Fact: Taylor Swift Was Plenty Famous Before Kanye West Came Along (Plus the Other Big Problem With What He Said)

Here's the unnecessary proof that Taylor wasn't made when Kanye interrupted her at the 2009 VMAs

By Natalie Finn Feb 12, 2016 8:00 PMTags
Taylor Swift, 2008Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Kanye West can explain away that "bitch" is a term of hip-hop endearment all he wants. He can say that Taylor Swift thought his line in "Famous" was hilarious.

Did none of Swift's nearest and dearest then not know ahead of time that Kanye would be dropping a Taylor-bomb during one of his tunes from The Life of Pablo yesterday? Wouldn't she have shared that little oh-by-the-way nugget with her boyfriend, Calvin Harris?

Instead, Swift's closest friends; her brother, Austin; and Harris all seemed pretty dismayed (as much as can be gleaned from the art of tweeting and liking on Instagram) by the insta-infamous line in West's new tune "Famous": "For all my Southside n--gas who will know me best / I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why, I made that bitch famous / God damn / I made that bitch famous."

As far as what's wrong with that lyric...where do we begin?!

First of all, the fact that Taylor was onstage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards already accepting the Moon Man for Best Female Video for "You Belong With Me" when Kanye made himself more famous by interrupting her...pretty much proves in one fell swoop that she was doing OK before Sept. 13, 2009.

In fact, her career was racing at full speed ahead right to the top at the very least a year before she unwittingly crossed paths with Kanye. 

"The CMA award nomination—that's a big deal to me, because that's the [Female Vocalist of the Year] category," she told MTV before the 2008 CMAs. "That's not a New Artist category. So it's cool to be considered in that way." The then 18-year-old artist added, "I think you can always hope as a new artist to go up and have your career go like this [she motioned up] instead of like this [downward motion]. The next couple weeks will be very telling."

Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Before that fateful encounter that, jestingly or no, Kanye claims "made that bitch famous," Taylor's pre-2009-VMAs accomplishments included:

• 15 songs on the Billboard Hot 100
• 1 Academy of Country Music Award
• 1 American Music Award
• 1 CMA Award
• 5 CMT Music Awards, including two straight wins for Video of the Year in 2008 and 2009
• 3 Teen Choice Awards
• 1 Grammy Nomination (she lost Best New Artist to Amy Winehouse, singularly stiff competition)

She quickly added to her AMA and CMA tallies that November (including Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs), presumably not just because people felt sorry for her. And if we want to kick this up a notch...

Swift's career-making Fearless, her second studio album, dropped exactly two weeks before Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak in November 2008 and moved 592,000 copies in its first week to 808s' 450,145.

Fast-forward to December 2009 when Billboard crowned her Top Female Artist of the Year after Fearless became the best-selling album of the year in the U.S., moving over 5.2 million copies (not all of them post-Sept. 13). In one of those joyous twists of pop culture fate, Top Male Artist of the Year went to Kanye West, partly due to the success of 808s & Heartbreak, which as of 2013 has sold 1.7 million copies, but largely because of his pre-VMAs ubiquity.

Getty Images

After the VMAs, however, he suffered through a number of public apologies, including his particularly painful-to-watch appearance on the premiere of The Jay Leno Show, and then took a break from the high lights; a planned co-headlining tour with Lady Gaga was also canceled in October 2009.

Unless anyone's foolish to believe that Taylor's been riding a pity wave for the past six-plus years, it seems pretty obvious that Kanye's outrageous claim was only so much braggadocio.

Which brings us to the other thing that should be stuck in the collective craw of the Swift squad more than the absurd Kanye-created-Taylor boast.

"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," her rep told E! News in a statement Thursday night. "Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, 'I made that bitch famous.'"

He's free to say whatever he wants in his songs—it's a free country. And there are plenty of rappers, rockers and artists of all genres who sing/paint/make jokes about sex and use way fouler language than anything Kanye included on The Life of Pablo.

But for the record, suggesting (for creative purposes, or any purpose) that Taylor may be DTF because she either owes him as much or is just so darn grateful to him for slicing her off a hunk of the fame pie...

So archaic. And while plenty of those aforementioned artists are also fathers, husbands, boyfriends, sons, etc., Kanye is indeed a dad now as well, and he may want to think for two seconds about that out-of-touch, oppressive, misogynistic sentiment he just put out into the world.

One day his daughter might thank him for just shutting up for once.