Kanye West has had quite a year. The rapper began 2010 wrestling with the fallout from his interruption of Taylor Swift at last year's MTV Video Music Awards and quickly became embroiled in a number of other storylines. Just in the past six months, West played a surprising role in George W. Bush's memoir, caused a fracas on the "Today" show, and released an album hailed by many as a masterpiece. Throughout it all, West's frenetic and unpredictable Twitter account offered an unfiltered look at his capricious mental state. Although the musician only caught the Twitter bug on July 28, he quickly became a Twittersphere favorite with his off-the-cuff remarks about anything and everything, from intimate revelations to insights into his creative process. Here's a look back at five unpredictable months in the (tweeting) life of Kanye West:
ON HIS GRAMMY INTERRUPTION
The tweet: "I'm sorry Taylor."
The date: September 4
The context: Perhaps Kanye's most-publicized Twitter rant came when he unleashed a barrage of tweets about his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 Video Music Awards, all leading up to a final, cathartic apology. His remarks range from the "convoluted" to the "ridiculous," says Kate Ward in Entertainment Weekly, who notes that "the timing of the tweets — released so close to the anniversary of the buzzed-about incident — is a little suspect."
The tweet: "In the 70s album covers had actual nudity... It's so funny that people forget that... Everything has been so commercialized now."
The date: October 17
The context: After tweeting that Walmart had "banned my album" due to its graphic cover, Kanye lets loose on the subject, noting that "I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity," and that "In all honesty ... I really don't be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers #Kanyeshrug!" The giant chain denies ever banning the cover in the first place.
ON HIS STAGE SHOWS
The tweet: "Ya'll saw the VMAs and SNL... I got more ideas. I'm really getting into the concept of Neo-Pop-Performance art!"
The date: October 23
The context: In advance of his upcoming album, Kanye takes to the stage for a series of buzzed-about renditions of new songs. At the Video Music Awards (the site of his gaffe a year earlier), he debuted his new album's hit single, "Runaway." On "Saturday Night Live," he delivers "two of the most memorable performances in SNL's last few years," says Matt Cherette at Gawker.TV, featuring "arresting" visuals such as an array of performing ballerinas, a stark all-white backdrop, and a glowing chandelier.
ON HIS NEW ALBUM
The tweet: "PERFECT RATING FROM ALLHIPHOP!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!"
The date: November 11
The context: By the end of the year, it was easy to forget that Kanye West became famous for his music, not his public persona. But when his fifth album My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy finally came out on November 22, fans and critics went wild. From indie-rock oriented sites like Pitchfork ("expansive, all-encompassing") to All Hip Hop (the album shows a "magnificent ability to craft and create music"), the consensus was that Kanye had outdone himself.
ON MATT LAUER
The tweet: "I'm not performing on the 'Today' show for obvious reasons. I'm so happy the world got to see just a small piece of 'the set up.'"
The date: November 12
The context: Kanye becomes upset when, during an appearance on the "Today" show, host Matt Lauer cuts to video footage of the rapper criticizing George W. Bush during a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005 (in his memoir, Bush called West's insult "the worst moment of my presidency"). In tweets that have since been removed from his account, West writes that Lauer "tried to force my answer," and that "I feel very alone very used very tortured very forced very misunderstood very hollow very very misused."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why China thinks it could defeat the U.S. in battle
- 10 things you need to know today: August 20, 2014
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How the West produces jihadi tourists
- What the 'death of the library' means for the future of books
- What you need to know before you support the police in Ferguson
- The big policy question libertarians can't answer
- Girls on Film: 5 things that need to happen before Hollywood will ever truly change
Subscribe to the Week