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‘Through The Wire:’ Inside Kanye West’s 2002 Car Crash That Shaped His Whole Career

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Kanye West’s song about his accident in 2002, “Through The Wire,” formed a major change in his personal life and career. West may be widely known for his groundbreaking music and fashion innovation, but there was a time he fought for his life. 

Kanye West often makes news headlines, and in very recent times, he has had an ample amount of media attention. When it’s not his phenomenal music and fashion, it is his marriage with makeup mogul Kim Kardashian.

However, there was once a time, far removed from what he is now, that Kanye was in a fox hole and almost lost his life. This was the 2002 accident that also shaped his career. Here’s a look at his life story.

Kanye West's song about his accident
Image: Pinterest

West’s Humble Beginnings

Kanye West was born to Donda and Ray West in June 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents split up when he was three years old, and Donda, an English professor, moved with her son to Chicago.

He once shared in an interview that although he would often go visit his dad during summer, his mom was his “everything.” His love for music started pretty early, and his talent was not far behind.

His mom once shared with the Chicago Tribune that she discovered Kanye’s talent when he was only a five-year-old; They had been driving, and Kanye was in the back seat. She recalled hearing him compose a poem and reading it out like a pro poet. 

Being an English teacher, Donda saw the raw talent and could not be prouder of her young son. Kanye’s love for poems morphed into rap songs when he was in his teenage years. He started writing rap, and he persuaded his mom to buy him studio time. 

This went on for a while in Chicago until he and his mom got an eviction notice at their apartment. So the mother-son duo moved to Newark, New Jersey, where Kanye’s career took off for real. He would later make his first beat and sell it to Jay-Z.  

Kanye West's song about his accident
Kanye West and His Mother, Donda West. Image: Pinterest

Kanye Meets Jay-Z

In New Jersey, the young Kanye spread his musical connections, and in 2000, his and Jay-Z’s paths crossed; Kanye had been at Just Blaze’s Baseline Studios for a recording session. 

In his 2004 track, “Last Call,” Kanye recounted the story of how he met Jay-Z. According to him, the rap icon wore a Gucci bucket hat, which he took off in awe of Kanye’s raw talent after the designer played his song, “Heart of the City.”

Things progressed from there because Kanye went on to produce four songs off Jay-Z’s album, “The Blueprint.” Kanye soon bagged a record deal with Capitol, but things went south, and he lost it.

Jay-Z’s record label, Roc-A-Fella, was right on time to strike an artist deal with Kanye. He was riding on the waves of a new music beginning when he escaped death in what can be considered a close call.

Image: Pinterest

Kanye West’s Song About His Accident And The Near-death Experience

Two weeks after signing the Roc-A-Fella deal, Kanye was involved in a serious car accident. He had been driving home at midnight after some recording sessions.

He was probably so tired from all the music sessions of the day that he fell asleep while driving his rental Lexus. Unfortunately, the car rammed into an oncoming vehicle leaving a life-changing impact on both drivers.

While the other driver lost both of his legs, Kanye’s jaw was shattered, and his mouth had to be worked with a wire. However, his manager, Gee Roberson, assured the public that the rapper’s life was not in danger.

Two weeks after the car crash, Kanye released “Through The Wire,” with the medical wires still strung to his jaws. The lyrics could hardly be heard because he rapped through the pain. 

The song was a cover of Chaka Khan’s 1984 song “Through The Fire.” Khan’s vocals played in a modified version at the background of the song, while Kanye rapped. 

Despite the frightening experience, Kanye focused on the brighter side. He shared in a 2014 tell-all with Interview Magazine that the accident gave him the opportunity “to do what he wanted.” 

The singer shared: “During that recovery period, I just spent all my time honing my craft and making The College Dropout…It gave me perspective on life—that it was really now or 100 percent never.”

Image: Pinterest

Where Is Kanye West Now?

Kanye West’s song about his accident was quite the game changer because the singer experienced tremendous success in his career after that. Kanye has since put out ten albums.

His latest, “Donda,” named after his late mom, is his tenth studio album. The album was certified gold by RIAA a few weeks after its release. Earlier this year, Forbes’ List listed Kanye as a billionaire, joining the likes of Jay Z and Paul McCartney.

He amassed his wealth through his musical expertise and passion for fashion. All under the Yeezy moniker, Kanye’s fashion brands have created quite the buzz among fashion lovers.

The Yeezy brand raked in $1.7 billion in sales in 2020. Additionally, Kanye gets an annual royalty from Adidas for his collaboration with the footwear franchise. Kanye also released a Gap X Yeezy clothing line this year.