This song dates back to 2018, when Kanye West first teased it on Instagram as part of the rollout for his scrapped Yandhi album. He initially titled it "80 Degrees" but by the time the track was first leaked on September 28, 2019, he'd renamed it "Hurricane."
The song went through a series of permutations, at various points featuring Young Thug, Ty Dolla $ign, Big Sean, 6ix9ine, and Ant Clemons. The final version that appears on Donda features a chorus from The Weeknd and verses by Lil Baby and Kanye West.
The song title does not appear in the lyrics, but comes from a scientific fact that The Weeknd mentions on his hook.
Eighty degrees, warm it up for me
Finally free, found the God in me
And I want you to see, I can walk on water
The temperature of the water in the ocean needs to be above 80 degrees for a hurricane to form. The Weeknd is saying that through faith in God he can face the storms of life. In the same way that Jesus Christ walked on top of a stormy Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:22-33), God won't let him drown when confronted by hardships.
This is the second collaboration between Kanye West and The Weeknd; the Toronto native crooned the hook on Yeezy's The Life Of Pablo
." In that instance, The Weeknd's hook was very much R-rated, but he keeps his contribution to "Hurricane" clean.
This is Lil Baby's first time working with either Kanye or The Weeknd. In a July 22, 2020 tweet, Kanye said Lil Baby is his "favorite rapper, but won't do a song with me." Atlanta rapper replied, saying nobody told him Ye was trying to get him on a song, so West flew him out to Wyoming to work on Donda.
The song originated with a beat Ronny J came up with in Chicago. The final version also features production credits for West, BoogzDaBeast, Mike Dean, DJ Khali, Ojivolta and Nascent. Ronny J said about the three-year gap before it finally appeared on an album: "Never lose hope on these records that are sitting in the vault, everything is divine timing for its release. Glory to God."
Did Kanye West admit to cheating on Kim Kardashian during his verse? Fans seem to think he may be asking for forgiveness for seeing another woman.
Here I go, actin' too rich, here I go, with a new chick
And I know what the truth is, still playin' after two kids
The couplet may suggest West is confessing to infidelity after they had their first two children together, North (in 2013) and Saint (in 2015). The couple went on to have two more children: Chicago (in 2018), and Psalm (in 2019), both born via surrogate.
This is not to be confused with Kanye West's collaboration with 30 Seconds To Mars, titled "Hurricane 2.0
." That song can be found on the deluxe edition of the rock band's This Is War