Todd Rundgren is offering up some background information about the sketchy release of Kanye West’s newest music.
The Grammy Award-nominated classic rock artist — who was enlisted to work on “Donda” — says the opus was rushed in order to compete with Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy.”
“My involvement went on for a year, and in the end I realized why they hurriedly wrapped the whole thing up and put out what is obviously really raw, unprocessed stuff,” he dished to Townsquare Media’s Ultimate Classic Rock site. “It’s because Drake was running the whole process.”
After a year of postponements, West fans finally got their hands on his 10th studio album when it ended up for sale and on streaming platforms in the wee hours of Aug. 29.
Hours after its off-cycle Sunday release, the self-proclaimed “greatest artist that God ever created” took to social media to claim that Universal Music Group released “Donda” without his approval. Universal is the parent company to West’s longtime label, Def Jam Recordings.
The album, which the Russell Simmons-cofounded company publicized as “the biggest album debut of 2021,” was previewed at three livestreamed listening events at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Chicago’s Soldier Field, where audiences paid to listen to in person.
Rundgren, who will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in October, added: “(Kanye) 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.”
While both “Donda” and “Certified Lover Boy” (which was released Sept. 3) broke Billboard chart records, respectively, Drake nearly doubled West's first-week sales, knocking him out of the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200.
The 73-year-old singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who gained fame in 1972 with the Top 10 hit “Hello, It’s Me,” added that his efforts didn’t make the final cut of the “Donda” album.
“I’m one of the few artists not on Kanye’s album,” he explained, citing West’s constant requests to add vocals as his reason for opting out. “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.”
OutKast frontman Andre 3000, R&B star Chris Brown and rapper Souljah Boy are a few other acts who submitted collaborations for the “Donda” that also was cut from the 22-track project.
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