The Kanye-Taylor Swift 'Famous' Flap: Expert Panel Discusses
MSNBC host Joy Reid, cultural critic Touré and HipHopDX editor in chief Justin Hunte got together to discuss all things Kanye West for Billboard's The New Pioneers Issue. In the midst of conversation of West's genius, his latest album The Life of Pablo and his Donald Trump-like attitude, the rapper's ongoing feud with Taylor Swift was bound to come up.
Touré: The recent Taylor Swift flap over "Famous" is really interesting. At one point it was clear one of them was lying, and I bet many white people reflexively believed Taylor. But Kanye was telling the truth and that was established by the video his wife released.
Hunte: I agree that Kanye is winning against "America's sweetheart," but it is suspect that the video did not include Swift agreeing to being referred to as a "bitch."
Touré: I'm suspicious of locating too much of this around him using the word "bitch." The really heavy thing is him talking about hypothetical sex with her.
Hunte: "I made that bitch famous" is the call-and-response part of the song: Millions of people are calling Taylor Swift "that bitch" in cars, clubs and stadiums worldwide. That means something.
Reid: I'm pretty anti-Cult of Swift -- I find the phenomenon behind her boring as hell -- but it says something that all these years later, Kanye just can't leave her alone. But this whole collection feels like Kanye on the couch: He knows his faults, examines his flaws and asks God -- and his mother's spirit -- for guidance, but when he gets up off the divan, he's still Narcissus, staring into the lake. Would love to see what would happen if Kanye applied his genius to writing about something other than himself.
Touré: I don't know if I want Kanye talking about something other than Kanye. He's a selfie artist in the selfie generation -- and his narcissism fits with the era and with his persona. I think Kanye, like Trump, is radically authentic, both saying whatever they really think without any strategy behind it. But this is Kanye's medium: Hip-hop is so often about rhyming about yourself and your world -- and Kanye's world is unique. No one else is in his lane, moving from Jay Z and Beyoncé to Nicolas Ghesquière and Marc Jacobs to Elon Musk to Takashi Murakami to Kim Kardashian to Caitlyn. Even "I Love Kanye" is so great because he's not talking about Kanye, but "Kanye," the meta-image of himself.
Reid: "A selfie artist for a selfie generation." No truer words.
Read the full debate here.