The Taylor Swift / Kanye West feud is legendary and has been rumbling on for over 10 years – but we certainly didn’t think it’s what we were going to be writing about today.
Taylor Swift Reignites The Feud Out Of Nowhere
Kanye West had quite the busy week. He kicked it off on Sunday with his first campaign rally for his bid to be the President of the United States of America.
At the bizarre rally, he made rather offensive comments about Harriet Tubman and some outlandish comments about his wife, Kim Kardashian, and his daughter, North [Side note- tee-shirts to support him for President are available here].
Then, West had a bizarre Twitter rant in which he claimed Kim tried to lock him up and that he didn’t want his mother-in-law, Kris Jenner, around his children. Later in the week, he went on another Twitter rant, claiming he’s wanted a divorce from Kim and suggesting she cheated.
Then, today, this was all supposed to culminate in the release of his new album, Donda: With Child, and we were looking forward to reviewing it.
We awoke today to see that the album had not been released after all. Interestingly, yesterday, West’s long-time arch nemeses, Taylor Swift, also had some big news to share.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Swift announced that she was going to be releasing HER new album, Folklore, at midnight. Could this have had something to do with why Donda did not get released today?
A Long-Standing Beef
Let’s start with a review of West and Swift’s long-standing feud.
Their feud officially began on September 13th, 2009, at the MTV Music Video Awards. Taylor Swift had been awarded the Best Female Video award for her song ‘You Belong With Me.’ While she was giving her acceptance speech, Kanye randomly jumped onto the stage and took the microphone out of her hand.
“Yo, Taylor,” West said, after grabbing the microphone from her, “I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”
While he ended up giving her back the microphone after this bizarre interruption, her time to speak had more or less come to an end, with the majority of people only remembering West’s interruption rather than Swift’s speech.
West ended up appearing on the Jay Leno Show later that week, admitting that he was wrong, and he officially issued an apology on Twitter on September 4th, 2010.
West’s statement was the following: “I’m sorry, Taylor. We’re both artists, and the media and managers are trying to get between us. She deserves the apology more than anyone. Thank you Biz Stone and Evan Williams for creating a platform where we can communicate directly.” For a point of reference, Stone and Williams are the co-founders of Twitter.
Kanye Retracted His Apology
Almost one year to the date, Swift appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 12th, 2010. She debuted her new song, Innocent, and people immediately pointed to a line being about West. The specific line was “Who you are is not what you did, you’re still an innocent.”
Later in the year, West seemed to take back his apology, noting that Swift didn’t deserve to win the award, trying to explain that he was not really in the wrong. In 2013, in an interview with The New York Times,he officially doubled down on his lack of regret in regards to storming the stage during Swift’s acceptance speech, noting that he doesn’t “have one regret.”
Famous Lyrics Kept The Feud Alive
Fast-forwarding to 2015, things seemed to be getting better between the two. West had mentioned that he and Swift would possibly collaborate on music, and Swift presented West with an award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
As the expression goes, though, all good things come to an end. Although the two stood at a peaceful ground for a while, their feud reignited in a major way in early 2016.
In February of 2016, West debuted his song Famous. The song contains the now-infamous lyric “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that b*tch famous.”
While West said that he and Swift had spoken ad nauseam and she was in agreement regarding the song and the lyrics, Swift’s team released a statement that completely contradicted this.
“Kanye did not call for approval,” they said at the time, “but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, “I made that bitch famous.'”
Kim Kardashian Gets Involved – Calls Out Taylor Swift
Later that year, in June, [Kim] Kardashian ended up breaking her silence and inserting herself into their war.
In an interview Kardashian did with GQ,
she completely backed what West had said regarding Swift’s approval of Famous.
“She totally approved that,” Kardashian said at the time. “She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn’t. I swear, my husband gets so much sh*t for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved.”
In the GQ interview, Kardashian also revealed they had a recording of the phone call but Swift had threatened them legally not to release it. Specifically, Kardashian noted, “And then they sent an attorney’s letter like ‘Don’t you dare do anything with that footage,’ and asking us to destroy it.”
As June of 2016 progressed, West ended up releasing his music video for Famous in which he depicted himself and his wife asleep in bed, naked. As the camera panned out, we saw that a naked (wax character of) Swift was on the other side of him (along with others in the bed).
Not stepping down from her claims, in July of 2016 Kardashian released the video footage of West and Swift’s conversation via Snapchat. Here is the video:
As many noted, though, the line about “I made that b*tch famous” is not mentioned in this call.
Swift directly responded to this video with a tweet featuring a screenshot of a note she wrote out. She captioned the note “That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the internet.”
Here is the official note she wrote:
Taylor Gets Her Own Back
Then, in August of 2017, Swift dropped her single from her upcoming album Reputation. The song was entitled Look What You Made Me Do, and had Swift singing “I don’t like your little games, don’t like your tilted stage, the role you made me play, of the fool, no I don’t like you.” Understandably, many assumed this was about West.
In November, Swift ended up releasing Reputation and there were many lyrics people assumed were about the ongoing Swift/West feud. The two are examples:
- In I Did Something Bad, Swift sings “They’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one / They got their pitchforks and proof/Their receipts and reasons.” Fans assumed the ‘receipts’ lyric was about Kardashian posting the video of Swift and West’s conversation.
- In This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Swift sings “It was so nice being friends again, there I was giving you a second chance, but you stabbed me in the back while shaking my hand. And therein lies the issue, friends don’t try to trick you, get you on the phone and mind-twist you, And so I took an axe to a mended fence. But I’m not the only friend you’ve lost lately, hm hm, if only you weren’t so shady.” This is, undeniably, about West.
The Famous Tape Is Released And The Feud Kicks Off Again
While there were other interviews and elements of their ongoing feud that lingered for many years, 2020- which has been a crazy year in its own right- really got things going again.
In March of this year, just as the coronavirus pandemic was rearing its head, an unedited version of the infamous phone call between Swift and West suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Interestingly, West does mention to Swift the lyric about having sex with her that he would include in Famous. This doesn’t seem to bother her, but the unedited conversation proved Swift had never lied about the fact that the words “I made that b*tch famous” had never been discussed and she had never approved of them, contrary to what West and Kardashian had long said to be true.
Kardashian responded to this with a lengthy note, writing “Taylor Swift has chosen to reignite an old exchange – that at this point in time feels very self-serving given the suffering millions of real victims are facing right now. I didn’t feel that need to comment a few days ago, and I’m actually really embarrassed and mortified to be doing it right now, but because she continues to speak on it, I feel I’m left without a choice but to respond because she is actually lying.
To be clear the only issue I ever had around the situation was that Taylor lied through her publicist who stated that ‘Kanye never called to ask for permission…’ They clearly spoke so I let you all see that. Nobody ever denied the word “b*tch” was used without her permission. At the time when they spoke the song had not been fully written yet, but as everyone can see in the video, she manipulated the truth of their actual conversation in her statement when her team said she “declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message.
The lie was never about the word b*tch, it was always whether there was a call or not and the tone of the conversation. I never edited the footage (another lie) – I only posted a few clips to Snapchat to make my point and the full video that recently leaked doesn’t change the narrative.
To add, Kanye as an artist has every right to document his musical journey and process, just like she recently did through her documentary. Kanye has documented the making of all his albums for his personal archive. however has never released any of it for public consumption and the call between the two of them would have remained private or would have gone in the trash had she not lied and forced me to defend him.
This will be the last time I speak on this because honestly, nobody cares. Sorry to bore you all with this. I know you are all dealing with much more serious and important matters.”
A Swift Move
Finally, this takes us to yesterday. While West has been promoting his new work Donda: With Child as coming out today, Swift shocked the world with an Instagram post yesterday.
“Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening,” she wrote, “but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, folklore. Surprise 🤗Tonight at midnight I’ll be releasing my entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into. I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine; @aarondessner (who has co-written or produced 11 of the 16 songs), @boniver (who co-wrote and was kind enough to sing on one with me), William Bowery (who co-wrote two with me) and @jackantonoff (who is basically musical family at this point). Engineered by Laura Sisk and Jon Low, mixed by Serban Ghenea & Jon Low. The album photos were shot by the amazing @bethgarrabrant. Before this year I probably would’ve overthought when to release this music at the ‘perfect’ time, but the times we’re living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed. My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That’s the side of uncertainty I can get on board with. Love you guys so much ♥️.”
Obviously, fans were not expecting a new album from Swift. While they were delighted, it definitely seems like it would be too coincidental for her to drop her album the same day as West’s. Swift’s albums tend to always debut at #1 on the Billboard charts, so it’s possible that West decided to not release his album for that reason- i.e. not to have the competition. It’s also possible that West decided to shelve his album temporarily after her announcement due to him wanting the spotlight to be on his new work, rather than on the feud the two have had. Still, it’s also entirely possible West could drop the album later today. Clearly, with what’s been going on as of late, West is not the most predictable person.
Now that Swift’s new album is out in the universe, fans are already picking apart the lyrics at a rampant pace. While it’s not been reported that any lyrics are about West or Kardashian as of yet, Swift even dropping her surprise album on the same day West was supposed to drop his in and of itself seems like a major way to spark the feud back up. Whether intentionally or not, with this action Swift has certainly made her latest chess move- Kanye, it’s now up to you to decide if this is a checkmate or not.