Ye Who Saved My Life.

October 23rd, 2002. Are you able to say that you knew who Kanye West was? Besides hardcore rap fans, the answer is probably not. Up until that point, Kanye West made a name for himself primarily from his production board. The Chicago-native produced the bulk of Jay-Z’s 2001 classic, The Blueprint. He made his rapping debut a month after, appearing as Ray Ray on Jay-Z’s “The Bounce.” Therefore, when the news came out that Kanye was in a serious car accident, on October 23rd, 2002, many individuals just shrugged it off as no big deal. No one could have predicted that moment would end up being the most influential moment of his career and/or life. That night led to the inspiration for his first hit, “Through the Wire.” After finishing a late night studio session with the likes of The Black Eyed Peas, Beanie Sigel, and Peedi Crack, Kanye left the studio in L.A. at around 3 AM. He was driving his rented Lexus, when he was cut off and ran head-on into traffic, colliding with another individual’s car blocks away from the W Hotel. The accident led to him having to have reconstructive surgery on his face. Laid up in the hospital for weeks, Kanye had no health insurance and had to pay for everything out of pocket. He would later say that if he were to have died that night, the tracks they were working on were not his best work. And that would have been the end of his legacy. Therefore, every single time he goes into the studio now, it’s as if it could be his last day on earth.

Ludacris was also in the studio that night, according to DJ Whoo Kid. DJ Whoo Kid claimed that Kanye was trying to impress individuals, leading to him starting to spit verses that Ludacris was not trying to hear. This led to Kanye leaving the session furious. Weeks after the accident, with a broken jaw, Kanye would get back into the studio and loop up Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” and create the sensational hit “Through the Wire.” The song would not make its initial debut until his debut mixtape, Get Well Soon, in early 2003. The tape consisted of mostly tracks that were produced by him, although there were a couple of Songs on there in which he rapped. Songs such as “Home” and “Jesus Walks” and “Two Words.” Tracks that would, later on, be featured on his debut album “The College Dropout.” The project stands out due to the “Through the Wire” track and because of the project’s artwork, which features Kanye West’s swollen, broken face. The song floated around on the mixtape scene for a while, until Kanye, who wasn’t getting much label support at the time from Roc-A-Fella, took thirty grand and shot a video with Coodie and Chike for the hit track.

According to rap legend, it was the experience of his car crash that led to his inspiration to go from behind the production boards, to pursuing his dream of becoming an artist in his own right. The first step in this process, which was marketing genius at it’s finest, was recording the song “Through the Wire” while his jaw was still wired shut. On the track, one is able to hear how strained Kanye sounds on the recording. The crash was such a major factor in his life, and a huge impact, that he rapped about it on other songs as well. “I know I got angels watching me from the other Side.” he says on the track “Never Let Me Down” which featured Jay-Z. It was his way of thanking God that he did not die in his car that night of the crash. Conspiracy theories about his car accident and its legitimacy have been called into question, which in my opinion is due to his color. Some individuals claim that he was jumped and beaten up due to stealing individuals music. The idea that one, whose music is responsible for saving my own life, would use a car crash to cover up the fact he took a beating does not hold water. For one, he was not hospitalized in Chicago but was hospitalized in Los Angeles. Believing in the theory that the car crash never happened, requires one to believe an individual would be airlifted to treatment halfway across the country, knowing they do not have health insurance, due to losing a fight. Also, it means one has to finally accept the fact that the media knowingly published fake stories so that a little-known producer could be saved the embarrassment. Let’s say this theory was true, how is one able to explain the other victim of the car crash and their injuries? Miguel Villasana, the other victim, was left with a totaled car, two broken legs, a broken pelvis was broken knees, and was out of work for over a year. Villasana also sued West in Los Angeles Superior Court over a motor vehicle claim in 2003, almost a year to the day after the crash.

The theory has it that Kanye created a beat called “Never Change” when he was a struggling producing crafting records for local Chicago rappers. The beat was sold to an artist named “Payroll”, although the track ultimately landed on Jay-Z’s The BluePrint after he heard the production and decided that he wanted the track for himself. Although Payroll was allegedly paid for the track being used by somebody else, he was not satisfied with the amount that was given. Talk about greed taking over an individual. The dissatisfaction led to the rapper airing out his grievances by attending a function in Chicago that Kanye and GLC were at. Allegedly, things happened that led to Kanye’s hospital visit with a broken jaw.

Kanye said he looked at the accident as God saying, “I’m about to hand you the world, just know that any given time I can take it away from you, so always keep me first.” It is something he has done through his entire career. If it were not for the track “Saint Pablo” and the reference to how at his lowest moment he had to humble himself and find God, I would not be here today. The car crash also altered Kanye’s face, which led to him feeling self-conscious. It is something that I relate to because of the fact my father killed himself, which comes with a stigma pinned on the individuals left behind. Kanye claimed “Through the Wire” seeming like it was the worst thing that could have happened to him, yet it obviously was the best thing. It’s the moments in life where an individual has to find the belief in God, true belief, in which their lives are changed. He took his lowest moment in life, marketed in a way he knew was right, and is now using his platform to get his message out there. The message of having faith in God and that racism needs to be changed. On both sides. “The College Dropout” is a reflective piece of art of Kanye’s life work up until that point in his life. “It was a long road, a constant struggle, and a true labor of love to not only convince my peers and the public that I could be an artist but to actually get that art out for the world to hear.” It is shocking and scary, knowing that if his art did not get out there I could never have gotten through my darkest hours.

 

Its just G.

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