As the months roll on and all the attendant hoopla subsides, Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo is proving to be one of the best albums of 2016, one that holds up as a worthy collection of music and not just a unique creative experiment or a magnet for controversy. That said, here comes the hoopla again.
In a new GQ interview, Kim Kardashian addresses the controversy around Kanye’s “Famous” lyric regarding Taylor Swift: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous.” You may recall that the day after TLOP’s Madison Square Garden release party, Swift confirmed that Kanye called her to discuss the song ahead of time but disputed reports that she approved the lyric. Now Kardashian says Kanye had a videographer in the studio recording the phone call and that Swift’s attorney later sent a letter demanding the tape be destroyed. Here’s the relevant passage from the feature:
Kanye and Taylor (or Kanye and Taylor’s rep) may both be telling the truth here — as they see it. Maybe the duo talked “sex” but not “bitch.” Maybe he misinterpreted her noncommittal politeness as implicit accord. Maybe they both hung up pleased they were finally on the same page.
But Kim says Taylor’s deep emotional wound is nonsense—okay, she says it’s a lie—and that there’s video proof, because a videographer was actually filming their phone call. Why? Because Kim’s husband commissions videographers to film everything when he’s recording an album, for posterity (and possibly, one day, a documentary). And this is where it gets sticky.
“She totally approved that,” Kim says, 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.” Kim is on a roll now, speaking faster and more animatedly than at any other point during our time together. “What rapper would call a girl that he was rapping a line about to get approval?”
Let’s stipulate here that Kim Kardashian West is not the kind of person who forgets that the tape-recorder light is blinking. But just because a rant is carefully chosen for its audience doesn’t mean it isn’t genuine.
Swift, Kim insists, “totally gave the okay. Rick Rubin was there. So many respected people in the music business heard that [conversation] and knew. I mean, he’s called me a bitch in his songs. That’s just, like, what they say. I never once think, [gasping] ‘What a derogatory word! How dare he?’ Not in a million years. I don’t know why she just, you know, flipped all of a sudden.… It was funny because [on the call with Kanye, Taylor] said, ‘When I get on the Grammy red carpet, all the media is going to think that I’m so against this, and I’ll just laugh and say, ‘The joke’s on you, guys. I was in on it the whole time.’ And I’m like, wait, but [in] your Grammy speech, you completely dissed my husband just to play the victim again.”
Were they in touch after that?
“No. Maybe an attorney’s letter she sent saying, ‘Don’t ever let that footage come out of me saying that. Destroy it.'”
She sent one?
According to GQ, Swift’s camp did not address questions about the video recording or their alleged request to destroy it, but they did issue a rebuttal to Kardashian’s story:
Taylor does not hold anything against Kim Kardashian as she recognizes the pressure Kim must be under and that she is only repeating what she has been told by Kanye West. However, that does not change the fact that much of what Kim is saying is incorrect. Kanye West and Taylor only spoke once on the phone while she was on vacation with her family in January of 2016 and they have never spoken since. Taylor has never denied that conversation took place. It was on that phone call that Kanye West also asked her to release the song on her Twitter account, which she declined to do. 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. Kanye West never played the song for Taylor Swift. Taylor heard it for the first time when everyone else did and was humiliated. Kim Kardashian’s claim that Taylor and her team were aware of being recorded is not true, and Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.
So, give or take a few juicy allegations, we’re basically right back where we started. Read the full interview with Kardashian here.