Together, Kanye West and Syleena Johnson created one of the most memorable Hip-Hop songs of the 2000s, and decades later they collaborated again on the opening track to Ye’s tenth studio album Donda. Contrary to their melodic and upbeat vibe on “All Falls Down,” however, “Donda Chant” is realized in a much more harrowing, spoken word format.
The intro track consists of Syleene Johnson repeating “Donda” over and over for 52 seconds straight, with no beat, melody, or real rhythm. As a result, many fans have either made fun of the track or skipped it entirely. Now, some close listeners have theorized that there is actually a deeper meaning of “Donda Chant.”
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
According to The Neighborhood Talk, Ye may have included a hidden tribute to his late mother on the Donda opening track, meaning that “Donda Chant” may not be as surface-level as fans originally thought. Fans think that there may be symbolism behind the repetition of Donda West’s first name. “Symbolism includes the 58 times ‘Donda’ is said (her age before passing) and the rhythm of the words may represent her heartbeat,” The Neighborhood Talk explains on behalf of fans.
While this fan theory is an interesting take on “Donda Chant,” Syleena Johnson actually says “Donda” 60 times, rather than 58 times. Still, there is likely a reason behind the hypnotic repetition of Kanye West’s mother’s name on the opening track on Donda. What do you think about the possibility of there being a deeper meaning behind “Donda Chant” and Syleena Johnson’s visceral performance? And when listening to Donda, do you start with “Donda Chant” or skip straight to “Jail?”