Kanye West is known to walk the line between being famous and infamous due to both his achievements and reputation for controversial actions or crazy statements. Right now, the trending star is estimated to have a net worth of around $1.3 billion. 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 ranting about the President (then supporting another) to storming the MTV VMAs stage, we rank Kanye West’s controversies from least to most shocking…
23. Kanye and Kim Cover Vogue
It’s not everyday you see a former adult-tape star and controversial rapper gracing the cover of Vogue, is it? The fashion world had a mini breakdown when they saw Kanye West and Kim Kardashian appearing on the cover of Vogue magazine in 2014.
This is marked as one of Kim’s controversial moments and possibly the beginning of Kanye’s attempt at ruling the high fashion world. Despite the backlash, it’s safe to say the duo looked great. If editor-in-chief Anna Wintour didn’t have a problem with it, then why should we, right?
22. Kanye Rumored to Cheat on Kim with Jeffree Star
2021 was welcomed with a bunch of Kimye rumors that the world just couldn’t shake off. First, we heard that he and Kim were getting a divorce after six years of marriage, and then it was said that the breakup was due to a cheating scandal – on Ye’s behalf! TikTok user, Ava Louise triggered a rumor that Kanye had been hooking up with YouTuber, Jeffree Star during his relationship with Kim.
When asked by YouTube drama personality Daniel “Keemstar” Keem about the truth, Jeffrey Star replied, “Hahaha” and “I’m having the best time in Wyoming, come visit sometime!” – alluding to the fact that Kanye has been staying in Wyoming the past few months. It also didn’t help when Star deleted a tweet from 2011 replying to Kanye that said “last night was so fun! xoxo.”
Nevertheless, the shocking claims were put to bed when Star finally denied the rumors on YouTube saying, “I’m single. I’m not sleeping with anyone,” Star said. “I like very tall men. Me and Kanye have never hung out, and this whole thing is really funny … How did we even get to this moment? How would that even be made up? Because we both live in the same state?”
21. Kanye Asks Mark Zuckerberg for $1 Billion
Mr West truly has no shame in disclosing his personal finances. After admitting that he was $53 million in debt, Kanye announced that he was in need of more money to invest in his creative projects.
He took it so far, that he started campaigning for Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion in him. This certainly goes down as one of Kanye’s crazy moments thus far.
20. Kanye Attacks Wiz Khalifa
Ye is no stranger to Twitter beef! If you follow him, we’re sure your timeline has been flooded with his ranting tweets for days on end. One of his most infamous Twitter fights was with Wiz Khalifa in 2016.
When Kanye announced that he wanted to name his album “Waves”, Wiz accused him of not showing respect to Max B for popularizing “wave” and “wavy” in rap. Of course, this led to a whole Twitter tirade with Kanye eventually saying that he “owns” Wiz’s child (may we remind you that Wiz has a son with Kanye’s ex, Amber Rose). Boy oh boy.
19. Kanye Rants About Losing the VMAs
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.
18. Kanye Compares Himself to Jesus
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.
17. Kanye Offends a Guy in a Wheelchair
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.
16. Kanye Jokes with Beck
The rapper wasn’t done with his habit of rushing the stage in defense of Beyoncé. After his 2009 incident with Taylor Swift (more on that later), 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”.
15. Kanye Bashes Taylor Swift
Like things weren’t bad enough already between them, Kanye and Taylor’s infamous feud was further ignited when he released his song Famous, where he shamelessly called her a “b***h”.
Swift’s fans and other 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.
14. Kanye Supports Trump, Bashes 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 in 2016. 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 wasn’t the first time Kanye had let off steam and ranted his heart out, but it seems this time the artist had gone too far, that it’d taken a toll on his mental health. Kanye was later hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation and remained there during Thanksgiving weekend. Upon his release, he took an 11-month (very-much needed) break from Twitter.
13. Kanye Meets Trump
2016 truly was a roller-coaster year for Kanye. Everyone thought they were seeing things when he was photographed entering the Trump Tower to have a meeting with the U.S. president.
While Kanye revealed that he visited Trump to discuss “bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums, and violence in Chicago”, many saw this as Trump’s attempt to appeal to the black community. Kanye then received a lot of backlash for ignoring Trump’s supposed motives.
12. Kanye Announces he’s Running for President
In August 2015, the rapper announced that he would be running for president in 2020. People were excited to hear his presidential speeches and possibly see Kim Kardashian as America’s First Lady. No one knew what would happen, but what we did know is that the world was getting crazier by the minute.
11. Kanye Runs for President
Just when everyone put Kanye’s outrageous announcement behind them, the rapper made an explosive reveal on July 4th 2020 that he was indeed running for president that year. Even Elon Musk supported Kanye saying that he had his “full support”. After several rallies however, Kanye’s campaign was unsuccessful, garnering just 0.04% of votes nationally.
10. Kanye Criticizes Harriet Tubman
During one of his rallies, Kanye caused a commotion by ranting about the prestigious historical figure, Harriet Tubman. Tubman was an African American woman who escaped slavery, helped enslaved Black men and women travel to freedom and fought for the Union during the Civil War.
While many admire her experiences, Kanye shut them down during his run as president claiming Tubamn “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.”
9. Kanye Turns on His Family
Following his embarrassing rally rant, Kanye published an array of tweets against his wife, Kim and mother-in-law, Kris Jenner.
“Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughters life yesterday,” he tweeted.
As mentioned below, Kanye revealed that Kim wanted to have an abortion when she was pregnant with North West. Kanye later attacked another member of the Kardashian family, Kris by saying that Kim would never force North’s career choices like she did to Kim – AKA that Playboy shoot. “I put my life on my God that North’s mom would never photograph her doing playboy and that’s on God.”
8. Kanye Talks Abortion, Breaks Down
During the same presidential rally, Kanye exhibited a breakdown when he brought up the subject of abortion. The artist told crowds how his father wanted to abort him, but his mother chose to save him.
At the mention of his late mother, Kanye burst out in tears and sobbed before he continued his rant claiming that he “almost killed his [my] daughter”. In a speech that clearly humiliated his wife, Kanye revealed that Kim considered not having North when she was pregnant with her in 2013.
7. Kanye Claims Cosby is Innocent
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.
6. Kanye’s Famous Music Video
Kanye got the people talking when he released his shocking and scandalous music video for his song, Famous. The controversial video clip featured wax figurines of famous people unclothed 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 full of controversy that Taylor Swift’s team considered filing a lawsuit against him.
5. Kanye Defends R Kelly
Kanye didn’t get off to a good start in early 2019 when he publicly defended R Kelly. Despite the widespread condemnation of the singer following the release of the documentary, Surviving R Kelly, Ye outrageously claimed that fans should continue to listen to his music and that we should separate the art from the artist.
“They just gonna pull up full documentaries on him, then they gonna come with the Michael (Jackson) documentary. … We can all enjoy all their music all we want. I thought I wasn’t going to go there today. If we’re gonna tear down artists, let’s go ahead and take (Leonardo) da Vinci out the Lourve while we’re at it. Let’s take down all the art.”
Kim quickly took to Twitter to defend her husband by saying his words were taken out of context.
4. Kanye’s Outburst on President Bush
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!
3. Kanye Wears a MAGA Hat
It was bad enough when Kanye met the detested President in his Trump Tower in December 2016, but Kanye made his support for Donald Trump loud and clear when he posted a photo of himself wearing a Make America Great Again hat in April 2018.
After getting the hat signed by the president himself, Kanye went on to tweet that Trump was his “brother”. His support for the president has led to many turning their backs on Ye. How could he go from bashing George Bush in 2006 to supporting Trump in 2018?!
2. Kanye says Slavery was a “Choice”
In mid-2018, it seemed as though Kanye had hit the last straw. We can only take so much of what he says until he preaches something completely crazy and unforgivable. In May, the rapper done an interview with TMZ where he shared his thoughts on several controversial topics including free thought and slavery:
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years, and it is all of y’all?”
After complete backlash from celebrities and several others around the world, Kanye took to Twitter to express what he really meant. Can you forgive Ye for saying these things?
1. Kanye Interrupts Taylor’s VMAs Speech
Everyone would agree that Kanye’s craziest and most controversial moment ever occurred at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The Life of Pablo 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, ranting and 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 loved or hated, Kanye West is undoubtedly one of the most controversial artists of our generation and his crazy antics don’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon.
We’re sure there will be more outbursts and shocking moments to come. We’ll keep you updated…
Learn more about the controversial star in our list of facts about Kanye…