Kanye West performed his single "Famous" at Manila's Paradise International Music Festival in the Philippines on Saturday, the first time since The Life of Pablo was released, and decided to open up about its misogynistic undertones.
In West's words (for whatever personal worth that entails), the line in his new critical hit, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous," goes deeper than a sacrificial dig at pop megastar Taylor Swift. In fact, its true message dates all the way back to 2009, when the two artists shared a brief, bizarre encounter that would transcend through the annals of pop culture history — a moment West referred to as "the beginning of the end of my life."
"I wanted you to know, the whole time, you know — in the spirit of Nina Simone, in the spirit of real artists — this is the song that broke the writer's block to me," West told the Manila's Paradise crowd.
"There's something that I wanted to say so bad, that they told me I couldn't say," he said, referring to the infamous moment at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when West stormed the stage, interrupting video of the year winner Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to declare Beyoncé the more deserving recipient.
"That night, when I went on stage was the beginning of the end of my life. Lady Gaga canceled the tour the next day," West continued. "You know the night I'm talking about, when I just said what everybody else was thinking. So if I get in trouble for saying that truth, what's being said the rest of the time?"
He continued: "And I had to fight every day of my life, with the whole world turned against me, for saying out loud what everyone else felt. But that's the job of an artist, of a true artist: not to be controlled by their finances, not to be controlled by perceptions, but only to be controlled by their truth."
"That's the job of an artist, of a true artist: not to be controlled by their finances, not to be controlled by perceptions, but only to be controlled by their truth."
And while Swift technically squashed any beef with West when she presented him with the Video Vanguard award at the the 2015 VMAs, tensions again heated up following the release of "Famous." Swift addressed the "I made that bitch famous" line while accepting her album of the year award at the 58th Grammys.
"I wanna say to all the young women out there: There are gonna be people along the way, there are gonna be people who try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame," Swift said. "But if you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you're going, you'll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there."