Bad Press, Jackass: The Kanye West and Taylor Swift Swindle.
Since September 13, the most talked about entertainment news story has been the drama of Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. While hearing the same repeated sentiments of what a sorry excuse for a human being Kayne is, I decided to do a little deeper research into the matter. Without a doubt, it was a dickard move, on Kanye’s part. However, while doing a little digging, there are a few small nuggets of information that I haven’t heard brought to the public’s attention. Let me present a couple of different angles on the incident that you may not have considered.
Kanye West raps and produces under the Roc-A-Fella Records (founded by Jay-Z) label, which is owned by Def Jam Records, which is in turn owned by Universal Music Group. Taylor Swift makes music for Big Machine Records, which has its records distributed by the same Universal Music Group. Intrinsically, Kanye West are “label-mates.”
While I don’t put controversy schemes past Kanye, don’t write off Swift as the innocent victim quite yet, this isn’t her first encounter with hip-hop. She collaborated with rapper T-Pain on a remix of her own song at the CMT Music Awards in June 2009, called “Thug Story.” [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L52emsayp1o ] T-Pain has appeared on more than one song with Kanye, collaborating on songs like “Good Life” (which won a Grammy in 2007), and “Go Hard” (2008). I doubt very much that Kanye hadn’t heard of Taylor Swift before this night. T-Pain raps for Jive Records, who are owned by Sony Music Entertainment, who also happen to house Beyonce via Columbia Records. More on her later…
Everyone talked about how that night at the MVA’s was Taylor Swift’s “moment”, but lets be honest, she only won “Best FEMALE Video”, not “Video of the Year” (which is open to BOTH genders). I mean, sure it’s an accomplishment, but it’s not like she was taking home the award of the night by at any rate. And when did the trophies from an MTV Awards show become so career-altering anyways?
Beyonce “saved face” after Kanye proclaimed her as the deserving winner of the award; and had Taylor come on stage and say her thank-you’s during Beyonce’s own acceptance speech; a classy move [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOIOanr3JOo ]. Oddly, Beyonce and Swift seemed to be wearing the same dress. Anyone who knows much about music gossip knows that Beyonce is (allegedly) married to Kanye West’s boss, Jay-Z, who just so happens to have just released and touring with his latest album, “Blueprint 3.” Also, Kanye did produce Beyonce’s 2003 album “Dangerously in Love,” as well as 6 Jay-Z albums. Coincidence?
I thought Jay would have been cursing the day that he ever let Kanye West out of the production studio and into the public eye when he heard about the incident at the VMA’s. But while Donald Trump called for a boycott of all things Kanye West, every musician and every news show on TV and radio wrote off Kanye and labeled him as an alcoholic and spotlight nympho, and even The President of the F’n United States of America, Barack Obama, called ‘Ye “a jackass” [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=078BGtKNL1o ], Jigga stepped up to defend Kanye, saying, “He didn’t kill anybody…” agreeing that the outburst was “inappropriate at the time.” He also added Kanye’s “just a super-passionate person… Of course it was rude because it was (Taylor’s) moment but that’s the way he really felt…..I think it was rude but the way they’re treating him… He’s on the cover of every paper…He didn’t kill anybody. No one got harmed.” [http://www.mtv.ca/vma/2009/article.jhtml?id=20490] The only other person I know who has mentioned anything in Kanye’s defence is my friend, Andy Smith, over at “Smithy Blogs,” who wrote this blog http://tinyurl.com/smithkanyeblog that you can read on your own time.
Kanye has since apologized publicly numerous times, and Swift “eventually” accepted the “sorry.” So, how long, would you say, will we have to wait for the duets and album collaborations and guest apperances between them? My guess is that Universal and Sony Music are way ahead of us. In a time where record companies are losing piles of money in CD sales, learning how to profit off of digital downloads, and throwing lawsuits at people who download illegally, is it that crazy to think that two record companies would thrust a few very marketable individuals into the spotlight to generate an enormous media buzz to, in turn, boost sales? Bad press for Kanye, good press for Swift; and everyone’s talking and writing about them both. No press is bad press, right?
Kanye is a jackass though.