February 22 was a big day for Kanye West. Not only was it the supposed release date for his new album, Donda 2, but he also held the latest stadium listening event for the album in Miami, Florida just as the second episode of the Netflix documentary about him, Jeen-Yuhs, went live. Fans have a lot of Kanye content to sort through, but one of the earliest points of discussion to emerge from the new documentary episode revolves around Kanye’s first big solo hit.
After putting in several years at Roc-A-Fella Records as a hit-making producer, Kanye was ready to show the world that he could also be a hit-making rapper in his own right. However, after being signed as an artist, he felt that he was losing momentum after the near-death auto crash that left his mouth wired shut while he recovered. Those experiences formed the basis of his breakout single, “Through The Wire,” which sampled the Chaka Khan classic “Through The Fire” and introduced Kanye as an artist that deserved to be taken seriously.
However, before he put it out, he wanted the seal of approval from some of his peers, which included Pharrell Williams of The Neptunes — whose reaction upon hearing the single for the first time has tickled fans on Twitter. As Kanye finishes playing the song’s second verse, Pharrell, apparently overcome with his impression of Kanye’s final bar, simply walks out of the studio to collect himself. When he returns, he still seems in disbelief that Kanye not only spit such a heartfelt verse, but did so with his mouth wired shut (as a bonus, the version played in the footage contains the rough vocals, which Ye re-recorded later for the version that eventually hit retail).
Look how Pharrell reacted to through the wire 🐐🐐🐐 pic.twitter.com/PPwtHWaXiz
— Danny⭕️H (@TheDannyOh) February 23, 2022
“That sh*t is phenomenal,” he praises. “You’re one of my favorite artists… and I only heard two records. You’re gonna make it, and when you make it, keep the same perspective. Still keep the same hunger.” While it’s arguable whether Kanye has managed to do that over the past few years, it’s still an intriguing, eye-opening look into what was undoubtedly a defining moment for the then-young producer-turned-rapper.
Pharrell’s reaction to “Through The Wire” pic.twitter.com/p8owJK66lH
— Fat Grant (@ZaccheusIAm) February 23, 2022
That Pharrell clip listening to "through the wire" for the 1st time, chills everywhere #JeenYuhs
— Nkemeleng (@Nkemeleng_) February 23, 2022
Even Pharrell was blown away by Through the wire. What a song man!
— Midas (@MI1DAS) February 23, 2022
Nigga had to run out of the room when he heard Through The Wire 😭 https://t.co/2ZuSMcSs0U
— . (@RiqRuler) February 23, 2022
me watching the story behind through the wire pic.twitter.com/OGNd6Iqi4a
— riv (@achillelsen) February 23, 2022
through the wire enough to make a man cry pic.twitter.com/wAGCbpHHuT
— max (@thehornyoreo) February 23, 2022
How Me and Pharrell walked out after hearing “Through the Wire” for the first time pic.twitter.com/QgV5wtnDv6
— 🇬🇭 Chale (@Suzuki_Bj) February 23, 2022
Pharrell Williams walking out the studio in awe because Kanye played through the wire for him. Insane.
— Terrell. (@offblackterrell) February 23, 2022