Monday is the 10th anniversary of the release of Kanye West's solo debut, "The College Dropout" — and an excuse for us to visit the Yahoo Wayback Machine.
The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart thanks to Kanye's reputation as the go-to producer for Jay Z, Ludacris, and Alicia Keys. He also scored airplay with his first single, "Though the Wire."
"Through the Wire" told the story of how Grammy-winning, Kardashian-wooing Kanye West almost never was. It's the rapper's musical retelling of a near-fatal head-on collision in 2002 that left Kanye in bad shape, including his jaw being broken in three places.
Despite his mouth being wired shut for recovery, Kanye recorded the song two weeks after the accident. The music video includes footage of the wires being removed.
With that backstory, Yahoo Music has unearthed this 2004 interview with the up-and-coming Kanye.
"I looked at this accident as God saying, 'I'm about to hand you the world,'" Kanye told Yahoo Music. "'Cause I had a lot of good records, 'Slow Jams,' 'Jesus Walks,' already in the pipeline. So he's like, 'I'm about to hand you the world, just know that at any given time I can take it away from you, so always keep me first.'"
The damages from the accident altered Kanye's face, and made him feel self-conscious. "My face looks crazy to me now," he said in 2004. "Look at my mouth. … You can't even see my bottom teeth when I talk. You always see the top teeth and that's not how I used to be."
Kanye said he is glad he decided to discuss the experience in "Through the Wire," which samples Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire."
"'Through the Wire' seemed like it was the worst thing that could have possibly happened to me, now it's obviously the best thing," he said about the song that peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"I felt like even if the song didn't blow up that once other songs did blow up — which I knew they would — people would just look back and say, 'Man, do you remember his first song was recorded with his mouth wired shut? He's crazy'," he said.
Kanye also used a post-accident photo on the back cover of his 2003 mixtape "Get Well Soon."
Kanye said "The College Dropout" was a reflective of his life's work at the time. "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," he said in a statement Monday.
"Ten years later, I am still the same kind from Chicago, still dreaming out loud, still banging on the door," he said. "The doors may be heavier, but I promise you WE WILL BREAK THEM."
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