Kanye West Reveals Rare Photos With Donda In Emotional Mother's Day Tribute

Kanye "Ye" West had an extraordinarily close relationship with his mother Donda West. Growing up, the Chicago rapper split time between his parents — who were divorced — but preferred to be with his mom. "But the rest of that time, my mother was my everything," he said on an MTV special in 2005. Donda helped nourish her son's creative efforts, which had a profound effect on Ye. "This is my mother. I love her. She is my best friend in the whole world," he said on MTV's "Diary" in 2004.

In fact, the two were so close that when Donda released her book "Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star," the "Late Registration" artist thought it would be ill-received because the pair had no drama, per the Chicago Tribune. Sadly, Donda died in 2007 from complications following cosmetic surgery. Over a decade after her death, Ye still mourned his mother and wished she could have spent time with his children. "This would have been the funnest time of her life, to have those kids running around that house and being able to go and buy them toys," he said on David Letterman's "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" in 2019.

A man who dated Donda, Ulysses Blakely, believed that many of Ye's emotional troubles stemmed from her death. "He has not recovered from the loss of his mother," he told Page Six in 2020. To show Donda was still very much on his mind, Ye lovingly paid tribute to her on Mother's Day.

Inside Kanye West's touching music video

On May 8, Kanye "Ye" West released the music video for the song "Life of the Party," which was featured on his album "Donda" that was named after his late mother Donda West. The visuals that were dropped on Mother's Day, featured old photos of the rapper, and a few snaps of Donda. "If there's a heaven you would think they'd let you speak to your son," Ye raps on the emotional track, per Genius. Deepfake technology was used in the video to make it appear that the old photos of the "Runaway" artist are rapping.

André 3000 was initially recruited to appear on the song, as the Outkast artist was intrigued by the track's concept. "I was inspired by his idea to make a musical tribute to his mom," André 3000 said in a statement, per Variety. "It felt appropriate to me to support the 'Donda' concept by referencing my own mother, who passed away in 2013," he added. Unfortunately, the song became mired in controversy after Ye added a verse that took direct shots at Drake. That came as a surprise to André, as he wanted the message to focus on their deceased mothers.

There were a multitude of Donda snaps for Ye to choose from when composing the visuals for "Life of the Party." "There are always pictures of him and his mother," DJ Khaled told the Chicago Tribune after her death. "His mother is his life. And he had a close bond with her; they were best friends."