In August 2015 it seemed that Kanye West and Taylor Swift’s rocky relationship had cooled off. Taylor gave Kanye his Video Vanguard Award at the MTV VMAs, and it looked like the interruption of 2009 had been forgotten about. It was a stage managed moment but it sent a clear message: times have changed and we’ve both moved on.
In the past 24 hours, though, a video of Taylor talking to Kanye about his song “Famous” appeared on Kim Kardashian’s Snapchat. Footage from the Snap Story appears to show that Taylor signed off on the lyrics to Kanye's "Famous." Taylor had always denied the suggestion that she had agreed to the song's lyrics, despite Kanye saying that she did. There’s been so much back and forth since "Famous" first debuted in February that it’s hard to remember every detail, so here’s a timeline of the song’s controversial life so far.
February 11: "Famous" is debuted at Yeezy Season 3.
The first play of "Famous" comes as part of a playback of The Life Of Pablo held at Madison Square Garden in New York. It’s the first time the world heard the line, I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ I made that bitch famous.
February 12: Kanye claims that Taylor was told about "Famous" in advance.
I did not diss Taylor Swift and I’ve never dissed her…— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
First thing is I’m an artist and as an artist I will express how I feel with no censorship— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
2nd thing I asked my wife for her blessings and she was cool with it— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
3rd thing I called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
4th Bitch is an endearing term in hip hop like the word Nigga— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
5th thing I’m not even gone take credit for the idea… it’s actually something Taylor came up with …— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
She was having dinner with one of our friends who’s name I will keep out of this and she told him— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
I can’t be mad at Kanye because he made me famous! #FACTS— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
February 12: Taylor Swift’s team issue a denial.
A message supplied to Billboard by Taylor’s rep read: “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single "Famous" on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, I made that bitch famous."
February 14: The Life Of Pablo is officially released.
“Famous” is now available via Tidal. The song would arrive on Spotify and Apple Music on April 1.
February 15: Taylor indirectly addresses Kanye at the Grammys.
“I want to say to the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” Taylor says during her Album of the Year acceptance speech. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you will 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.”
June 16: Kim Kardashian accuses Taylor Swift of "play[ing] the victim" in her GQ cover interview.
In the interview Kim says she has proof that Taylor approved Kanye’s request to mention her in the lyrics to “Famous.” “Rick Rubin was there. So many respected people in the music business heard that [conversation] and knew,” she told the magazine. “… 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.”
July 1: Kanye includes a waxwork figure of Taylor in the “Famous” video.
The video shows Kanye in bed with nude representations of Taylor, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Rihanna, and Chris Brown among others. Taylor has yet to publicly comment on the “Famous” video.
July 17: Kim leaks the phonecall between Kanye and Taylor.
Making good on her promise that she has taped footage of a conversation between Taylor and Kanye, Kim leaks the video on Snapchat after the latest episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians is broadcast on E!. The phonecall video shows Kanye telling Taylor about the song he has written, including some of the song’s lyrics. He tells her, “I want things that make you feel good. I don't wanna do rap that makes people feel bad.” She replies and says: “I mean, go with whatever line you think is better. It's obviously very tongue in cheek either way.”
July 17: Taylor responds to Kim leaking the phonecall.
That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet. pic.twitter.com/4GJqdyykQu— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) 18 July 2016
Later that same night Taylor responds and post a statement titled “That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet.” In the statement she repeats her claim that she was not asked, nor did she approve, being called “that bitch” in the song.