Todd Rundgren on Kanye West's 'Donda': "Drake Ate His Lunch Anyway"

Rundgren "kept getting called by Kanye to add vocals onto the record," and was involved in recording "for a year"

Photo (right): Rashid Akrim

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Sep 14, 2021

On the long, theatrical road to the release of Kanye West's Donda, much was made about which potential collaborators would and wouldn't appear on the album's finished version. Now, Todd Rundgren has revealed that he was among the hopefuls in a new interview.

Rundgren made the revelation in conversation with Ultimate Classic Rock, sharing the creative frustrations that came with being asked to contribute to West's latest overstuffed release.

"I have three albums worth of Kanye stems on my computer. Because I kept getting called by Kanye to add vocals onto the record," he explained. "When it got into the homestretch in July, I just said, 'That's enough for me. I have no idea whether any of this is being used.' You don't get much feedback from him regarding what it is."

Rundgren added that his invite came via producer 88-Keys, and that he was happy to work with West no matter the subject matter, telling UCR, "I didn't mind working on his gospel stuff. If you want to sing about Jesus, go ahead, I don't care. I'll help ya do it, you know? If you want to sing about your troubles with your wife, go ahead and do it. I don't care."

However, Rundgren ultimately came away without knowing if any of his contributions made the final cut, explaining, "I'm still a producer, and I don't just want to be like driftwood in the process...If I can contribute something, fine. If I can't, just let me know. I'm out of here...There is a possibility that I'm actually in there somewhere. There's so much junk in that record!"

Rundgren said that his involvement in the recording "went on for a year," and that he eventually came to realize "why they hurriedly wrapped the whole thing up and put out what is obviously really raw, unprocessed stuff": the influence of a certain Certified Lover Boy.

"It's because Drake was running the whole process," Rundgren said. "He was too afraid that Drake would one-up him, so he hurried up and released the album the weekend before Drake could get his out. And in the end, Drake ate his lunch anyway."

Regardless of whether or not his playing made Donda, Rundgren will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this October. In April, he joined Sparks on a new single.

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