Kanye Vs. Taylor. The final weigh-in?
By Benjamin Irons
When Mr. West brutally cut short Taylor Swift during her notorious acceptance speech at the MTV VMA’s in 2009, it would no doubt go on to become one of the most talked about events in music during that year and, resultantly, for years to come. But did anybody expect that 7 years later their feud would be as stagnant as their infamous first encounter? No. And you’d be lying if you did. That is, if you take into account their totally dissimilar career paths; one, a country music girl turned highest paid female musician, the other, a shutter-shaded rapper turned self-confessed "God". Put the two together and the rivalry pursued seems rather haphazard.
But despite the contrary, the days following the on-stage incident saw a rather apologetic Kanye on The Jay Leno Show, as he admitted: “I immediately knew that in this situation I was wrong.” But of course, no scuffle involving Taylor Swift would be complete without making a song and dance about it – which is exactly what the then 20 year-old did. And what better time to unveil the tune via the one-year anniversary of the MTV VMA’s in 2010, the very place at which the singer/songwriter became the first country music artist to win an MTV VMA a year prior.
It would then only take two months for Kanye to retract the comments made in his initial apology (claiming his act was only a response to Taylor not being fully deserved of the award) and a further two-and-a-half years before he would write off the apology entirely. The Yeezus star spoke out about the episode in 2013 and said he has “no regrets” about interrupting Swift, adding that anybody expecting an apology should “stop reading right now”. He later conceived that his original apology was down to peer-pressure.
Strangest of all, August of 2015 saw Swift present West with the Video Vanguard Award at the VMA’s. This, and other acts of civility through the rest of the year including joining forces in a bid for the 2020 presidency, seemingly established the pair as friends – for now. But, like most good things that must come to an end, unsurprisingly, so too did the brief companionship between Ms. Swift and Mr. West.
What had previously looked to be the final chapter in a seemingly never-ending fracas, ended up taking a more serious turn. Lead single “Famous” from Kanye’s eagerly-awaited seventh studio album The Life Of Pablo, released earlier this year, features an oh-so typically controversial lyric from the rapper: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex; Why? I made that bitch famous”. The track was soon run through with a fine toothcomb and has since bolstered a large amount of speculation about Swifts involvement in the lyrical content of the track. A representative of the singer commented:
“Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account”, adding: “Taylor was not made aware of the actual lyric, “I made that bitch famous”.”
But wife Kim has cashed in, claiming Swift approved the track’s lyrics. The proof? Not only were many of the album’s producers, including Def-Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin, present during the phone call between the two artists, but the conversation was allegedly filmed by the reality TV star in the event of such problems arising. In the days since threats were made by the couple to release the footage, Swift has posted this on her Instagram account:
Header illustration by talented pixel artist Pixel Jeff