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In the summer of 2016, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian’s names were thrown together more times than the most creative game of Mad Libs. That spring, West released “Famous,” a single on his album The Life of Pablo that featured controversial lyrics about Swift. Swift said she was not made aware of all of the lyrics, and full footage of their phone call just leaked that seems to prove she was right.
The line that Swift has called into question was “I made that bitch famous.” In 2016, Kim Kardashian released footage on her Snapchat refuting Swift’s claims. Footage of the phone call, below, reveals that West said the lyric would say, “I made her famous.” He does not appear to say the word “bitch.”
In the second part of the phone call, West tells Swift about his “personal debt” and Swift occasionally responds. But the word in question never seems to come up.
“What if later in the song I were to have said, ‘I made her famous?'” West says at the beginning of part two of the call.
“Well, what am I gonna do about it? It’s just kind of, like, whatever at this point. You gotta tell the story in the way that it happened to you and the way you experienced it. You honestly didn’t know who I was before that. It doesn’t matter if I sold seven million of that album before you did that, which is what happened. You didn’t know who I was before that—it’s fine. But, um, yeah, I can’t wait to hear it.”
At the beginning of the call, West discusses the line “I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex.”
“It has a very controversial line at the beginning of the song about you,” West tells Swift on the call.
“What does it say?” Swift asks.
West replies that the “original way” he came up with was “the best way, but it’s the most controversial way. It’s gonna go Eminem a little bit, so can you brace yourself for a second?”
“Yeah,” Swift says hesitantly.
“Wait a second, you sound sad,” West responds.
“Well, is it gonna be mean?” Swift asks.
“No, I don’t think it’s mean” West responds. Swift then asks to hear the lyric.
Kanye: “It says, uh…and the funny thing, when I first played it and my wife heard it, she was like, ‘Huh? What, that’s too crazy,’ blah blah blah, and then when Ninja from Die Antwoord hear it, he was like, ‘Oh my god, this is the craziest shit, this is why I love Kanye…’ and now, it’s like my wife’s favorite fucking line…I just wanted to give you some premise of that.” Then, he finally says the line: “To all my Southside n***as that know me best / I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex.”
Swift laughs and says, “That’s not mean.” In the finished song, the lyrics are “might still have sex.”
West says he had a reason for calling Swift: “Okay, well this is the thing why I’m calling you, because you got an army; you own a country of motherfucking two billion people, basically,” West says. “If you felt that it’s funny and cool and hip hop, and felt like it’s The College Dropout and Ye that you love, people would be way into it, and that’s why I think it’s super genius to have you be the one that says, ‘Oh I like this song a lot…this is cool.'”
Reader, as we all know, that is not what happened.
In her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, Swift referred to how she felt after the “Famous” backlash: “When people decided I was wicked and evil and conniving and not a good person,” she said to her mom in the clip, “that was the one that I couldn’t really bounce back from because my whole life was centered around it.”
Kardashian, Swift, and West have yet to comment on the leaked footage.