I hope you’re OK.
I know you will be. But you’ll be in my prayers until I see and hear it for myself. Just know that you’re not alone in the meantime.
We’ve all been fighting personal demons and nurturing fleeting genius through these crazy times. But as disappointed as I’ve been in your comments and actions over the past couple years, I will never be able to thank you enough for showing the world that “crazy” isn’t a bad word; for proving that everyone seems crazy without context.
Do you remember that time we met in the elevator at the XXL building? You probably don’t, but I’ll never forget it. Crazy as it sounds, meeting you that day convinced me that anything was possible.
Just five years earlier I was downloading your Freshman Adjustment mixtapes from Limewire. Now, I was giving you feedback on your magnum opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, months before its release. From that day forward, nobody could tell me nothing.
That’s why every time I hear Chance say, “I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail,” a chill runs up my spine. That was my unofficial mantra for years after we met. And for a long time, it proved to be true. Up until I was hospitalized against my will and drugged to the point my own family didn’t recognize me.
‘Ye, when I heard Monday night that you’d been handcuffed to a stretcher and hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation, my stomach dropped and my brain flashed back to the night I lost my sauce.
I was a 21-year-old college dropout at the time. I’d been freelance writing and producing for just over a year and was fully convinced that if I didn’t finish the half-dozen projects I was juggling by the end of the weekend, the world as I knew it would crumble. But I just ended up crumbling under the self-induced stress, isolation and paranoia.
That night, a mix of psychoactive drugs, lack of sleep and the irrational belief that I couldn’t afford to let anyone down caused me to spazz so bad I dropped the ball on all of my projects and ended up letting everyone down. I imagine you experienced a similar spiral this weekend. One that was surely compounded by factors I can’t even imagine dealing with: Fame, fatherhood and your past traumas.
For a long time, I was ashamed for losing control of the mind that had taken me so far. But every storm I’ve seen you endure through your career, reminds me that I’m not weak. And I’m not alone. So I have to let you know that you aren’t either.
You’re not crazy, ‘Ye. This world is.
That stress? That pain? That paranoia? I feel it too. Billions of people in this world do. And I have faith that your biggest gift to mankind won’t be a song, video or clothing line. It will be removing the taboo society places on mental health.
If 2016 was the year society finally began addressing rape culture, I hope 2017 is the year we find the courage to talk about “crazy culture.” And I believe you, more than anyone, have the skills and experiences needed to spark that conversation on a global scale.
When I woke up in the mental hospital, after the drugs they used to sedate me had finally worn off, the first things that came to my mind were lyrics. Bars by you, Jay Electronica and Andre 3000 rang in my head non-stop as I wondered where I was and how I’d gotten there. I’d clung to those words most of my life trying to answer the same questions.
Now, I wonder whose words are ringing in your head (I hope not the hateful comments of Twitter trolls, Uncle Snoop or Brandy’s brother). And I wonder who is there to tell them to stop pumping you with drugs so you can return to natural consciousness (I thank God my mom was there for me, or I might still be locked in a room with no windows). We can only pray that Kim and Kris are asking themselves what Donda would do and not leaking headlines to TMZ. But I only care so much because your beats and rhymes have taken care of me for all this time.
When I was in first grade, the school told my mama I belonged in the slow class, too.
She wasn’t hearing it; just as I’m sure yours wasn’t when they tried it on you. But hearing you spit about it so defiantly changed the tone of my experience from shame to motivation. Now, I just wish I knew the name of the lady who tried to put me in remedial reading so I can send her an autographed copy of my first book.
‘Ye, you can have the same impact you had on me for the almost 60 million (one in four) adults in this country who have a diagnosable mental disorder.
You can give us all the courage to process and share our challenges without reservations. Or at least seek out information and resources without shame.
And you don’t need the mainstream media or billion-dollar investments to do it. So don’t even start with that “infrastructure” shit right now, dog. I have little cousins considering suicide and friends and family “medicating” themselves into oblivion. Nobody cares about your clothes right now, bro.
Please just come back to the people. Start a self-consciousness chittlin’ circuit if you must. Prove once and for all that you don’t need a brilliant product in stores or hit song on the radio to have an impact. And please, no matter what they say about you, keep being you. Keep reminding us that we’re not alone.
You have the power to convince minority groups that therapy isn’t just for rich White whiners. And to testify that self-medication and prescription drug abuse won’t ever fully numb the symptoms of this country’s collective psychosis. That we have deeper issues that can’t just be prescribed away. Show society how to recognize and address the factors that are driving us all crazy so we can do something more than just take pictures when someone snaps.
And don’t trip on Jay and Bey. They are outliers in an industry full of people who desperately need your guidance. So please forget about Hov calling you. Call Azealia Banks or Chris Brown and see if your life experience can help guide them through their struggles. Recruit Britney and Lauryn and get them on board as partners in the fight against “crazy culture.”
You could challenge the way we eat; the way we learn; the way we interact. And your ultimate impact on humanity would be so much greater than Jobs, Disney or Picasso’s could ever be.
I’m still praying for you. And I will never stop thanking you for showing us that everyone is a genius in some way or another. But please understand that you don’t have to save us, Yeezus. Just take care of yourself and set an example to strive towards. Teach us how to save ourselves.
And never stop reminding us that we’re not alone. I promise you aren’t, either.
We love you, ‘Ye.