Here’s Definitive Proof That Kanye’s “Through the Wire” Accident Wasn’t Faked
Perhaps you fired up Twitter this morning to find that “Through the Wire,” the instant classic College Dropout single that introduced the world to Kanye West as a rapper, was trending, just above Jaren Jackson and below Peter Thiel. No, it isn’t because Hillary Clinton is eyeing Yeezy for a Supreme Court slot to counter rumors that Donald Trump wants to put Thiel on the bench, and it’s not some joke about Kanye and Kid Cudi’s recently exchanged words. For some reason, some rap conspiracists out there are saying that West’s big car crash—the one that inspired “Wire” and is a foundational element of his origin myth—never happened at all. They’re wrong, and we can prove it, but we’ll get to that in a second.
First, look at a sample of people who need reassurance about the song’s veracity:
Some background: In the early 2000s, Kanye was known to hip-hop nerds, but only as a producer. He was the guy that who made a bunch of beats for Jay-Z’s The Blueprint in 2001, who pioneered the sped-up style of sampling that came to be known as “Chipmunk Soul,” who rapped the hook on The Blueprint’s “Never Change.” Few people but hardcore rap fans would have recognized his voice at the time, because he didn’t make his formal debut as a rapper until “Through the Wire,” two years later.
On October 23, 2oo2, Kanye was leaving a Los Angeles recording studio after a late-night session when his rented Lexus collided with another car, leaving him hospitalized with a jaw fracture. According to rap legend, the experience of the accident inspired West to get out from behind the boards and pursue his dream of becoming an artist in his own right. The first step in that process was making “Through the Wire” while his jaw was still wired shut. You can hear how strained he sounds on the recording, and the crash made a big enough impact on him that he rapped about on other songs, too. “I know I got angels watching me from the other side,” he said on “Never Let Me” down, thanking God that he didn’t die in his car that night.
In other words, by claiming that the crash never happened, you’re not just calling the story behind a great song into question: You’re claiming that Kanye’s entire career was based on a lie. It’s unclear how many people even believe that the crash didn’t happen: searching for “Through the Wire” on Twitter mostly turns up incredulous fans wondering how the theory even came to be, or asking why the song is trending in the first place. But if you’re interested in parsing the minds of a few stans with way too much time on their hands, read on.
This morning’s trend seems to have started with a tweeter from Chicago saying “And what’s crazy is Kanye still got the world thinking he was in a bad car accident October 2002. all Im’a say is come to Chicagoland and ask.” In the replies to that tweet, there are several others who make vague references to Kanye allegedly getting beaten up at the same time as the accident. “didn’t he get jumped because he stole music or something for some people and didnt give credit?” one user asks, to which the original tweeter answers “plus more to that.” Others chime in later about a supposed pistol-whipping, and more say that they’ve been hearing stories about the accident being faked for several years.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend to know a single lick about internecine fights between Chicago rappers that happened over a decade ago. Maybe Kanye really did get jumped. But the idea that the crash was a ruse to cover up the fact that he took a beating one time doesn’t seem to hold water. For one thing, Kanye was hospitalized in Los Angeles, not in Chicago. It’s not some story he only started telling after the fact—MTV reported on it at the time. Believing that the crash didn’t happen requires believing that Kanye was airlifted to treatment halfway across the country because he was embarrassed about losing a fight, or that the media knowingly published fake stories so that a little-known producer could be spared from shame.
For kicks, let’s pretend that all that stuff might be true. Still, how do you explain Miguel Villasana, the other victim of the crash, who, according to an Allhiphop report from 2004, was left “with a totaled car, two broken legs, a broken pelvis, broken knees, a shattered ankle and was out of work for over a year”? According to a public document obtained by SPIN, Villasana sued West and several other defendants in Los Angeles Superior Court over a motor vehicle claim in 2003, almost a year to the day after the crash. The suit is too old for the court for the court to have individual documents available online, but it does have a record of the suit having been filed and dismissed about a year later following what appears to have been a settlement agreement. (Paul Fegen, the attorney who represented Villasana in the case, was not immediately available for comment.)
Here’s a screenshot from the court’s online records. You’ll see WEST KANYE O. listed as a defendant near the bottom.
Maybe the fight in Chicago happened; maybe it didn’t. But either way—unless you’re in deep enough to believe Kanye would have gone as far as recruiting a fake plaintiff to sue him, the crash is definitely real.