Kanye West is known to walk the line between being famous and infamous due to both his achievements and reputation for controversial actions or outlandish statements. Right now, he’s estimated to have a net worth of over $66 million. To put it in perspective, that’s less than Jay-Z but more than others in the industry such as Drake. The rapper has definitely built a brand name for himself, though not one that is squeaky clean and spotless.
From bashing the President to storming the MTV VMA stage, we rank Kanye West’s controversial moments from least to most shocking…
11. Sore Loser
For someone who continues to dismiss awards, Kanye always seems engaged with them and easily offended. Back in 2007, the rapper was outraged that he lost all five of the awards he was nominated for and that he hadn’t been asked to play on the main stage like Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears. His response? Throwing a fit backstage and threatening to never attend the MTV VMAs ever again. As we all know, he did not hold to that threat although Taylor Swift probably wished he did.
10. Feels Like Jesus, Gets Treated Like Hitler
It seems that “Yeezus”, as he named his sixth album, does feel prosecuted. The rapper posed for Rolling Stone with a crown of thorns and fake blood, claiming that he can make a direct comparison between himself and Jesus. Why? Because he had to “fight for recognition” and “suffer for his success”. Not quite the same. And yet, he does not feel the same love and devotion. Kanye stated that people look at him like he’s Hitler when he walks down the street.
9. EVERYBODY Get On Their Feet!
When Kanye told fans at a concert in Sydney to get on their feet, he expected everyone to do it – including a person in a wheelchair who couldn’t physically comply with the rapper’s demands. Kanye wasn’t thrilled at all and said that he couldn’t sing until everyone stood up.
As for the person in the wheelchair? To quote “OK, well, we gotta wait then.” That would be a long time waiting, yet the rapper made it a point to complain how “unbelievable” it is that he had to pause for so long. The crowd booed. Eventually, Kanye said it was okay that the fan wasn’t standing up.
8. Beck Gets Kanyed
The rapper wasn’t done with his habit of rushing the stage in defence of Beyoncé. After his 2009 incident with Taylor Swift, Kanye seemed to disagree that Beck’s Morning Phase deserved the Album of the Year award in 2015. For a while, it seemed like a joke. Then it wasn’t. Eventually, the rapper tried to play it off as a joke and apologized a few weeks later on Twitter. As he put it, “It was a joke – like the Grammy’s themselves”.
7. Bashing Taylor Swift
Kanye and Taylor’s infamous feud continued when he released his song Famous, where he shamelessly called her a “bitch”. Swift’s fans and celebrities instantly became outraged, and there was no shortage of people who found Kanye’s song tasteless. However, the rapper claimed that he’d had his wife’s blessings for the lyrics and Swift’s as well. He tweeted that the female artist in question found it funny.
6. President West
In August 2015, Kanye made what was possibly his most shocking quote. The rapper announced that he will be running for president in 2020. We sure can’t wait to hear his presidential speeches! Maybe Kim Kardashian will be America’s First Lady. No one can know what will happen.
5. A Controversial Tweet
Many turned against Kanye when he defended Bill Cosby in February 2015. With a public opinion widely against the actor, Kanye stupidly but bravely tweeted “BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!” His tweet received an onslaught of responses expressing disappointment, shock and disgust.
4. Stripping Everyone Naked
Kanye got the people talking when he released his shocking and scandalous music video for his song, Famous. The NSFW video clip featured naked wax figurines of famous people sleeping in bed together including George Bush, Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose, Taylor Swift, Ray J, Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby and Kanye himself.
Although Kanye claimed the video was “artistic”, it didn’t stop his haters from causing a stir and expressing outrage. In fact, the visual was so controversial, Taylor Swift’s team considered filing a lawsuit against him.
3. Supporting Trump, Bad-Mouthing Beyonce & Jay-Z
Kanye shocked his fans when he admitted that he would have voted for Donald Trump had he taken part in the Presidential Election this year. Even though Kanye was booed after announcing he was Team Donald, the rapper showed no fear a few nights later. He launched a verbal attack on Jay-Z and Beyonce for over 20 minutes during his show in Sacramento before calling it quits and walking off stage. Having only performed 3 songs, the crowd were rightfully given a refund for their tickets.
This isn’t the first time Kanye has let off steam but it seems this time TLOP artist has gone so far, it’s taken a toll on his mental health. Apparently Kanye has been hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation. Get well soon, Ye!
2. Bashing the President
Kanye left everyone speechless when he went off-script during a live TV fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina back in 2006. While Mike Myers stared blankly at the camera, Kanye went on to rant about the media’s portrayal of Katrina’s black victims and ended his outburst by bashing the president. In what was one of his most shocking moments, Kanye said “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,”. The show’s producer cut him off immediately and moved on to next presenter. Talk about AWKWARD!
1. Taylor Swift Got Kanyed
Everyone would agree that Kanye’s most controversial moment ever occurred at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The rapper rushed the stage in protest to Taylor Swift winning the Best Female Video for You Belong With Me. Kanye famously got on the stage during Swift’s acceptance speech, protesting that Beyoncé’s Single Ladies should’ve won.
The then-teen stated that she had been “excited at first” to see the rapper on stage with her, but then she just ended up “hurt” by the intrusion and offense.
Whether he’s hated or loved, Kanye West is undoubtedly one of the most controversial artists today. We’re sure there will be more outbursts and shocking moments to come. We’ll keep you updated…