Kanye West ended his concert on November 19 in Sacramento early after he started it an hour and a half late and only played three songs.
Kanye West canceled his Saint Pablo Tour where he sold out on all 22 shows. While the tour made a total of over $30.3 million and ticket prices even averaged at $295 on resale in Brooklyn. With thousands of angry fans going off on social media to express their anger towards the rapper, many justified what he did saying it’s just Kanye being Kanye. However, there’s more to this story.
On November 21st, the rapper was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation after “erratic,” behavior during his Sacramento concert on the 19th. At his concert, the rapper had preformed three songs then went on a rant, then walked off the stage. Although many sources believe that West was hospitalized due to exhaustion and needed rest, there have been other people who believe that West could be having some psychological issues or a mental breakdown. One of these reasons being the anniversary of his mother’s death on November 10th, 2007. According to CNN, West was taken to UCLA Medical Center and was treated for exhaustion where he was then admitted to the psychiatric ward.
One topic that is not discussed in majority of communities is mental health. Many celebrities, singers, and even politicians struggle with these issues, but people do not want to address them because they are seen as “issues,” which “aren’t important,” or “are made up.” The problems are the stigmas which people give mental health issues. Had people read the signs which the sufferers show, many people could still be alive.
Here are some examples where the rapper has shown some struggles with his personal issues in his music:
In his 2008 video for the song “Love Lockdown,” the end of the video first shows the rapper laying on a couch looking up, then he curls up into fetal position where he’s holds his head. In fact, the song was even inspired by the lead character in the movie "American Psycho." A quote from West about his song stated, “it's so personal and so heartfelt. It was just pouring out of my soul. It was therapeutic…by screaming at the top of my lungs about what I'm going through.” He wanted to get out his hurt which he was feeling and put it into his music. This was the year after his mother had passed.
The following year (2009), West had ran on stage and interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech during the Video Music Awards to talk about Beyonce’s music video.
Another two examples, which were shown this year (2016), are in two of West’s songs on his album “The Life of Pablo.” The first is in West's song titled “I Love Kanye,” where he talks about things he’s heard people saying about him, some lines from the song are as followed:
“I miss the old Kanye, straight from the ‘go Kanye,”
“I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye. The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye.”
“I used to love Kanye, I used to love Kanye.”
Another song with some questionable lyrics is his song “I Feel Like That.”
Could these lines not only be about other’s perceptions of West, but about he himself struggling with how he views himself?
The introduction of the song starts with “while you're fast asleep, do you experience nervousness or shakiness inside, weakness or dizziness? The idea that so much can control your thoughts. Lost in your thoughts. Trouble remembering things, feeling easily annoyed and irritated. Afraid of open spaces, going in public. Thoughts of ending your life. Feelings that most people could not be trusted before I had that type of heart, chest pains?” While over the song the words, “I feel like that,” are repeated over and over. This could possibly West calling for help, but people assume it is just him putting art and emotion into his music.
During West’s rant he made important notice of how great rapper Kid Cudi is and how people do not appreciate him enough. The thing that resonated with me, was the fact that earlier this year Cudi had checked himself into a rehab facility, after admitting his own struggles with anxiety and depression. Could this be West calling for help? Other rappers as well as hip-hop artists who have also admitted struggling with their own mental health include A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Charles Hamilton, Wiz Khalifa, and Vic Mensa. These artists have even been working on talking about the importance of mental health, race, masculinity, and depression for men in hip-hop careers using the hashtag ‘ #YouGoodMan .’ Mensa recently spoke about how important it is for black men to understand that it is OK to speak to therapists.
If the stigma about mental health and mental illness could be broken and people learn that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, more people (including rappers/singers) could be receiving the help that they need as well. All people, regardless of what they believe should focus on themselves before they try to do things for other people. Before we can help others, we must first help ourselves.