On this day, September 30, in hip-hop history…
2003: Kanye West’s debut single “Through The Wire” was released 10 years ago today. After establishing himself as one of hip-hop’s hottest producers, Kanye West was desperate to be taken more seriously as a rapper, but despite his production hustle, many in hip-hop were slow to embrace West as a rapper due to his art school eccentricities and lack of street credibility.
Fate intervened on the night of October 23, 2002. After exiting a studio session for Beanie Sigel, Peedi Crakk and The Black Eyed Peas, Kanye was involved in a near-fatal car accident when he was cut off by another car, causing him to drive head-long into traffic. ‘Ye was taken to the hospital where he had reconstructive surgery and his mouth wired shut after suffering from a broken jaw.
Two weeks later, Kanye would be back in the studio to record vocals for his would-be debut single, “Through The Wire.” The song’s title refers to the wire in his mouth through which Kanye was forced to record the song. The song would tell the tale of the fateful night of the accident, and perhaps due to obvious pain in his voice, it would resonate with fans.
“Through The Wire” was eventually released on September 30, 2003 almost a year after the accident. It peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard charts and became the first in West’s highly successful career. The single’s success would eventually pave the way for Kanye to release his debut album, The College Dropout, in February 2004. The rest is history.