Did Kanye West Really Make Taylor Swift Famous?

What a difference a decade makes. It’s been 10 long years since Kanye West famously interrupted Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards. After Swift won the Video of the Year award for her hit song “You Belong With Me” West hopped on stage to express his disdain that the award didn’t go to Beyonce for her “Single Ladies” video. This moment was so salient that is still being talked about today. Many people note this as the moment that Swift became a household name, but is there any truth to that?

Taylor Swift Kanye West
Taylor Swift | Efren Landaos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The 2009 MTV Music Video Awards

Though it’s been years since this infamous moment happened, recent events have pushed this event to the forefront of fans’ minds. Just last week, Swift nabbed the highest award for the 2019 VMA’s once more for “You Need To Calm Down” which reminded fans of the 2009 VMA’s. Furthermore, Swift herself managed to bring attention to the moment between herself and West with the release of her latest album, Lover.

Lover diary entries

Just last week, Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover, which already receiving rave reviews and breaking records. On top of 18 new songs, Swift also included a bonus gift for fans who purchased the deluxe version of her album at Target. The deluxe editions (there are four, unique, versions) all include diary entries from various moments in Swift’s life. One entry that captured fans’ attention was an entry she made shortly after West’s famous interruption.

“Ahh… the things that can change in a week. If you had told me that one of the biggest stars in music was going to jump on stage and announce that he thought I shouldn’t have won on live television, I would’ve said, ‘That stuff doesn’t really happen in real life.’ Well… apparently…. It does,” Swift wrote candidly.


Though that moment appears to be particularly difficult for Swift to live through, West seemed to believe that it helped launch Swift’s career and catapult her into superstardom. In fact, West proclaiming that he made Swift famous is actually the root of the infamous feud between himself, Swift, and West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West. After West released his song “Famous”, the trio went back and forth trading jabs.

The feud between Swift and Kim Kardashian West

“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex Why? I made that bi*ch famous” is a lyric in West’s song, “Famous”. Swifties were outraged by the lyric and Swift was certainly among them. Swift’s brother, Austin, was seen throwing out all of his Kanye West albums, while Swift herself took a different approach. After winning the 2015 GRAMMY Award for album of the year, Swift got on stage and gave a speech about not allowing anyone to take credit for your accomplishments. Seeing that the comment was clearly aimed at Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West took to her social media profiles to declare that Swift gave approval to the song prior to its release.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Kim Kardashian West put her money where her mouth was and released footage of Kanye West asking Swift’s opinion about the song. In the video, Swift maintained that the part of the lyrics she heard was “kind of a compliment” and that Kanye West was entitled to his opinion and perspective about everything that went down at the 2009 VMA’s. When critics began to drag Swift and demanded she be canceled, she took to her Instagram page to take control of the narrative.

Swift takes control of the narrative

“Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me “that bi*ch” in his son? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called “that bi*ch” in front of the entire world,” Swift began. She then took it upon herself to defend herself further. “Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009,” the “The Man” singer wrote on Instagram.

Did West make Swift famous

But with all the back and forth, is there any truth to West’s claims? Did he, in fact, make Swift famous? The short answer is no. Swift had already created a space for herself in the mainstream music industry long before West interrupted her. After all, she did win the VMA on her own merits and off of the strength of her loyal followers.

That said, Kanye West likely added some fuel to the fire because his egregious error was talked about for years and subsequently, so was Swift. Furthermore, his actions likely made some people who were unfamiliar with Swift and her work pay attention to her for the first time. So while West didn’t make Swift’s career with his rude interruption, he certainly didn’t hurt it either.