Kanye West reportedly threatened to walk off this weekend’s Saturday Night Live set before the live broadcast. An alleged recording of Kanye’s taken backstage features audio expressing rage over the staging of his musical performance, and then an added insult towards Taylor Swift, which harkens back to the latest development in the feud between him and Taylor: “Look at that sh*t. They took my f***ing stage off SNL without asking me. Now I’m bummed. That and Taylor Swift. Fake ass.”
Though the identity of the speaker has not yet been confirmed, relations between Kanye West and Taylor Swift have been rocky. At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor won the award for Best Female Video for “You Belong With Me” and began her acceptance speech. As she paused, Kanye stepped forth from the line of artists behind her and commandeered the microphone. “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!” he shouted to the audience.
While the crowd’s cheers transformed into boos, Taylor remained calm, but pursed her lips and shifted her gaze uncomfortably. Kanye later admitted to being rude and apologized for his interruption on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that same year. Taylor recounted on ABC Radio that Kanye even called her and “very sincerely” apologized. Taylor unveiled her new song “Innocent” the following year at the MTV VMAs as footage of Kanye’s interruption played on a side television monitor before the song. As a result, there was speculation that Taylor had aimed the song at Kanye, and a feud was born.
During an interview with the New York Times in 2013, Kanye backpedaled on his apology, attributing the impetus to peer pressure rather than remorse. “I don’t have one regret,” he stated. “If anyone’s reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now.”
Nevertheless, his relationship with Taylor Swift continued to appear cordial.
In 2015, they were seen laughing and hugging after the Grammys and even spotted having dinner together in New York. Yet the improvements in their relationship were upturned in 2016. On February 11th, Kanye performed “Famous” at New York Fashion week and denounced Taylor yet again. “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b***h famous (God Damn), I made that b***h famous,” he rapped.
The line not only contained misogynistic undertones but also attempted to refute Taylor Swift’s fame as hard-earned. Its timing proved to be uncanny, as Taylor would later become the first woman to win album of the year twice at the Grammys on February 15th. Given the circumstances, her acceptance speech seemed to partially address Kanye’s lyrical defamation.
“I wanna say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments, or your fame,” she said. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get to where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.” In light of recent events, it is apparent that the feud between the two artists has not been laid to rest.