Kanye West’s Been Getting Flak For Recent Statements But His Major Moment With Taylor Swift Was Just Ranked As One Of The ‘Worst Decisions’ In Music History

These days, it feels like Kanye West is making headlines for anything but his music. Over the past few months, the rapper has gotten flak due to controversial statements that he’s made. He has specifically shared anti-Semitic sentiments and falsehoods regarding the death of George Floyd. Of course, West has a history of committing polarizing acts, and one that remains in the public consciousness is his viral moment with Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs. And over a decade later, the brouhaha has been ranked one of the “worst decisions” in music history. 

What Happened Between Kanye West And Taylor Swift During The Awards Show?

It was at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards that Taylor Swift won Best Female Video for her hit song “You Belong with Me.” Of course, as she accepted the honor, Kanye West notoriously made his way to the stage and interrupted her speech. From there, he said that he was “really happy” for Swift but declared that “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” Those in the audience (including “Queen Bey” herself) and plenty of people at home were shocked by the rapper’s actions, so it’s not too surprising that the televised intrusion hasn’t aged well. 

Rolling Stone recently ranked the 50 “Worst Decisions” in the history of the music, and the 2009 VMAs snafu was designated No. 5. Writing for the storied publication, Andy Greene recalled the blowback West experienced and how even then-U.S. president Barack Obama referred to it as a “jackass” move. Greene acknowledged that the moment is essentially small potatoes compared to what the fashion mogul has been doing lately. However, the journalist still believes that the situation set the rapper on the controversial path that he’s travelled in recent years. 

There Was Drama Between Ye, Taylor Swift And Kim Kardashian Following The Debacle

Kanye West’s decision ultimately set off a feud involving him, Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian, the rapper’s now-estranged wife. In 2016, West released the single “Famous,” in which he referenced the Midnights curator. In the song, the artist mused, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I made that bitch famous.” At the time, West claimed he’d been given approval from Swift to use the lyric but, shortly after, her team shut down that claim. 

Months later, Kim Kardashian released video clips from an alleged phone conversation between the two music stars, during which Swift purportedly gave Ye her blessing. (A longer version of said call was dropped in 2020). Swift has since sought to remove herself from the drama, though she did seem to call out West and Kardashian in her 2017 single, “Look What You Made Me Do.”

How Kanye West Handled The VMAs Drama At The Time

Though Ye has rarely ever been one to shy away from the spotlight, he did have to take a breather in the immediate aftermath of the VMAs fiasco. The star recalled that period of time while at a footwear event in 2020 (via People) and explained how he handled the attention: 

After the infamous Taylor Swift moment, I sort of did a little self-exile, just to get away from paparazzi and to have people not, you know, just fucking with me constantly. I went to Hawaii and took all the creative energy that I wanted to express and we put it into an album called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. … We’d vistit Stockholm on the weekends. That was in my single days. It was fun. It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t as miserable experience as some might think. My exile was pretty fun and stuff: ‘What does Kanye do when he pissed every person off in the planet? He goes Stockholm and dances.

Kanye West hasn’t gone into hiding amid his more recent controversies. In fact, he’s doubled down on his sentiments and even said that the backlash is proving the points he wants to make regarding cancel culture. West has lost various business deals as a result and is also facing a hefty lawsuit from George Floyd’s family. As mentioned, it’s fair to say that his Taylor Swift debacle doesn’t come close to being as serious as these latest incidents. The ranking is, however, still a sharp reminder that his stunt at the VMAs will forever live in infamy as well.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.