Kanye West is opening up about his health, revealing he underwent a 2016 liposuction procedure and that he takes medications following his mental breakdown and hospitalization that fall.
“I think I’m in a stronger place than I ever was after the breakdown, or I like to say the breakthrough,” the rapper, 40, told iHeartRadio’s The Breakfast Club‘s Charlamagne the God in an interview that was released on Tuesday.
Claiming the breakdown was caused by “fear, stress, being controlled and manipulation,” West also reflected on the emotions that led to feeling like “a pawn in a chess piece of life.”
“[I was] stressing things that create validation that I didn’t need to worry about as much. The concept of competition, and being in competition with so many elements at one time,” he said.
At the time of his hospitalization, multiple sources told PEOPLE that West underwent treatment for sleep deprivation. (Remaining dates of his Life of Pablo tour were canceled in November 2016.)
“I’m happy it happened. I’m happy to have gone to the other side and back,” West told Charlamagne about being hospitalized. “I can’t express to you how traumatizing that moment is [when your friends and family leave the hospital] and then you wake up drugged the f— out.”
And when asked if he’s currently on medications, West said, “Most definitely. It’s an imperfect solution because it calmed me down. But there’s a lot of ways to calm down. Let ‘Ye be ‘Ye.”
Though he is taking medications, the star said he has yet to seek help from a therapist.
“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.”
He added, “I want to change the stigma of 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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Another factor that led to West’s 2016 hospitalization was a previously unpublicized liposuction procedure — a surprise to many, given that the rapper’s mother Donda died of heart disease following plastic surgery complications in 2007.
West spoke with TMZ on Tuesday about his struggle with opioids due to the procedure he underwent days before.
“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 while pointing to the staff in-studio.
“I got liposuction because I didn’t want y’all to call me fat like y’all called Rob [Kardashian] at the wedding and made him fly home before me and Kim got married. I didn’t want y’all to call me fat so I got liposuction, right? And they gave me opioids, right? And I started taking two of them and then driving to work on the opioids,” he said.
West also admitted that at the time, he took a total of seven pills a day.
“Then there was talks in my camp like ‘Ye’s popping pills. … Two days later, I’m in the hospital. I was taking two pills a day at the time. When I left the hospital, how many pills do you think I was given? Seven! I went from taking two pills to taking seven. So the reason that I dropped those tweets and everything is because I was drugged the f— out,” he continued.
West also points to lack of radio play after he released his 2016 single “Saint Pablo” off his seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo, as causing undue stress.
“Ever since the Taylor Swift moment, it just had never been the same, the connection with radio,” West revealed, adding that the “radio element was just one of the factors” to his breakdown.
(It is unclear if West was referring to the incident at the 2009 MTV VMAs, when the rapper rushed the stage while Swift was accepting an award to declare, “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time,” or their 2016 back-and-forth over the lyrics to West’s song “Famous.” The rapper claimed that he had received Swift’s permission to name-drop her following a conversation with the star prior to Kim Kardashian West leaking the edited phone call. Swift’s rep told PEOPLE at the time, “Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyrics, ‘I made that bitch famous,’ while Swift herself clapped back in an Instagram post, writing, “Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. … He promised to play the song for me, but he never did. While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot ‘approve’ a song you haven’t heard.”)
He also listed other “factors” including Kim Kardashian‘s October 2016 robbery, which he called “the situation with my wife in Paris,” as well as the public scrutiny he received when his Yeezy season 3 fashion show started 45 minutes late during New York Fashion Week in September 2016.
“It affected me because I’m an artist and it affected me emotionally. It’s like all these things were set up to put me on meds to break me down,” West said. “The robbery, I don’t know where that came from. Was that a bigger plan? A bigger setup? Also being on stage four times a week. You get exhausted up there.”
West’s two latest interviews come after multiple sources told PEOPLE that his private behavior has been a cause for concern.
The rapper has cut off contact with many members of his inner circle, including his managers, lawyers, closest friends and he’s also had multiple arguments with his mother-in-law Kris Jenner, according to several sources.
(However, another insider said that “Kanye and Kris have never had a fight, adding, “Just because Kanye is having a strong opinion does not mean that he is mentally ill or headed for a breakdown. It’s unfair.”)
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