Kanye West Opens Up About Opioid Addiction & Mental Health

By Paul Fuhr 05/10/18

West first revealed his addiction during an episode of TMZ Live.

Kanye West

While Kanye West is perhaps better known as a lightning rod for controversy, he’s lately become unexpectedly open and honest about opioid addiction and mental illness.

According to Yahoo!, West’s guest verse on the new Travis Scott song “Watch” details the rapper’s recently revealed personal addiction to opioids.

Released last Friday, the track finds the 40-year-old providing dark insights into his prescription painkiller abuse:

Wanna know how pain feels? I got off my main pills
Bet my wifey stay close, she know I’m on my Bezos
Opioid addiction, pharmacy’s the real trap
Sometimes I feel trapped, Jordan with no Phil Jack.”

The song comes on the heels of West’s admission that he’d become addicted to prescription painkillers after a liposuction procedure in 2016.

During an appearance on TMZ Live, West ranted about his situation: “I was drugged the f— out. I was drugged out. I was on opioids. Two days after I got off opioids, I’m in the hospital. Two days before going to the hospital, I was on opioids. I was addicted to opioids. I had plastic surgery because I was trying to look good for y’all.”

He said that he underwent liposuction because he “didn’t want y’all to call me fat,” adding that he was taking a total of seven pills per day—up from two pills a day in the hospital. (West also blamed the pills for a string of bizarre tweets.)

Shortly after the procedure, West says he suffered a complete mental breakdown and began taking medication to straighten himself out. 

Interestingly enough, West says he’s “happy” everything went down the way it did.

In an interview with radio personality Charlamagne tha God, West said his breakdown was triggered by “fear, stress, being controlled and manipulation,” and noted that he felt like “a pawn in a chess piece of life.”

West claims to be at peace with his hospitalization, despite becoming addicted to opioids in the process.

“I’m happy it happened. I’m happy to have gone to the other side and back,” West told Charlamagne. “I can’t express to you how traumatizing [it is to be alone in a hospital] and then you wake up drugged the f— out.”

West claimed that he is “most definitely” medicated now, though he conceded it was an “an imperfect solution” to his problems. West also said he hasn’t yet sought professional help, either.

“I use the world as my therapist. Anyone I talk to is my therapist,” he said. “I will pull them into the conversation of what I’m feeling at that point and get their perspective… I like just talking to acquaintances, friends, family, and I keep them on the phone for 45 minutes at a time, talking through things. It’s kind of narcissistic.”

During the far-ranging interview, West said he was determined to redefine the word “crazy”: “People will take something that’s enlightened, put it in a different context and call it crazy to diminish the impact and the value of what I’m saying.”

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Paul Fuhr lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and two cats, Vesper and Dr. No. He's written for AfterParty MagazineThe Literary Review and The Live Oak Review, among others. He's also the host of "Drop the Needle," a podcast about music and addiction recovery. More at paulfuhr.com. You can also find Paul on Linkedin and Twitter.