Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Todd Rundgren did not have a great time working with Kanye West on the rapper's latest album Donda, named after West's late mother Donda West. Rundgren was open to the idea of producing West, but he felt like he was just a small cog in the creative process. The "I Saw the Light" singer said he might be on the expansive 27-track album somewhere, but he's not sure.
"I'm one of the few artists not on Kanye's album," Rundgren told Ultimate Classic Rock earlier this week. "I have three albums worth of Kanye stems on my computer. Because I kept getting called by Kanye to add vocals onto the record. 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."
Producer 88-Keys asked Rundgren if he would be interested in collaborating with West. Rundgren, who is also known for producing Badfinger, Meat Loaf, the New York Dolls and many other rock acts, said he was up for it, no matter what subject West planned on covering in his new album. "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?" Rundgren said. "If you want to sing about your troubles with your wife, go ahead and do it. I don't care."
Eventually, Rundgren got frustrated with how slow the process was, and he felit like "driftwood" in the production. He left the project, but admitted that there is a possibility that some of his contributions survived the final mixes. "There's so much junk in that record," he said. Rundgren later called West a "dilettante at this point," noting, "Nobody would regularly make records like that unless they had stupid money to throw around. Nobody rents a stadium to make a record in. Nobody flies in the entire world of hip-hop just to croak one syllable, just so you can say that everybody was on it." Rundgren said he was involved in Donda for a year, but suggested that West rushed out the final product in the end just to get the album out before Drake's Certified Lover Boy.
West released Donda on Aug. 29, following listening events at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on July 22 and Aug. 5, and a third at Chicago's Soldier Field on Aug. 26. After the album was finally released, West claimed Universal Music Group did so without his permission, but they denied this. The album also courted controversy for featuring DaBaby after his hemophobia controversy and Marilyn Manson, who has faced sexual assault allegations.