By Chuck Arnold
During a recording session for “Kids See Ghosts,” his 2018 collaborative album with Kid Cudi, #KanyeWest confessed that he was battling his own demons, including suicidal urges and an addiction to Percocet.
“I already had the house and the wife and the kids and the plaques … but still have moments where I felt, like, suicidal, still have moments where I’m addicted to Percocet without even realizing it,” West says in the new documentary “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy,” which premieres on Netflix Wednesday.
The hip-hop star breaks down his #mentalhealth struggles since the 2007 death of his beloved mother, Donda West, in “Act III: Awakening” — the third episode of the three-part documentary, which will begin streaming on March 2.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
Inside #KanyeWest’s #bipolardisorder
And “Jeen-yuhs” arrives amid the latest wave of troubling signs from West, who revealed that he was diagnosed with #bipolardisorder on his 2018 album “Ye.” His recent erratic behavior has included everything from his #socialmedia warring with ex #KimKardashian to him calling out Billie Eilish — and threatening to pull out of Coachella — for what he perceived to be a swipe against Travis Scott by the “Bad Guy” singer.
There is a disturbing scene in “Act III: Awakening” where West, while in the Dominican Republic working on music, has a rambling conversation with some potential real estate partners about his #mentalhealth battle.
“Have you guys ever been, like, locked up in handcuffs and put into a hospital because your brain was too big for your skull?” he says. Of course, he’s referencing when he was hospitalized and put under a psychiatric hold during the middle of his Saint Pablo tour in 2016.
“It’s not a game,” he continues. “I go to the hospital for this. I took #bipolar medication last night to have a normal conversation and turn alien to English. So what are we talking about? I do not communicate in a way that people understand in public because it’s just truth, and we’re in a world of lies.”
Then West veers into a rant about how he has been persecuted since his infamous interruption of #TaylorSwift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009.
“There’s an execution style that was performed on me over the past six, seven years, post-Taylor Swift, where they tie … both arms, both legs to four horses, all in different directions,” he says. “They didn’t know they was dealing with Deadpool, though. Those limbs grew back.”
Co-director Clarence “Coodie” Simmons — who narrates the documentary that he began shooting when West was a sought-after Chicago producer — reflects on when he first found out about his friend’s #mentalhealth struggles.
“When I heard Kanye was committed to the hospital [in 2016], as a friend I was concerned for his life,” he says. “When I would see Kanye go off in the past, I just thought it was a part of the show. I had no idea he was even struggling with his #mentalhealth. For weeks, I did everything I could to get in touch with him, but no one would return my calls.”
West goes on to reveal in a Yeezy design meeting that his #bipolar meds have caused him to pack on weight. “I’m, like, 35 pounds overweight due to, like, medication that I have to f– take.”
“Act III” also gives some insight into West’s troubled psyche during a bonding moment he has with Justin Bieber — who has had his own #mentalhealthissues — at his Wyoming ranch. In the middle of a meeting with his team, West tells Bieber, “This is something you might deal with where I’m telling the team a million times what I want, and it’s subtly crushing my soul and ego and my respect and my dignity as a boss.”
Coodie recalls seeing West spiral out of control in 2018, as he faced backlash over declaring that slavery was a “choice” and his support for then-#PresidentDonaldTrump.
“It was difficult watching Kanye on TV, knowing he had issues with his #mentalhealth,” he says. “They were calling him crazy, but to me it seemed like he was crying out for help. In the past, Kanye might have rubbed folks the wrong way, but for the first time, it felt like he really lost the people.”