The never-ending story of Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian entered a new realm of messy on Sunday, July 17, when Kim K shared recording of Swift and West’s phone conversation about the latter’s controversial “Famous” lyrics from The Life of Pablo.
In the video — which Kim shared on her SnapChat and was soon strewn across the Internet — we hear West read Swift part of the lyrics to his song “Famous” over the phone, and her approving them. “For all my Southside n–gas that know me best / I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex,” West said to Swift, who called the line a “compliment.”
We don’t, however, hear West read the lyric, “Why? I made that bitch famous,” which Swift later indicated was the line that particularly offended her in her Grammy acceptance speech for album of the year: “As the first woman to win album of the year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to the young woman 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,” Swift said at the 2016 Grammys.
Kardashian leaked the video following an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians which featured her saying she’d “had it” with people attacking her husband regarding the ongoing tensions between West and Swift.
After Kim shared the video, Swift tweeted her take:
“Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that bitch’ in front of the entire world. Of course I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song. I wanted us to have a friendly relationship. He promised to play the song for me, but he never did. While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot ‘approve’ a song you haven’t heard. Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.”
This entire exchange leaves us with more questions than answers. Here are a few:
Do they realize they’re arguing about different things?
Kim is angry because she seems to believe Taylor lied to, or at least misled, people about approving the “Famous” lyric. Taylor is angry because Kanye read her part of the lyric, but not the line about “I made that bitch famous.” While that subtlety might be lost by someone who sees Internet headlines and never reads full articles, it doesn’t seem like such a difficult distinction to understand. Do the two parties even realize they’re arguing about different things?
How long is the full tape?
A source indicates to Billboard the full tape of their conversation is actually 22 minutes, which means there’s a lot of information we’re not privy to about their exchange. Did Kanye read Taylor the “I made that bitch famous” line? What else did they talk about for that long? Will the full tape ever see the light of day?
Could this lead to legal trouble?
It will depend on which state the call was filmed in, which we don’t yet know. California has a two-party consent law for recording phone conversations, which means West would have had to inform Swift she was being recorded for it to be legal. Based on Swift’s tweet about the “secretly” recorded call, it doesn’t seem she was aware of that. But ultimately, at this time, we don’t have enough information to answer that question.
If Kanye didn’t read her the full lyric, why didn’t he?
Based on what we’ve seen in the video, and Taylor’s response, it seems he didn’t tell her about the “I made that bitch famous” lyric. Why? Did it slip his mind, did he purposefully hold back? Or did he not believe she would care?
Was Swift ever truly okay with it?
While Swift approved the lyric in the video Kim shared, we have to wonder if she was ever truly okay with it, or if she was just trying to be cool with it given her uneasy truce with Kanye. Perhaps she wanted to meet him halfway on the controversial line, but was pushed over the edge when she heard the full song.
Will Katy Perry weigh in?
Perry already tweeted a mischievous Hillary Clinton GIF in reaction to the messy Taylor-Calvin Harris situation over the co-writing credit on “This Is What You Came For.” Is the former Kanye collaborator going to weigh in on this, too?
Might Taylor and Kanye still have sex?