The 7 Stages of Yeezus: From "Through the Wire" to "I Am a God"

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In the classic “7 Stages of Grief,” people can see a generalized, common breakdown of how people face life-altering losses and pains. Sometimes, this happens overnight, but other times, the pain can last a lifetime. Kanye, one of rap’s most emotional characters, is no exception. With all reality aside, here is Kanye West’s career-long cycle of grief, from The College Dropout to YEEZUS.

1. Shock and Denial — “Through the Wire

Where it all began. Recovering from his 2002 car crash, Kanye penned the hopeful, yet frustrated story of his battles and pain. While the crash was the main focus, West raps on issues as spread as his coming career, his past, education, and surgery. In all, he refuses to believe his own circumstances, making light of them before even knowing the full extent of what’s to come. At its darkest, he cries for how his mother, very close to Ye, must have felt.

”How do you console my mom or give her light support/
Telling her her son’s on life support?”

2. Pain and Guilt — “Roses

Moving into “pain and guilt,” Ye witnesses his grandmother’s near death in a hospital, made worse by her inability to pay a growing bill. Battling the demons of fame and money, Kanye yells at unhelpful nurses and screams to metaphorical doctors to just fix her wounds. Matched by an eerily soulful chorus, the track puts Ye at his darkest moment, steps away from looking death in its eyes.

”Hey chick, what these doctors know anyway/
Let me see the X-rays, I ain’t no expert, I’m just hurt”

3. Anger and Bargaining — “Can’t Tell Me Nothing

For “anger and bargaining,” Kanye leaps into full assault mode, lashing out at everyone from paparazzi to any critic he meets. Swallowing the pain with a dose of rage, Kayne leaps out of his depression and fights back against all that he feels. While still rapping about the pain that surrounds him, from past failures to struggles in music, Ye beats back any form of additional frustration, taking out his own emotions on the world. As much as “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” is a boast, it is a fit of rage, a passionate move that pushed Ye past his own thoughts.

”I guess the money should’ve changed him/
I guess I should’ve forgot where I came from”

4. Depression — “Heartless

Following the anger, of course, is depression. And no album in Ye’s catalogue best spreads the message than 808s and Heartbreak.” Filled with emotional scars, dark memories, and self-loathing, the vibe of “Heartless” is Kayne at his most reflective. Whether actually about a girl, or playing on the Common-inspired “H.E.R.” that is hip-hop, the mood is the same: Kanye is down for the count.

”You got a new friend/
Well I got homies/
But in the end it’s still so lonely”

5. Upswing — “POWER

In the “upward turn” is Kanye’s return to form, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It is easy to paint the track as a cocky brag-fest, but some of the scars still run deep and stick with Ye even today. Mixed between the jabs at SNL, the “money, clothes, and hos” breakdowns, and the political slams are a few nods to the emotional whirlwind Kanye just experienced.

”I just needed time alone with my own thoughts/
Got treasures in my mind but couldn’t open up my own vault”

6. Reconstruction — “Monster

When “reconstructing” his life and vision, “Monster” is a handbook. Going blow to blow with everything, all while bodying an insane beat and list of features, Ye shines at his brightest. Not much can be said for what amounts to a full-on explosion of talent, except that it came with the realization that the past, issues included, makes Ye what he is today.

”Gossip, gossip, nigga just stop it/
Everybody know I’m a motherfucking monster”

7. Acceptance and Hope — “I Am a God

In the end, there is acceptance and hope. For Kayne, this is a violent, dramatic move to an entirely new level of music. Declaring yourself a “god” in any sense requires a special mix of ego and self-worth, a trait only found in those already on the upswing. This is Kanye 101, the man finally standing back on firm ground, aware and accepting of his past, and looking forward to the future. Finally, he is the different animal, but the same beast.

“I know he the most high/
But I am a close high”