Always one to create a headline, Kanye West has been a solid fixture in the news cycle of recent months in the lead up to his new album, 'Ye. Whilst certainly starting many a conversation thanks to his controversial opinions, West has opened up about his mental health on both the album and in a subsequent interview.
Following an elaborate release party in Wyoming last week, Kanye released his latest 7-track album on Saturday morning Australia time. Right from the get-go, West is upfront about all things mental health with the album's artwork briefly touching on a bipolar diagnosis, before exploring his own experiences with mental health on his lyrics.
"Sometimes I think bad things, really really bad things," raps Kanye on lead track I Thought About Killing You. "I've had a bad case, of too many bad days."
Elaborating on the lyrics, album, and his experiences, Kanye told Big Boy TV that he felt blessed to have the creative outlet of music to cope with his diagnosis. "I'm so blessed and so privileged because think about people that have mental issues that are not Kanye West, that can't go and make that [album] and make you feel like it's all good," West said.
West has only recently been diagnosed with any mental health conditions following a difficult few years in the lead up to the release of 'Ye.
West was hospitalized in November of 2016 and had to cancel his remaining Saint Pablo tour dates. At the time, sources said the rapper — who'd been exhibiting some odd behavior — was being treated for exhaustion.
"He's exhausted, he's just really tired," Kris Jenner told Extra. "He's had a grueling tour and it's been a grind so he just needs some rest."
In an interview earlier this year with iHeartRadio’s The Breakfast Club's Charlamagne the God, West shed light on what was really going on with his mental health at the time. According to People, he said he saw the 2016 event less as a breakdown and more as "breakthrough," adding, "I'm happy it happened. I'm happy to have gone to the other side and back."
West said in The Breakfast Club interview that he's still on medication, but is not seeking further mental health treatment from a therapist at this time.
"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."
The positive attitude towards his diagnosis seems to have continued, with West embracing himself in trademark Kanye style.
"I've never been diagnosed and I was like 39 years old… That's why I said on the album, 'It's not a disability, it's a superpower.'"
If depression is affecting your life or you need someone to talk to, please do not suffer in silence. Support is available here.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Beyondblue: 1300 224 636