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, he’s estimated to have a net worth of around $145 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 ranting about the President (then supporting another) to storming the MTV VMAs stage, we rank 18 of Kanye West’s controversies from least to most shocking…
18. Kanye and Kim Cover Vogue
It’s not everyday you see a former sex-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. 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?
17. 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.
16. 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.
15. 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.
14. 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.
13. 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.
12. Kanye Jokes with Beck
The rapper wasn’t done with his habit of rushing the stage in defence 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”.
11. 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 “bitch”. 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.
10. Kanye Announces he’s Running for President
In August 2015, the rapper announced that he would 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. All we know is that the world is getting crazier by the minute.
9. 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.
8. Kanye’s Famous Music Video
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 full of controversy that Taylor Swift’s team considered filing a lawsuit against him.
7. Kanye Supports Trump, Bad-Mouths 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 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.
6. 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.
BREAKING: Trump is expected to meet with Kanye West on Thursday, NYT reports pic.twitter.com/AcvciYJMY4
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) October 9, 2018
5. Kanye Defends R Kelly
Kanye didn’t get off to a good start in early 2019 when he publicly defended sex offender, 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…