Taylor Swift’s Most Popular Songs About Kanye West
It’s the celebrity feud that’s lasted more than a decade. When Kanye West got on stage at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and took the mic from Taylor Swift to make his own speech, viewers knew it would make headlines. What no one could have predicted was how it would continue to generate them for years to come.
By mid-2020, both musicians had addressed the incident — and those that followed — multiple times. It even had a presence in the documentary Miss Americana. And of course, their feud has made its way into their music. Here are Swift’s songs about West, and how they’ve charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
‘Look What You Made Me Do’
After many years of love songs, Swift has changed her tune for several of her hits. In the wake of the 2016 events spurred on by West name-dropping her in “Famous,” she penned her 2017 album Reputation. Her first single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” didn’t call out West by name, but it did feature many allusions to him.
The whole first verse is thought to be about West, from the “tilted stage” from his Saint Pablo Tour to the way he laughs during their 2016 phone call leaked by his wife, Kim Kardashian West. “Look What You Made Me Do” is one of Swift’s five No. 1 hits, remaining on the Billboard chart for 20 weeks.
After Reputation came Swift’s next seventh album, Lover. The singer released three singles and one promotional single before the album’s release in August 2019. In the months that followed, she focused on other projects. But in early 2020, she released another Lover single: “The Man.”
While the song only explicitly calls out one person (Leonardo DiCaprio), the music video indicates that she had West in mind when writing it. The main character (“Tyler Swift,” played by Swift herself) runs down a hallway that looks like one in West’s own house. “The Man” was on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks, peaking at No. 23.
‘I Forgot That You Existed’
Lover is thought to be the inverse of Reputation. Where Swift’s sixth album was dark, representing a revengeful persona of the artist, its follow-up is a lighter, more positive work, even when its touches on West. Case in point? The opening track, “I Forgot That You Existed,” about how she’s put this person and their drama behind her.
It’s been debated whether this song is about West or Swift’s ex-boyfriend, Calvin Harris. (This Reddit thread breaks it all down). Though Swift has never publicly said commented one way or another, many feel that this was her way of closing the chapter on her feud with West once and for all. “I Forgot That You Existed” peaked at No. 28, spending two weeks on the chart.
‘Call It What You Want’
This Reputation track, which reached No. 27 and spent two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, is not overtly about West. It primarily about her then-blossoming relationship with Joe Alwyn, who Swift began dating while writing the album. (She even sang it to him in Miss Americana.) However, the verses feature remarks tied to West.
‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’
Finally, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” which never made the chart, is undoubtedly about West. She sings about how they became friendly again in 2015 when she presented him with the Vanguard Award — only for him to release “Famous” and the now-discredited (and edited) phone call. Interestingly, West cited this very achievement in a July 2020 interview as his reason for running for president.