Kanye West may not have won the coveted Video of the Year Moonman during Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards (that distinction went to Beyoncé), but he did have one of the buzziest moments of the night when he took the stage at New York's Madison Square Garden to introduce his new music video for "Fade." Yeezy would go on to present one of his most headline-grabbing visuals yet, but first, he had an enigmatic and provocative speech to deliver, naturally.
Kanye opened his talk by making a shady joke about his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift's Video of the Year acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs. "Later tonight, 'Famous' might lose to Beyoncé, but I can't be mad. I'm always wishing for Beyoncé to win, so," he said to a roaring crowd (clip below).
The rapper then went on to explain the meaning behind his controversial "Famous" music video, which showed several nude figures depicting celebrities, including Taylor, Anna Wintour, and Donald Trump. "But for people to understand just how blessed we are, it was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV," he explained. "The audacity to put Anna Wintour next to Donald Trump. I put Ray J in it, bro. This is fame, bro."
Kanye then gave a shout-out to his often-embattled ex Amber Rose in the audience, who is also featured in the "Famous" video. "My wife is a G. Not a lot of people wives' would let them say that," he said as the camera caught a glimpse of Kim Kardashian West laughing and seeming to approve of the move.
Of course, not only did Kanye's visual for "Famous" come under fire, but the lyrics to the single did as well, in particular the lines, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous." But contrary to what some people may think, Kanye said he wasn't trying to diss Taylor with the track. "I love all y'all. That's why I called her," the rapper said, referring to a video recording of his conversation with Taylor that allegedly shows them having a friendly discussion of the song, which was leaked by Kim on Snapchat in July.
Taylor was noticeably absent from this year's VMAs, and she hasn't publicly commented on Kanye's speech just yet, but we have a feeling that she would still "like to be excluded from this narrative," as she tweeted right after the video of the conversation came out.
Kanye ended his speech on a more positive note, giving shout-outs to the likes of Diddy, Chance the Rapper, 2 Chainz, and Jaden Smith in the audience. "Bro, we are undeniably the influence, the thought leaders," he said. "I’m gonna play y’all a piece of my art, and I just hope y’all have a good time."
How did the world initially react to that video leak? Watch Billy Eichner give his take on Taylor's fame, below.