1. The 2002 Lexus Car Crash
This is without a doubt Kanye West's definitive car moment, arguably the most definitive moment of his career. As immortalized in "Through the Wire," on October 23, 2002, Mr. West endured a near-fatal accident while driving in a rented Lexus in California. He received extensive facial reconstructive surgery "in the same hospital where Biggie Smalls died" and had his jaw wired shut for the following weeks.
The near-death experience resulted in Kanye expressing his feelings about the event on his breakthrough single, recorded with his jaw still wired shut. The emotional track served as the de facto introduction to Kanye the rapper, prompting both his peers and record execs to finally consider him as something more than a "producer-rapper." The rest is history.