Taylor Swift vs Kanye West: Tracing one of the most problematic and spiraling celebrity rivalries of all time
Taylor Swift and Kanye West have been at it since he dissed her publicly during her first VMA's acceptance speech in 2009
It looks like the Kanye West and Taylor Swift feud is still on and still raging. On Friday, March 20, a full-length video of West and Swift's 2016 phone conversation, with regard to the former's lyrics for his single 'Famous', was leaked online and generated a whole lot of buzz. Initially, Kim Kardashian had publicly exposed an edited snippet of the video via her Snapchat in 2016.
The leaked 25-minute video is now answering several questions about their infamous 10-year-old feud. Just when you think that all is calm and the two may have made amends, a plot twist pops out of the blue.
Here's how the longstanding rivalry came about in the first place.
'Imma let you finish, but...'
On September 13, 2009, Kanye West interrupted Swift's acceptance speech at the VMA. Just as she was about to begin her speech, West strode up the stage and grabbed the mic from Swift, saying "Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish... but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time."
Speaking to ABC Radio, Swift revealed that West had called her soon after the mishap to apologize to her. "Kanye did call me and he was very sincere in his apology, and I accepted that apology,” she added.
'32, and still growing up now'
Exactly a year later, on September 13, 2009, Swift debuted her new single 'Innocent', which featured lines like "Who you are is not what you did / You're still an innocent", "32, and still growing up now", and "You'll have new Septembers". Many listeners thus speculated that the song was about the then 32-year-old West.
West and Swift were spotted together backstage at the Grammy Awards on February 8. They seemed friendly and were ever engaged in a conversation. Later that year at the VMAs on August 30, Swift presented West with an award.
'I made that b***h famous"
Kanye released his chart-topping single 'Famous' on February 11, 2016, which featured the lyrics: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b***h famous." The very next day Swift's rep released a statement blatantly stating that the singer hadn't approved of the lyrics, despite West saying the 'Lover' singer “thought it was funny and gave her blessings" in a tweet that has since been deleted.
Four days later, at the Grammy Awards, Swift discreetly called out West in her acceptance speech for 'Album of the Year', saying, "As the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who are going to try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or fame, but you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you."
On June 16, Kim Kardashian, West's wife, in an interview with GQ slammed Swift for reportedly lying. "She totally approved that,” Kim said, shaking her head in annoyance. “She totally knew that that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn’t. I swear, my husband gets so much shit for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved," she added. “What rapper would call a girl that he was rapping a line about to get approval?” The next day, she took to Twitter to indirect Swift and called her a 'snake'.
Less than a month later, West released the music video for 'Famous', which featured a wax figure of Swift, lying next to him in the nude.
Kardashian posted snippets of a video documenting West's phone call with Swift where he is seen talking to her about the lyrics in his song. Swift's responded saying, "If people ask me about it, I think it would be great for me to be like, ‘Look, he called me and told me the line before it came out. Like, joke’s on you guys, we’re fine."
That same day, Swift took to Instagram to share her side of the story: “Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that b***h’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that bitch’ in front of the entire world. Of course, I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song. I wanted us to have a friendly relationship", she said.
A year later, on August 27, 2017, Swift released the first single off her album 'Reputation', titled 'Look What You Made Me Do', which aptly described is a whole bunch of shade thrown at Kardashian and West.
In an interview with Rolling Stone on September 18, 2019, Swift didn't hold back from telling the world what she thought about West. Opening up about their feud, she said, “I realized he is so two-faced. That he wants to be nice to me behind the scenes, but then he wants to look cool, get up in front of everyone and talk shit.”
'What really matters'
The new video that leaked online on March 21, 2020, is clear footage of West's phone call with Swift discussing the lines he included about her in his song 'Famous'. He's seen animatedly explaining the lyrics to her, "I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex" (it was later changed). Taylor's response to him is positive where she sounds positive and says, “I’m glad it’s not mean, I thought it was going to be like, ‘that stupid dumb b***h.’”
Since the 25-minute video surfaced online, Swift has used the attention it has garnered to call upon her fans and draw focus to "what really matters" and donate to charities during "this crisis". On her Instagram stories, the 'You Need to Calm Down' singer linked the donation page for Feeding America and also urged her fans who have the privilege to do so, to also donate to the World Health Organization during these trying times.