Taylor Swift is finally telling her side of the story in her feud with Kanye West.
The “Lover” singer is on the cover of the new Rolling Stone and in the issue, sits down for a wide-ranging conversation about her career and all its ups and downs.
Among the downs has been her longtime feud with West, which started in 2009 after he famously interrupted her VMAs acceptance speech.
The acrimony came to a head in 2016 when Swift spoke out against a reference to her in his song “Famous” in which he rapped, “I made that b***h famous,” only to see his wife, Kim Kardashian, release recordings of a phone call in which Swift was heard seemingly approving of the lines about her in the song.
“The world didn’t understand the context and the events that led up to it,” Swift says. “Because nothing ever just happens like that without some lead-up. Some events took place to cause me to be pissed off when he called me a b***h.”
The 29-year-old explains that in the time since the VMAs incident, she and West had reconnected and had become friends.
“When someone doesn’t respect you so loudly and says you literally don’t deserve to be here — I just so badly wanted that respect from him, and I hate that about myself, that I was like, ‘This guy who’s antagonizing me, I just want his approval.’ But that’s where I was,” she recalls.
Things got testy again in 2015, though, when Swift presented West with that year’s VMAs Video Vanguard Award.
“He called me up beforehand — I didn’t illegally record it, so I can’t play it for you,” Swift says. “But he called me up, maybe a week or so before the event, and we had maybe over an hour-long conversation, and he’s like, ‘I really, really would like for you to present this Vanguard Award to me, this would mean so much to me,’ and went into all the reasons why it means so much, because he can be so sweet. He can be the sweetest. And I was so stoked that he asked me that.”
Then, when West went up to accept the award, he told the audience, “You know how many times they announced Taylor was going to give me the award ’cause it got them more ratings?”
“I realized he is so two-faced,” Swift says. “That he wants to be nice to me behind the scenes, but then he wants to look cool, get up in front of everyone and talk s**t. And I was so upset. He wanted me to come talk to him after the event in his dressing room. I wouldn’t go.”
West later sent her a big bouquet of flowers, and she decided to put aside her upset feelings.
When West called Swift up the next year to run a line from “Famous” by her, in which he says, “Me and Taylor might still have sex,” she says she was actually “touched” but he apparently hadn’t told her about the “b***h” line.
“And then when I heard the song, I was like, ‘I’m done with this. If you want to be on bad terms, let’s be on bad terms, but just be real about it,'” she recalls.
“And then he literally did the same thing to Drake,” Swift adds, referring to Pusha-T’s revelation of Drake’s child on a record produced by West. “He gravely affected the trajectory of Drake’s family and their lives. It’s the same thing. Getting close to you, earning your trust, detonating you. I really don’t want to talk about it anymore because I get worked up and I don’t want to just talk about negative s**t all day, but it’s the same thing. Go watch Drake talk about what happened.”
Swift says it took until the tour for her album Reputation to properly get past the incident.
“It was sometime on the ‘Reputation’ tour, which was the most transformative emotional experience of my career,” she says. “That tour put me in the healthiest, most balanced place I’ve ever been. After that tour, bad stuff can happen to me, but it doesn’t level me anymore.”