“Thank god I ain’t too cool for the safe belt,” Kanye West rapped on “Through the Wire.” To think that Ye’d go from rapping about surviving a car crash to designing his own cars in under two decades — the mind reels.

Then again, this is the man behind YEEZY Home and the same guy who has aims to create a complete line of luxury home goods and NFTs (seriously).

But, for now, there’s the DONDA car.


The “DONDA foam car” was made public on July 5, the same day it apparently confirmed veteran footwear designer Steven Smith as head of DONDA Industrial Design, a branch of DONDA that I frankly did not know even existed.

In fact, who knew DONDA did anything besides loose creative direction? It’s hard enough keeping up with the enigmatic imprint that’s so low-key that even DONDA Academy, its own school, is tough to dig up official info about.

But, like YEEZY, it seems like DONDA is wading into the field of industrial design, or at least auto innovation.

Not too surprising, given West’s own predilection for custom cars but interesting enough that West appears to be moving beyond projects with the YEEZY name, perhaps distancing himself from adidas-affiliated projects.

Note that West has sole ownership and creative control of YEEZY, with his contract with the Three Stripes in place until at least 2026.

So, who is Steven Smith?


A nearly six-year veteran of what he calls the “YEEZY Lab,” where Smith serves as design director, the self-described “Godfather of dad shoes” has designed major sneaker silhouettes for nearly every sportswear company that matters.

To be specific, Smith had a hand in creating New Balance‘s omnipresent 574 and 997, Reebok‘s Instapump Fury, and Nike’s Air Spiridon Cage 2.

At YEEZY, Smith created the inimitable BOOST 700, colloquially known as the Wave Runner, arguably the most classic-looking running shoe offered under the YEEZY umbrella.


“[Kanye] pushes me and we go to new places and together as a team, we all create things that people have never seen before,” Smith told Highsnobiety in 2021.

“You’re bringing [people] into the future and they don’t quite understand the future until it’s right in front of them.”


With all that being said, I wonder how much Ye’s pal Elon Musk had to do with the DONDA Foam Car revealed in the imagery above.

The DONDA car, being a concept, may not actually be produced but its description does acknowledge that it’s “designed” and “manufactured in the States” (“amen”), which makes me think that there may be at least some crossover with Elon Musk’s domestic Tesla facilities, especially given the coziness between the two billionaires.

Pure speculation all the way down but Ye famously loves bringing his friends into various projects and who better than the man possibly set to ruin Twitter?

Sure, brands as big as Jeep, Ford, and Honda reportedly make at least a few of their cars in America but Kanye ain’t nearly as pally with them as he is with Musk.

These guys share everything; they both possess infuriatingly contrarian political philosophies, for instance, a penchant for comparably young influencers, and are both perpetually online.

It’s true! Despite not posting on Instagram, Ye is clearly never not scrolling. Recently, he made news simply by commenting his favorite garden hose nozzle setting.


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