Despite all his youthful bombast and childlike temper tantrums, Kanye West is now 40 years old. It’s very likely that the rapper will keep us entertained and on our toes for another 40 years, but to celebrate this milestone, let’s look back on five of his wildest, most confounding, and most controversial moments.
5. Yeezus thinks he’s Jesus (2006-present)
Perhaps nobody else alive has a healthier Christ-like complex. In 2006, Kanye riled up critics with his Rolling Stone cover, complete with a crown of thorns. The headline, referencing the 2004 Mel Gibson film, was “The Passion of Kanye West.”
Then in 2008, he went on an extended rant about his biblical worth, telling DJ Tim Westwood, “You don’t think I would be one of the characters of today’s modern Bible?”
In 2013, he bluntly named his new album Yeezus. It included the song “I Am a God, ” in which Kanye has a fictional conversation that goes like this: “I just talked to Jesus / He said, “What up Yeezus?” / I said, ‘Sh*t I’m chilling / Trying to stack these millions.'”
The constant comparisons didn’t go unnoticed. In early 2017, an artist created a statue of Kanye in Hollywood – complete with a crucifix.
a life-size Kanye West “Jesus” golden statue has been unveiled on Hollywood Boulevard pic.twitter.com/UiqzRjiMcp
— Rapper Reactions (@RapperReact) June 4, 2017
4. Kanye for president? (2015)
In June 2015, Donald Trump announced he was officially running for president. Three months later, at the MTV Video Music Awards, ’Ye followed suit with a glorious mic-drop moment. He said, “I have decided, in 2020, to run for president.”
Later, after a much-publicized visit with then-President-elect Donald Trump, he revised his statement: He would now be running in 2024, not 2020.
3. His 2016 hospitalization
Most of the time, Kanye’s high jinks can be laughed at, or at least made fun of for their ridiculousness.
But in November of 2016, he suddenly canceled his tour after a rant during a Sacramento show, a rant that criticized Jay Z and Beyoncé.
Shortly after, he was hospitalized for “temporary psychosis.” Ever since, he’s kept a relatively low profile.
2. That unforgettable George W. Bush comment (2005)
During a 2005 telethon in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Kanye West stood next to Mike Myers. Both made a case for why viewers should donate. Then, out of nowhere, Kanye said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” That comment, and Mike Myers shocked reaction, would live on in infamy.
Later, President Bush called it “one of the most disgusting moments of [his] presidency.” And in 2010, during a super uncomfortable interview with Matt Lauer on Today, Kanye apologized, saying, “I didn’t have the grounds to call [Bush] a racist.”
1. All things Taylor Swift (2009-present)
It all started with Kanye’s notorious “Imma let you finish” interruption during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The two later made peace and were even photographed together having a good time at the 2015 Grammys.
Of course, that didn’t last long. In 2016, Kanye ruined their good vibes with two choice lyrics in his song “Famous”: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b*tch famous.”
Swift was reportedly incensed at the dig and later responded at the 2016 Grammys. She never said Kanye’s name during her acceptance speech for Best Album but attacked those who took credit for her accomplishments — a thinly veiled knock on the rapper.
Kanye defended himself, claiming that he had called Swift to ask permission for the lyrics and she had approved them. But when she denied that, Kim Kardashian Snapchatted video of Kanye talking on the phone to someone who sounds a lot like Swift.
For Kanye and his fans, that was proof that she had reportedly given it the OK.
In more Kanye news, the rapper has an extensive history with U.S. presidents:
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