech is his music.

And when you text, change the beginnin’ of every word
You speak to me with only no cap

In these lines, Kanye West asks everyone around him to cut down on the lies and deceits. When texting on a smartphone, the phone automatically changes the first letter of a sentence to capital.

Kanye ends his verse with a shoutout to God himself. He calls God his ‘big homie.’ Ye says that this big homie does not rap, but he has a very close relationship with Him.

Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.

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