Oh, Kanye West. For as long as he has been in the spotlight, he has always managed to say something divisive and controversial. Whether it be claiming that the President didn't care about a minority class or that a certain singer deserved a VMA more than another, Kanye always manages to find some way to offend some sector of the public.

On February 14th, Kanye West released his latest album, The Life of Pablo, to rave reviews. However, most people were immediately fixated on a certain line. On the track Famous, Kanye West claims "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous." Fans of Kanye recognize this as something that Kanye West makes rather often in his songs - a joke. However, the media did not see it this way, and Taylor Swift took to the Grammy's stage to publicaly slam Kanye for the song. Meanwhile, Kanye took to Twitter, clamining it was Swift's idea all along. Clearly, those were the ramblings of a crazed lunatic, right? Or, could it have been that Kanye West was actually set up?

Let's rewind a little bit. On January 28th, there was a post on the Kanye West subreddit on Reddit, a popular forum for Kanye West discussion. The post was titled "What is your unpopular Kanye opinion?" Some of the higher rated comments discussed his, at the time, recent song Facts and his Twitter beef with Wiz Khalifa, but one comment, which gained traction, suggested that Taylor Swift should be happy about the VMA incident in 2009, because as a direct result, Kanye made her famous. The comment has since been manually deleted by the author, but you can tell what the comment said based on my reply.

Fast forward a bit to Kanye's Twitter rant about Swift. In a series of tweets, Kanye shifted the blame to Taylor herself, claiming she came up with the lines in the first place. He mentions that, while having dinner with her and an unnamed friend, Taylor Swift joked "I can't be mad at Kanye because he made me famous!"

The wording of Kanye's tweet is eerily similar to the wording of the Reddit comment, almost as though the commentator had inside knowledge. Is it possible that somebody in Taylor Swift's camp made the comment to gauge the reaction of Kanye West fans, perhaps so Taylor could suggest Kanye add the lines to a song, knowing it would be controversial and give Taylor an opportunity to get more publicity for herself? Perhaps, but it could all be mere coincidence. After all, Taylor Swift denies having even heard the song, so it's a he-said/she-said between Swift and West.

However, Ken Ehrlich, Grammy producer, mentioned that Taylor Swift did indeed have an advance copy of the song in question, and reacted in a funny way, just as Kanye West tweeted. In fact, she had gone into rehearsals a few weeks prior to the Grammys commenting on the track. Ehrlich later went on to rescind the very specific comments as him having "misheard" Ms. Swift. It is rather strange considering Ehrlich seemed to have been attentive enough to remember that Swift was commenting on lines that mentioned her, and it seems Ehrlich may have been forced to retract his statement. Other parties, such as influential radio personality Charlamagne Tha God, also confirm that Taylor Swift knew about the song and purposefully turned it back onto Kanye, claiminging inside sources. In addition, during Kanye West's frustrated rant backstage at Saturday Night Live, or as the media termed it, his "meltdown", Kanye West mentions Taylor Swift, calling her a "fake ass." The video was filmed secretly while Kanye was in private with his music team. Is there any reason for Kanye to say that in private to himself if he did not really believe it? Kanye West may actually be genuinely upset that Taylor Swift played him.

It should be noted that Taylor Swift has not directly called out Kanye West. Instead, she has responded in a very calculated manner, having her publicist respond directly about Kanye, and having her Grammy speech not include any names. Swift still has plausible deniability if she chooses to reveal much later that she did give blessings to West and had no hand in her publicist's statement. It should also be noted that, given his penchant for negative publicity, Kanye is rather unaffected by the drama. After all, all publicity is good publicity, and though people may be slamming him, everybody and their mother is talking about Kanye West. Not all celebrities are slamming him, however. Selena Gomez, best friend of Taylor Swift and influential member of Swift's Squad, seemed ambivalent to the situation. When interviewed on SiriusXM, Gomez responded "Everybody has their own opinion. At the end of the day, you can just do what you do." Curiously, the media tends to frame this statement as backing Taylor and slamming Kanye, though the statement seems to be rather dismissive of the whole situation. Perhaps Selena Gomez does not agree with Swift's supposed methods?

Another individual who has taken to defending Kanye West is Whoopi Goldberg. As an aside, Goldberg always tends to be the voice of reason and critical thinking on The View, whereas everybody else seems keen on simply yelling words. In a February 18th clip from The View, Goldberg offered that Kanye is merely very confident in himself. She offered that society wants young black men to have egos, but when one comes around, society rebukes him. Whoopi wonders aloud if it may be a racist or sexist issue that causes people to be offended by Kanye West's bragadoccio. Indeed, a Highsnobiety article claims that Kanye West and Taylor Swift are the same, just one is a black male without a filter and another is a white female who humblebrags.

Perhaps Kanye West did not really clear the lyric through Taylor Swift, and she was genuinely upset by it. Perhaps Taylor Swift planned the whole thing and used it to her advantage. As usual, there are three sides to the story, and we may never know what really happened. As a closing note, perhaps we should have listened to Katy Perry a couple of years ago.

Written by Jose Valdez-Hernandez

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIUzLpO1kxI Hurricane Katrina Telethon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4xWU8o2cvA VMAs 09 Incident
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPOPtQIEQt0 Grammys 16 Speech
https://twitter.com/kanyewest?lang=en Feb 12th Taylor comments
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bYuyZ2O128 SNL "meltdown" video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAm_iPJikK8 Whoopi Goldberg defense on The View


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