By Riley Dauber
Elm Staff Writer
What do you think of when you hear the name “Kanye West?”
As a Taylor Swift fan, I think of the 2009 Video Music Awards where West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video and infamously said, “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” The pop culture moment subsequently led to West’s song “Famous,” where he says, “I made that b— famous,” referring to Swift.
But if you’re a Kanye fan like junior Noah Vargas, you see the rapper and producer as an inspiration.
“He is a controversial figure who has made a ton of questionable decisions, but at the end of the day, he has truly inspired me and countless others with his music and work ethic,” Vargas said.
As of 2022, West has released 11 studio albums, his most recent endeavor being Donda 2. He also released a three-part documentary about his career on Netflix titled Jeen-Yuhs.
“I think he might have the greatest discography of any musical artist I have ever listened to,” Vargas said. “Each album [is] completely different from the next, and influences the sound of music for years to come.”
Despite his musical success, West has made appearances in the news for his reckless decisions, from the 2009 VMAs; the “Famous” controversy, which involved a tampered phone call between West, his then-wife Kim Kardashian, and Swift; and his decision to run for president in 2020. Recently, he has rebranded himself as simply “Ye” and was dating actress Julia Fox until their breakup in February 2022.
West’s personal life has sparked numerous online memes and jokes. Memes about him interrupting Swift’s speech became popular after the 2009 incident, and when it was announced that he and Kardashian were filing for divorce, tons of videos on TikTok poked fun at the breakup.
West has entered the news again for his feud with comedian and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson, who started dating Kardashian in October 2021. He has continued to attack the comedian on Instagram, referring to him as “Skete” instead of “Pete.”
The rapper also leaked texts between him and ex-wife Kardashian, where she asked him to stop threatening Davidson so he doesn’t get hurt. West publicly apologized for his threats and for leaking the texts.
West continued with his social media rampage when he called out pop star Billie Eilish. According to a Teen Vogue article, “When a fan had trouble breathing during the Atlanta stop on [the] Happier Than Ever tour, Billie paused the show…in a video of the moment, Billie waited for an inhaler to be brought to the fan.”
“I wait for people to be okay before I keep going,” Eilish said.
West took this as a direct jab at Travis Scott, whose Astroworld Festival led to 10 deaths and many injuries. He demanded an apology from Eilish on Instagram, who replied that she hadn’t mentioned Scott and was trying to help a fan.
Amidst all the aforementioned controversy, West posted a photoshopped version of the “Captain America: Civil War” poster. On his side is Drake, ex-girlfriend Fox, and rappers Future and Travis Scott. On Pete’s side is Kardashian, Kid Cudi, Eilish, and Swift.
West is painting himself as Captain America, feuding with Pete Davidson, playing the role of Iron Man. Davidson’s only response to the situation was redownloading Instagram and linking a video of comedian Rupert Pupkin saying, “Better to be a king for a night than schmuck for a lifetime” in his bio.
Fans took this as a direct attack at West. They flocked to his comments and called him “Skete.” This social media attack caused Davidson to delete his account again.
In the past, West would give reasoning for his decisions. He said God told him to interrupt Swift’s acceptance speech at the VMAs.
“If God ain’t want me to run on stage and say Beyoncé had the best video, he wouldn’t have sat me in the front row,” West said in an episode of Cannon’s Class, a podcast hosted by Nick Cannon.
The feud with Davidson, however, seems to be rooted in jealousy, or West is attempting to market his album and documentary with a new controversy.
“It’s hard to say whether the jokes are justified,” Vargas said. “Kanye is bipolar, and I think people can bash him unfairly. He really speaks his mind and puts everything out there, which makes it easy to criticize him.”
On an episode of the Drink Champs podcast, West discussed his mental health and how he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
“Y’all not gonna diminish what I’m doing, and what God is doing with me in the future, by trying to cut my legs off or cut my influence off by calling me crazy,” he said.
Photo Courtesy of Flickr
Featured Photo Caption: This is not the first time West has been a part of a major scandal within his relationships. Following his breakup with Amber Rose, Rose spoke out against the rapper.