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When Kanye West tweeted support for Bill Cosby last Wednesday, my first response wasn’t anger; it was concern. It was a genuine concern that actually surprised me because I haven’t felt much of anything but disgust for the rapper since about 2005, except for when his mother passed away in 2007 (and maybe his appearance on Kris‘ short-lived talk show last year where he’d seemingly morphed into an entirely different person, voice and all). Outside of that, Ye has, in my eyes, become one of the most unsympathetic characters in the entertainment business. But as the days go by and Kanye’s Twitter taunts increasingly stir up drama from Hollywood to the news room, I keep anticipating a mental break. A very public, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey-esque mental break that, unlike conjecture about the musical genius liking fingers in his booty, will be no laughing matter.

Of course it doesn’t take a genius to see that something is “wrong” with Kanye, but most of the musings around his antics are light-hearted — or highly critical depending on the issue — but never analytical or pensive. Yeezy irritates us, his wife is the bane of most of our existences, and a lot of us had resigned that we lost our once conscious brother a long time ago, a long time ago. But whenever I catch something on Kanye’s timeline these days, I don’t see the same egomaniac, as I reduced him to, who snatched awards out of people’s hands or b-tched and moaned when he wasn’t chosen for a particular accolade. I literally see a man who is out of his mind, in the most clinical sense of the expression, and when Kanye’s former co-writer Rhymefest confirmed as much this past weekend, it no longer felt appropriate to to have a #KanyeIsCancelledParty on Twitter; it felt like time to examine how the man who once rapped about every trick in the entertainment industry book seemingly succumbed to all of them a mere 10 years in the game.

Here’s the insight Rhymefest shared on Twitter:

Now many will likely blame the Kardashians who, it goes without saying, have a long, documented history of dragging men through the dirt for fame’s sake, for Kanye’s downfall, but I’d argue the fact that he could even engage Kim in any manner beyond the calculated maneater that she is as proof some of Ye’s judgement was already impaired before he went sniffing around Kim K. and her empire. And as painful as the death of a parent is, many public and private figures have felt that pain and learned to cope with it in a healthy manner as the years passed. Kanye’s declined mental state of being seems to be beyond any superficial explanation an outsider could fathom.

While Monday afternoon Kanye showed a bit of uncharacteristic humility in asking Mark Zuckerberg for help to “make the world dope,” writing “I just feel like rich people are always too cool to ask for help,” what I really wish Ye would ask help for is to restore his mind and his spirit.

There are still remnants of the artist who brought us conscious classics like “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks” when you gaze at Kanye’s timeline. And I genuinely believe Ye does see his art as a service, albeit a very profitable one, and as a former fan of his music I also believe he has more to contribute. But, sadly, his legacy is starting to be reduced to a joke and that may be as much his fault as it is ours.

I don’t know what’s caused this mental break for Kanye and I think “fame” is far too simplistic of an explanation, but I do know society’s pattern of berating and breaking down some of our greatest entertainers in the midst of their struggles, throwing them away like yesterday’s trash and only recognizing their pain and reconciling their acting out once they’re in their graves. I won’t say Kanye is on par with Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston, but he is certainly great and equally troubled in his own right.

While it’s tempting to troll Ye’s timeline and rile him up for our own personal midday enjoyment, perhaps now isn’t the time to ask for more tweets and probably not even more music. Time might be better spent pleading with some of those entertainers and “friends” who’ve collaborated with Kanye over the years to reach out and try to help him heal. Sure it’s not as entertaining as poking fun at Yeezy with memes all over social media, but it’s much easier on the conscious.

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