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The Explorer

The Student News Site of Hudson High School

The Explorer

“Through the Wire” is Kanye West’s most unforgettable forgotten song

The album cover for The College Dropout, the album that “Through the Wire is on. This album was released on February 10, 2004. Used with permission/Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records.
The album cover for The College Dropout, the album that “Through the Wire” is on. This album was released on February 10, 2004. Used with permission/Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records.

Kanye West has written many famous songs in his times as an artist, but some of his better hits have been forgotten. He has produced so much music over the years that at times, some of his well-produced songs get lost in the hype of his new albums. One of my personal favorite songs of his early career is “Through the Wire,” which has succumbed to this curse.

Written and produced in 2002, “Through the Wire” was written and sung by Kanye while his jaw was shut via a wire after breaking it in a car crash in October 2002. The song was released as a single in September 2003 and was on the album The College Dropout, which was released in 2004. In the song, Kanye sampled a sped-up beat of Chaka Khan’s 1985 single “Through the Fire.” At the song’s peak, it was number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and almost won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 2005. While the song was very popular when it was released, the song has lost its fame and been surpassed by lots of Kanye’s newer songs. According to Spotify, “Through the Wire” ranked 40th of Kanye’s total streams as recently as September 26th, 2023. Even though it may not be as recognized as it once was, I believe that it is still one of Kanye’s best songs and listen to it often. 

The song begins with a sample of Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire.” Kanye took the main chorus of the song and sped it up a little while he spoke over it. He speaks on how he is singing ‘through the wire’ and how there is a lot on his heart, recalling his car crash and how he is processing everything. The song has a beat drop and then he goes into the first set of verses, where Kanye sings about the immediate reactions of the car crash. In the first set of lines, Kanye talks about his friends telling his mom and how she would react to him being on life support. He also mentions how his girlfriend was scared. 


“How do you console my mom or give her light support

Tellin’ her her son’s on life support?

And just imagine how my girl feels”


Kanye then compares himself to Emmitt Till, an African American boy who was kidnapped and lynched in 1945, by comparing his face after his car accident to Till’s face after it was brutally altered in his lynching. 


“On the plane scared as hell that her guy look like Emmett Till”


Later on, he talks about being in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, referencing that it is the same hospital that The Notorious B.I.G. passed away after being in a drive-by shooting that led to his death. 


“In the same hospital where Biggie Smalls died

The doctors said I have blood clots, but I ain’t Jamaican, man”


He then finishes the first part of the song with a line talking about being on MTV and national news. He claims he doesn’t want to be in the spotlight by saying “I ain’t tryna make a band” which translates to him saying he doesn’t want to make any noise. 


“Story on MTV and I ain’t tryna make a band 

 I swear, this right here, history in the makin’, man”


Kanye then uses the chorus from “Through the Fire” again while he speaks on his treatment of his broken jaw. He talks about getting his mouth wired shut for six weeks, getting reconstructive surgery on his jaw, and looking in the mirror and seeing his jaw for the first time after the crash. Kanye then goes into his second set of verses. He spends this entire second set singing about his career and reflects how he almost lost it. He begins talking about being born in Chicago and getting a deal from Roc-a-Fella records, one of the most popular labels at the time. He then rhythms the lyrics saying that the deal was for spoken words (rapping) and not about drugs or girls. 


“What if somebody from the Chi’ that was ill got a deal 

On the hottest rap label around?

But he wasn’t talkin’ ‘bout coke and birds 

It was more like spoken word, ‘cept he’s really puttin’ it down?”


Kanye then raps about the car crash itself. He talks about being in the right place at the wrong time and not wearing a seat belt. He is thankful that not wearing a seat belt did not kill him. 


“Good dude, bad night, right place, wrong time

In the blink of an eye, his whole life changed

If you could feel how my face felt 

You would know how Mase felt (Mason Bertha!)

Thank God I ain’t too cool for the safe belt”


Then Kanye sings about being sued by another person in the car and getting a lawyer to defend him in the case. He also talks about the accident being televised. 


“I swear to God, driver two wanna sue

I got a lawyer for the case, to keep what’s in my safe safe”


Kanye then wraps up the song, finishing it by reflecting on his life and turning his tragedy to triumph by making music through his wire. The song ends with one more repeat of the chorus of “Through the Fire” where Kanye jokes around not being able to get through a metal detector with the metal plate in his chin. 


Overall, the song is definitely one of my favorites that Kanye has sung. I feel that the beat is tremendous and that it is a song that you can really vibe to. The lyrics are well written and tell a story that relates with the title of the song. You can tell from the song how much effort was put into the piece and how much Kanye enjoyed writing it. Kanye really wanted to express his story through the song. He also uses lots of rhyming to help create a rhythm throughout the whole song that you can almost nod your head to. And on top of all of that, it included a sample from another song. That in itself added another dimension, creating a very solid song. In conclusion, I would very much recommend taking a listen to “Through the Wire” because it is such a well produced song that has unfortunately been lost in the new age of rap. I would rate this song a solid 9/10 due to catchiness and meaning behind the lyrics.

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Aidan Lawrence
Aidan Lawrence, Reporter
Aidan Lawrence is a senior at Hudson High School. This is his first year writing for The Explorer. Aidan enjoys playing soccer, golfing with his friends, listening to music and playing FIFA. He also enjoys spending time with his family during the small time they have together. Aidan is a part of the Hudson High School Varsity Soccer team and plays midfield and forward. He is also in the National Honors Society and Hudson Community First. Aidan enjoys writing about current news and sports and is looking forward to a great year with The Explorer.
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