In Defense of Kanye West’s “Famous”


With all the controversy surrounding the release of Kanye West’s “Famous”, the perceived attack on Taylor Swift may be a bit overblown

Last Thursday, Kanye West premiered his new album The Life of Pablo to a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden, as well as thousands watching live streams in theaters around the world and millions watching online live streams through Tidal.

Although the performance was generally well received, as with anything Kanye does, there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the release.

I happened to be an attendee of the live stream at a theater in Bloomington. I sat in an uncomfortable seat, watching a low resolution video for an hour and a half with 75 other Kanye devotees who reacted to every clothing item shown, every celebrity who walked out, and of course, every hard hitting lyric.

Heads around the room began bobbing as the first notes of the track “Famous” rang out. As soon as the controversial lyric was played, every hypebeast in the room knew that we had just heard something that was bound to take over our timelines over the course of the next 24 hours, but not on the scale that it did. We never could have predicted this reaction.

The simple words “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous” have caused the a great divide on the internet. This divide began in 2009 after the “Imma let you finish” incident, and it seems to have continued into 2015 with people deciding yet again whether they are team Yeezy or team TSwift.

The internet has exploded with hate for Kanye. Most notably Gigi Hadid and Ruby Rose have spoken out to side with Swift.

Swift’s younger brother also released a video of him throwing his Yeezy boots into a trash can claiming that he was “getting an early start on spring cleaning”.

Getting a head start on some spring cleaning. Here we go again.

A post shared by Austin Swift (@austinkingsleyswift) on

This last example of disdain for West seems unnecessary when he could have given me those boots instead of throwing them in the garbage, but I digress.

There’s been little support for the Kanye side, so I decided that I will be one of the few, and proud, to support what he chose to say.

Kanye made Taylor Swift famous.

Even though Taylor Swift was winning best female video VMAs, and getting airplay, this VMA incident is what created her image, and solidified Kanye’s. This has become such an iconic moment in pop culture history, not only because it proved that Yeezy is an arrogant asshole, but also because it is the moment that Taylor Swift became America’s sweetheart.

Swift became viewed as innocent, helpless, and naive. She became the ideal image of the girl next door who was attacked for no reason by the big, mean, music industry bully. Barack Obama even said in an interview after this incident that he thinks Kanye is a jackass. This really gave Taylor Swift the positive press she needed: it made teenage girls and the president alike think of her as a good person.

However, this also solidified Kanye’s image and aesthetic. After the VMA incident, everyone knew that Kanye was an asshole who’s really not afraid to do what he wants and say exactly what he thinks… and that’s exactly what he’s doing with these lyrics.

It’s something his fans idolize about him, because even when he looks like a fool: he’s being real. There’s nothing problematic about this lyric. Kanye believes he made Swift famous, and he’s saying so, and he’s saying they may still have sex.

Unlike Eminem saying he’d rape Lana Del Rey, Kanye implies nothing forced, he’s just saying that there’s potential of this event happening as he did do so much to catapult her career.

Obviously as this lyrical incident unfolded, Kanye took to Twitter to defend himself just as Taylor’s friends have done. He claimed that he had Kim Kardashian as well as Taylor Swift’s blessing to write and use this lyric.

Kanye said that he had even heard from a mutual friend that during a dinner conversation Swift had mentioned that Kanye did indeed make her famous. A representative of Swift said that this was not true and Swift had warned Kanye against releasing a song that conveyed such a misogynistic idea.

Since when is Swift an all-inclusive feminist icon that worries about misogynistic messages?

Since when is anyone expecting Kanye to say anything that isn’t crude? I mean for goodness sake, the man has a song that refers to him and his fantasy porn star wife both sleeping with the bridesmaids at their wedding! He’s not one for political correctness nor is he worried about not offending anyone.

Here’s the question: why have we all gone so sensitive to things said to Taylor Swift? Why does it bother the internet so much when Kanye refers to sleeping with her?

Is it because she never shows her belly button, so we can assume that she’d never have sex with Kanye because she’s a “good girl” or is it because since the VMAs incident everyone is looking for any excuse to hate the things that Kanye has to say?

I don’t know the answers here, but I do know that there was nothing wrong with the lyrics in “Famous”. We shouldn’t expect anything less than for Kanye to be crude, and shocking, because that is the aesthetic he has worked so hard to build.

We can’t be mad that he spoke his mind, because you know that the entire internet would be applauding if the roles were reversed and Swift did the same thing.

Morgan Hunt is a student journalist and personality at campus radio station WIUX 99.1 at Indiana University. Contact Morgan on Twitter at @_imnocaptain and Instagram for more on her thrilling life.

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