Taylor Swift and Kanye West feud: A brief history of the pair's relationship

The pair's very public back and forth dates back to 2009

Olivia Blair
Monday 18 July 2016 17:21 BST
Taylor Swift and Kanye West feud: A brief history of the pair's relationship

Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s up-and-down friendship has been marked by award ceremony fallouts and make-ups, extravagant flower arrangements and now an apparent leaked phone call recording.

The latest development has seen Selena Gomez, Chloe Grace Moretz and Khloe Kardashian appear to respond and prompted Swift to request on Instagram: “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009".

Below is a brief history of the feud and seemingly short-lived friendship.

2009 VMA awards

When 19-year-old Swift won the Best Female Video at the MTV VMAs and prepared to give her acceptance speech, West stormed the stage, took the microphone and uttered his infamous “Imma let you finish but…” line, proclaiming to millions of viewers his opinion Swift had wrongly received the reward and Beyonce should have won instead. West was reportedly asked to leave the ceremony and Beyonce later gave Swift the opportunity to give her acceptance speech when she actually did win an award later that night.

(Getty) (Christopher Polk/Getty)

The Chicago-born rapper was widely condemned over the incident including by President Obama who was recorded branding West a “jackass”. The 38-year-old apologised for the incident several times over the years.

Public showing at award ceremonies

It wasn't until nearly six years later the pair appeared to have made amends when they were pictured together at the Grammy and Brit awards in 2015.

A few months later, the “Trouble” singer told Vanity Fair their healing of relations was in part due to West’s mentor, and Beyonce’s husband, Jay Z.

“I feel like I wasn’t ready to be friends with him until I felt like he had some sort of respect for me, and he wasn’t ready to be friends with me until he had some sort of respect for me—so it was the same issue, and we both reached the same place at the same time," she said. "It started with Jay Z and I think it was important, for Jay Z, for Kanye and I to get along. It started with both of us really liking Jay and wanting him to be happy. And then Kanye and I both reached a pace where he would say really nice things about my music and what I’ve accomplished and I could ask him how his kid’s doing.”

Taylor Swift, Jay Z, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian at the 2015 Grammy awards (Getty)

In the interview, Swift also spoke of her adoration for West’ wife Kim Kardashian-West: “I love Kim. She’s the sweetest. She’s just a really sweet, kind, warm person.”

In September 2015, Swift and West later shared the VMA stage once again but this time it was for the singer to present the rapper with the Vanguard award. The 26-year-old told a crowd West’s debut album The College Dropout was the first album she bought online as a teenager.

Days later she posted a photograph of the flowers West bought her to say thank-you complete with a #bffs hashtag which received 2.6million likes on Instagram.​


However, this rosy relationship was short-lived. In February, West held an extravagant fashion show-come-album listening party at Madison Square Gardens where he played his track “Famous” which contains the lyric “For all my southside n****s that know me best/ I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous.” Reports followed suggesting Swift approved the line, however, it wasn’t long before she issued a statement denying so and claiming she had "cautioned [West] over releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message". Her brother, Austin, also made a point of filming himself throwing his Yeezy trainers (designed by West) in the bin.

Days later when Swift became the first woman to win Album of the Year twice at the Grammys, she appeared to make a thinly veiled dig at West warning women against people who will attempt to “undercut your success or take credit for their accomplishments”.

West later issued a string of tweets reiterating his claim Swift approved the lyric.

A couple of months later, his wife Kardashian-West entered the forum, giving a revealing interview to GQ magazine, claiming Swift “totally approved” the lyric. “She wanted to act like she didn’t. I swear my husband gets so much s**t for things when he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved.” The reality television mogul also claimed she had the apparent phone call recorded.

Swift again denied she approved the lyric in a statement through her representatives: “Kanye West never told Taylor he was going to use the term ‘that bitch’ in referencing her. A song cannot be approved if it was never heard […] Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.”

A month later, West released the video for “Famous” which generated as much debate as the single. The video depicts naked wax-like figures of a number of high-profile individuals including Donald Trump, Caitlyn Jenner and Amber Rose. The video also includes a wax-figure of Swift, who did not comment on the video. West said the video was a “comment on fame” but the video also received criticism for misogyny over the inclusion of figures depicting Rihanna and Chris Brown alongside each other.

'Secret' recording

The latest event in the seven-year debacle comes as Kardashian-West appeared to then bring the apparent recording of the phone call to fruition by publishing a series of clips to Snapchat where Swift and West can be heard discussing “Famous”.

In one clip, West recites the lyric: “For all my southside n****s that know me best/ I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex”. Swift can be heard on the audio thanking West for running the line past her and saying it’s like a “compliment”. In the footage, West isn’t shown saying the following line: “I made that bitch famous".

Swift responded to the Snapchat by accusing the married couple of two years of “character assassination” and reiterating she never knew she was going to be referred to as “that bitch” and did not hear the song ahead of its release.

What will next unfold in this ongoing "narrative" is anyone's guess.

Read the transcript of the Snapchat recording in full:

Kanye West: Okay, dope – you still got the Nashville number?

Taylor Swift: I still have the Nashville area code, but I had to change it.

[cuts to Kanye rapping] KW: “For all my southside n****s that know me best, I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.”

TS: I’m like, this close to over exposure.

KW: Oh well, I think this is a really cool thing to have.

TS: I know. It’s like a compliment, kind of.

KW: What I give a f**k about is just you as a person, and as a friend, I want things that make you feel good. I don’t wanna do rap that makes people feel bad.

TS: Umm I mean, yeah. Go with whatever line you think is better. It’s obviously very tongue in cheek either way. And I really appreciate you telling me about it. That’s really nice.

KW: Oh, yeah. I just had a responsibility to you as a friend, and thanks for being so cool about it.

TS: Aw, thanks, um, yeah. I really appreciate it, like, the heads up is so nice. [muffled] without like even asking or seeing if I would be okay with it and I just really appreciate it. Like, I never would have expected you to like, tell me about a line in one of your songs.

KW: It’s pretty crazy.

TS: And then the flowers that you sent me, I like Instagrammed a picture of them and it’s like the most Instagram likes I’ve ever gotten. It was like 2.7 [Snapchat ends]

KW: Relationships are more important than punch lines, you know?

TS: Yeah! I don’t think anyone would listen to that and be like “That’s a real diss, she must be crying.” It’s just, you’ve got to tell the story that way it happened to you and the way that you experienced it. You honestly didn’t know who I was before that. It doesn’t matter that I sold 7 million of that album before you did that which is what happened, you didn’t know who I was before that. It’s fine.

TS: I might be in debt, but I can make these things happen. I have the ideas to do it and I create these things and concepts. I’m always going to respect you. I’m really glad that you have the respect to call me and tell me that as a friend about the song. It’s a really cool thing to do and a really good show of friendship so thank you.

KW: Thank you too.

TS: And you know, 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. Joke’s on you guys, we’re fine.’ You guys want to call this a feud; you want to call this throwing shade but right after the song comes out I’m going to be on a Grammys red carpet and they’re going to ask me about it and I’ll be like ‘he called me.’ It’s awesome that you’re so outspoken about this and be like 'Yeah, she does. It made her famous.' It’s more provocative to say ‘might still have sex.’ It doesn’t matter to me. There’s not one that hurts my feelings and one that doesn't.

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