At the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, West interrupted Taylor Swift, outraged that her video for “You Belong With Me” defeated Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” for Best Female Video. His now-famous words: “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” Since then, his apology has evolved in typically Westian fashion: epically, arrogantly, brilliantly.
September 13, 2009
While the MTV VMAs are still airing, Kanye apologizes on his blog—sort of. “i’m sooooo sorry to taylor swift and her fans and her mom … i’m in the wrong … i’m not crazy yall, i’m just real. sorry for that!!! i really feel bad for taylor and i’m sincerely sorry!!!”
September 14, 2009
On The Jay Leno Show, he says, “It was rude, period … I don’t try to justify it, because I was just in the wrong … But I need to, after this, take some time off.”
Seemingly shamed, West disappears. His tour with Lady Gaga is canceled; he moves to Japan, then Rome, then Hawaii, where he lives for six months.
September 4, 2010
In a Twitter frenzy, West complains, “I became George Bush overnight … If you Google asshole, my face may very well pop up … The media have successfully painted the image of the ANGRY BLACK MAN, the King Kong theory … Who’s seen the play Wicked? … It’s my story!!! The Wicked Witch of the West basically is so convicted to tell her truth [that] when she does it, she is outcasted … I only want to do good … I’m sorry Taylor.”
September 12, 2010
At the VMAs again, a year later, West debuts his new song “Runaway,” both embracing and lamenting his terrible treatment of women: “Let’s have a toast for the douchebags!”
November 3, 2010
George W. Bush says the “most disgusting” moment of his presidency was West’s post-Katrina comment that Bush didn’t “care about black people.” West replies: “With [Bush], it was a lack of compassion of him not rushing … down to New Orleans. With me, it was a lack of compassion of cutting someone off … I think we’re all quick to pull a race card in America. The poetic justice … now I really more connect with [Bush] on just a humanitarian level.”
November 4–7, 2010
West takes credit for Swift’s sales: “That spawned her to have 1 million magazine covers and be the most popular artist in the world … I do feel bad about being the cause of that.” Later, he adds: “It’s like, what’s so arrogant about that moment? If anything, it’s selfless … I’m not pandering.”
November 22, 2010
Kanye’s album will include the bonus track “See Me Now”: “Immature adult? Uh-huh. Insecure asshole? What else? … I’ma let you finish, but I got Beyoncé on the track … Black excellence, baby … We the greatest in the world!” It’s like he never apologized at all.