In newly leaked video of the infamous phone call, Swift explains to West why she's wary of helping him release the "controversial" song
Four years after Kim Kardashian shared an edited phone call between her husband Kanye West and Taylor Swift discussing his “Famous” lyrics, extended portions of the conversation were leaked online late Friday night.
In clips posted to Twitter, the rapper, 42, is heard asking Swift, 30, to release his new song on her Twitter account. “So my next single, I wanted you to tweet it … so that’s why I’m calling you. I wanted you to put the song out,” he tells the Grammy winner on the phone.
After telling Swift he included a “very controversial line” about her in the song, the pop star nervously asks West what the lyrics are.
West then tells Swift he’s been mulling over the lyrics for eight months and warns her “it’s gonna go Eminem a little bit” and to “brace yourself for a second.”
A wary Swift asks if it’s “gonna be mean,” and West acknowledges even Kim initially felt it was “too crazy” but had come around. “It’s like my wife’s favorite f—ing line,” he says.
“So it says, ‘To all my Southside n— that know me best/ I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex,” continues West with a chuckle. Responds Swift with a laugh: “That’s not mean.”
Further discussing his proposal to have her release the song, Swift — who expresses relief that the lyrics aren’t about her being “that stupid dumb bitch” — tells West she needs to “think about it because it is absolutely crazy.”
Later in the call, West tells Swift the original lyric he wrote was, “To all my Southside n— that know me best/ I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.” (The lyric that made it into the final version of the track is “For all my Southside n— that know me best/ I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous”)
In another leaked portion, West asks Swift how she would feel if he included a line that said “I made her famous,” to which she warily responded: “Did you say that? Well, what am I going to do about it? It’s just kind of, like, whatever at this point. But I mean, you gotta tell the story the way it happened to you and the way that you’ve experienced it. Like, you honestly didn’t know who I was before that. Like, it doesn’t matter if I sold 7 million of that album before you did that, which is what happened. You didn’t know who I was before that. It’s fine. But um, yeah, I can’t wait to hear it.”
West also promises Swift—who encourages West to protect his relationship with Kim after he tells her his wife prefers him saying “owes me sex” instead of “might still have sex”—to send her the final version of the track.
“I’m going to send you the song and send you the exact wording and everything about it, right? And then we could sit and talk through it,” West tells Swift, who has long contended she never heard the song before its release.
After “Famous” was released in February of 2016, Swift’s rep told PEOPLE the singer “declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyrics, ‘I made that bitch famous.’”
In June of 2016, Kardashian West told GQ the singer had told her husband she would “laugh” and tell media she was “in on it the whole time” in a phone call. Then a month later, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star branded Swift a snake on social media and leaked edited snippets from the call on her Snapchat account.
“If people ask me about it, look, I think it would be great for me to be like, ‘He called me and told me before it came out . . . Joke’s on you, guys. We’re fine,’” Swift is heard saying in the footage Kardashian West posted on Snapchat.
Swift’s rep was quoted in the GQ article as saying that “much of what Kim is saying is incorrect. Taylor has never denied that conversation took place. It was on that phone call that Kanye West also asked her to release the song on her Twitter account, which she declined to do. Kanye West never told Taylor he was going to use the term ‘that bitch‘ in referring her. A song cannot be approved if it was never heard. Kanye West never played the song for Taylor Swift. Taylor heard it for the first time when everyone else did and was humiliated. Kim Kardashian’s claim that Taylor and her team were aware of being recorded is not true, and Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.”
Moments after Kardashian West posted snippets of the call, Swift released a statement on her Instagram slamming the couple. “Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that bitch’ in front of the entire world,” the singer wrote.
“Of course I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song. I wanted us to have a friendly relationship. He promised to play the song for me, but he never did. While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot ‘approve’ a song you haven’t heard. Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination.”
While Swift went on to record and tour reputation, a dark album inspired by the depressive period she went through following the drama, the West has remained mum about the feud while Kardashian West told Andy Cohen last January she was “over it.”
For a transcript of the newly leaked portion of Swift and West’s phone conversation, keep reading below:
KW: —old school s—, yeah. I’m doing great. I feel so awesome about the music. The album’s coming out Feb. 11. I’m doing the fashion show Feb. 11 at Madison Square Garden and dropping the album Feb. 12, that morning. It’s like …. yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Aw thank you so, so much. Thank you. It feels like, real. I don’t know, just ‘Ye, Apple, Steve Jobs-type music. Like, so my next single, I wanted you to tweet it … so that’s why I’m calling you. I wanted you to put the song out.
TS: What would people … I guess it would just be, people would be like, “Why is this happening?” And I had something to do with it, probably.
KW: The reason why it would happen is because it has a very controversial line at the beginning of the song about you.
TS: What does it say? [nervous laughter]
KW: It says, and the song is so, so dope, and I literally sat with my wife, with my whole manager team, with everything, and try to rework this line. I’ve thought about this line for eight months, I’ve had this line and tried to rework it every which way, and the original way that I thought about it is the best way, but it’s the most controversial, so it’s gonna go Eminem a little bit, so can you brace yourself for a second?
KW: Okay, alright. It says—wait a second, you sound sad.
TS: Well, is it gonna be mean?
KW: No, I don’t think it’s mean.
TS: Okay, then let me hear it.
KW: Okay, um … and the funny thing is when I first played it and my wife heard it, she was like “Huh? What? That’s too crazy, blah, blah, blah.” And when Ninja from Die Antwoord heard it, he was like, “Oh God, this is the craziest sh—! This is why I love Kanye,” that kind of thing. It’s like my wife’s favorite f—ing line. I just wanted to give you some premise of that, right?
KW: So it says, “To all my Southside n— that know me best/ I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex.” [chuckles]
TS: [chuckles] That’s not mean.
KW: Okay. Yeah, well, this is the thing why I’m calling you because you got an army. You own a country of motherf—ing two billion people, basically, that if you felt that it’s funny and cool and like hip hop and felt like, you know, just The College Dropout and the artist like, ‘Ye that you love, then I think that people would be like way into it, and that’s why I think it’s super genius to have you be the one that says, ‘Oh, I like this song a lot, like, yeah, whatever. This is cool. Whatever, it’s like, I got like s— on my album where I’m like, “I bet me and Ray J will be friends if we ain’t love the same bitch.”
TS: Oh my [laughs]. I mean, I need to think about it because you hear something for the first time, you need to think about it because it is absolutely crazy. I’m glad it’s not mean though. It doesn’t feel mean, but like, oh my God, the build-up you gave it. I thought it was gonna be like that stupid dumb bitch, like, but it’s not. Um, so I don’t know. I mean, the launch thing, I think it would be kind of confusing to people, but I definitely like, I definitely think that when I’m asked about, of course I’m gonna be like, “Yeah, I’m his biggest fan. I love that. I think it’s hilarious,” but um, I’ll think about it.
KW: Yeah, you don’t have to do—you don’t have to do the launch and retweet. That’s just an extra idea that I had, like, but if you think that that’s cool, then that’s cool. If not, we are launching the s— like on just GOOD Fridays, on Soundcloud, the site, s— like that.
TS: You know, the thing about me is like, anything that I do becomes a feminine think-piece, and if I launch it, they’re gonna be like, “Wow,” like this thing—like they’ll just turn it into something that … I think if I launch it, it honestly like, it’ll be less cool ‘cause I think if I launch it, it adds this level of criticism, ‘cause having that many followers and having that many eyeballs on me right now, people are just looking for me to do something dumb or stupid or lame, and it’s like almost … I don’t know, like I kind of feel like people would try to make it negative if it came from me. Do you know what I mean?
TS: I try to be super self-aware about where I am, and I feel like, I feel like right now I’m like this close to overexposure.
KW: Well, this one, I think this is a really cool thing to have.
TS: I know, it’s like a compliment [laughs].
KW: I had this line where I said—and my wife really didn’t like this one because we tried to make it nicer. So I said, “To all my Southside n— that know me best/ I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex,” and my wife was really not with that one. She was way more into “She owes you sex,” but then the owe part was the feminist group-type s— that I was like, “Ahhh.”
TS: That’s the part that I’m kind of—I mean, they’re both really edgy, but that’s the only thing about that line is that it’s like gonna … the feminists are gonna come out, but I mean, you don’t have to give a f—, so…
KW: Yeah, basically. Well, what I give a f— about is just you as a person and as a friend. I want things—
TS: That’s sweet—
KW: —that make you feel good. I don’t wanna do rap that makes people feel bad, like of course like I’m mad at Nike, so people think like, “Oh, he’s a bully. He ran on stage with Taylor. He’s bullying Nike now, this $50 billion company.”
TS: Why are people saying you’re bullying Nike?
KW: Because on “Facts” I said like, “Yeezy, Nike out here bad, they can’t give s— away.”
TS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s just what you do though.
TS: [laughs] I mean, I wouldn’t say that it’s like possible to bully a company like Nike where—I mean, um, yeah, I mean, go with whatever line you think is better. It’s obviously very tongue-in-cheek either way, and I really appreciate you telling me about it. That’s really nice.
KW: Oh yeah. I just had a responsibility to you as a friend. I mean, thanks for being, like, so cool about it.
TS: Thanks. Yeah, I really appreciate it. The heads-up is so nice. You’d be surprised how many people just do things without even asking or seeing if I’d be okay with it, and I just really appreciate it. I never would have expected you to tell me about a line in one of your songs. That’s really nice that you did.
KW: You mean like unexpected s— like you taking the time to give someone a really, really valuable award and then they completely run for president right afterwards? Like unexpected in that kind of way? [laughs]
TS: [laughs] We have not talked about what happened.
KW: I just thought that was wavy. It was vibe-y. The funny thing is I thought about the weed and the president … both of those things I thought about in the shower the day before and just started laughing like crazy. I was like, I gotta say that I had just smoked some weed, and then say I’m gonna run for president. So those are my bases of … I knew I wanted to say the thing about going to like the Dodgers game with my daughter and like getting booed and that being scary, and I knew I wanted to say, like, me changing and thinking about people more since I had a daughter. And then I wanted to say the weed thing. And then I wanted to say the president thing. And everything else was just like off the cuff.
TS: Oh my God. It was definitely, like, it stole the show. And then the flowers that you sent me. I Instagram-ed a picture of them and it’s the most Instagram likes I’ve ever gotten. It was like 2.7 million likes on that picture of the flowers you sent me. Crazy.
KW: It’s some connection or something that I think is really important about that moment when we met on stage. There’s something that I think is really important about that, and where humanity is going, or now where me and Kim are, and having a family and just everything, the way things are landing. So it’s always—relationships are more important than punchlines, you know.
TS: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think anybody would listen to that and be like, “Oh, that’s a real diss.” Like, “She must be crying about that line.” And I think because of how crazy and strange and fateful the way we met was, I think we have to pick our moments to do stuff together and make sure it’s only really cool stuff.
KW: Yeah, exactly. We can’t have it, like, be somebody else’s idea that gets in front and they’re, like—because if you’re like a really true, creative, visceral, vibe-y type person, it’s probably hard for you to work at a corporation. So how can you give a creative—creative ideas and you’re working in a house of non-creativity? It’s like this weird … so whenever we talk directly—okay, now what if later in the song I was also to have said, uh, “I made her famous”? Is that a—
TS: [hesitant] Did you say that?
KW: Yes, it might’ve happened [laughs].
TS: Well, what am I gonna do about it?
KW: Uh, like, do the hair flip?
TS: Yeah, I mean, um, it’s just kind of like, whatever, at this point. But I mean, you’ve got to tell the story the way that it happened to you and the way that you’ve experienced it. Like, you honestly didn’t know who I was before that. Like, it doesn’t matter if I sold seven million of that album before you did that, which is what happened. You didn’t know who I was before that. It’s fine. But, um, yeah. I can’t wait to hear it.
KW: I mean, it’s fun. It’s definitely—you’re ready to trend. That’s all I can say.
TS: Uh, what’s the song called?
KW: Uh, it might be called “Hood Famous.”
TS: Oh, cool. Is it going to be like a single-single, or is it going to be a Soundcloud release? What are you doing?
KW: Oh, this one right here is like f—ing song of the year-type territory.
TS: Oh my God, amazing. That’s crazy. Oh my God. Speaking of song of the year, are you going to the Grammys?
KW: Uh, you know what? I was thinking to not do it. But I think that this song—you know what? I’m going to send you the song and send you the exact wording and everything about it, right? And then we could sit and talk through it. But if the song goes and f—ing just—
TS: …they just look at us and go … Even if we’ve made an incredible achievement, it’s harder for people to write down our names for some reason. That’s just human nature. It’s envy. It’s asking people in our industry to vote for the people who are already killing it.
KW: Yeah. It’s, like, so many people wanted Meek Mills to win because Drake was just killing it for so long, and they were just like, “We just need like Meek Mills to like—but I think, you know, okay, so that has my mind going through a lot of places to problem-solve. I was talking to Ben Horowitz. Do you know this guy? He’s a VC. Ben Horowitz out of San Fran. But he’s down with that.
TS: I know that name. I don’t know him.
KW: It’s just like the San Fran clique, you know, that type of thing. Like he stays down the street from Mark Zuckerberg and s— like that. So I was talking to him and I was like, “Bro.” Like me, I’m in personal debt. I’m in debt by a good like $20, 30 million, ever since the fashion … and still have not made it out of it. So that’s part of the reason why I had to go to Roc Nation and the touring deals evolved, and it allowed the whole town to try to feel like they could control Kanye or even talk to me like I’m regular or have agents do it, but they saw they couldn’t. It’s like even in debt, he moves around like he’s like a billionaire. I’m like, yeah, I’m a cultural trillionaire! I might have financial debts. So I told Ben Horowitz, I was like, “You guys, you, Mark Zuckerberg or whoever, Tim Cook, you guys have to clean that up.” So I’m sending Ben Horowitz my current balance. That means that l’m not up $50, not up 100 million, not up 200 million, not up 300 million. No. Negative $20 million, currently. I, Kanye West, the guy who created the genre of music that is The Weeknd, that is Drak —the guy who created—every single person that makes music right now, favorite album is The College Dropout. Every single person that makes music. But I’m rich enough. Like, I went into debt to my wife by $6 million working on a f—ing house, less than like a few months ago, and I was able to pay her back before Christmas and s— like that. So, you know, when I talk about Nike, the idea that they wouldn’t give me a percentage, that I could make something that was so tangible, when Drake was just rapping me into the motherf—ing trashcan, that I could have something that was tangible that showed my creativity and expressed myself, that also could be a business that I could have a five-times multiple on and actually be able to sell it for like $100 million, $200 million or a billion dollars, that was very serious. Every conversation, every time I’d scream at Charlemagne or scream at Sway, that was really, really, really serious. And it also was with my family. I felt like, look, if I’m just the angry black guy with some cool red shoes from Nike five years ago, I was going to be visiting my daughter, as opposed to be living with her. It would’ve been like, enough is enough. It wouldn’t have been cool anymore, because it would have been a group of people, including my wife, that all had at least like $500, 400 million in their account. And then you get the angry black man at the party talking about “I’m the one that put Kim in the dress! I’m the one that did this!” But it never realized itself. So that’s one of the things I just talked to Ben. And I talk about it on the album. Talk about personal debt and s—. Just the idea like, “Oh s—, this dude with this f—ing Maybach that makes f—ing $50 million a tour still hasn’t lined it up or came out of the point when AEG and Live Nation wouldn’t give him a deal.” The debt started after Watch the Throne, because I got no deal. But I still was doing my creative projects on my own, shooting a film, doing a fashion show, just trying to be very Disney, be very visceral, be creative. And…
TS: I mean, I’m sure you’ve thought about this up and down, but I mean, is there a way to monetize these in a way that you thought would still feel authentic but make them into a multi-billion dollar company?
KW: Well, that’s what we’re going to do. That’s what we’re in the plans of. I’m 100 percent going to be like a multi, multi, multi-billionaire. I think it’s fun that I can like be like Charlie Sheen and be like, “Hey, like, I got AIDS.” You know, like—to me, I told Drake that the other night. I was like, “Yo, Drake, I’m in personal debt.” And for me to tell Drake, the f—ing number one bachelor in the world that can f—ing rap anybody into a trashcan, that lives four blocks down the street from my wife and like basically f—s all of her friends, that I’m in personal debt, it’s such a like putting down the sword or putting down the hand or opening, showing the hand. That I don’t have my poker face on with any of you guys. I’m just me. I’m just a creative. You know, everything I did, even when it was mistimed, whatever it might’ve been from a—it’s always, like, from a good place, and I know that I’ll overcome it and I know that the world will overcome it. Because, like, I’m going to change the world. I’m going to make it—I’m gonna make people’s lives better on some post-Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes-type s—. Like, I’m going to do things with education. I’m going to do things that help to calm down murders in Chicago or across the globe. Things that help to calm down police brutality, to equalize the wealth amidst the class system. Because there’s a bunch of classes of wealthy people that hate Obama because he’s more social and he wants the people who don’t have anything to have everything. And in my little way, by learning how to design, design is something that’s only given to the rich currently. The exact color palette that Hermès uses versus the color palette that Forever 21 uses—a color palette is extremely important. Color is important. You know, the knowledge of proportions, you know, the size of our house versus the size of someone else’s houses, and just the dynamics of that proportion. Like, I don’t want this conversation to go too, too long, but I wanted to give you a bit of where I’m at and the perspective that I’m at and the way … the fact that I am the microprocessor of our culture. Meaning like, I can figure out how to give Rihanna a Mary J. Blige-type album. I can figure out how to get the fashion world to accept my wife, and thus the whole family. I can figure out a lot of impossible … I can figure out how to make something that you’re wearing to the airport, five years after the entire globe was like, “Hang that n— alive and f— him, and let’s watch him die, slowly, publicly.” So, it’s a lot. I figured that out for myself, so it’s a lot of s— that we collectively, with the power that you have and your fans, the power my wife has, the power that I have, that we can do to really make it where it’s not just the rich getting richer, but you know, make it not just a f—ing charity, not singing for Africa, but change things in a way that people can experience s— themselves, a piece of the good life. You know?
TS: Yeah. I mean, they’re amazing ideas and amazing concepts, and I definitely would love to talk to you more about it. I know you have to do something right now, but I love that that’s where you’re headed. And it’s been like that. I mean, when we went to dinner, there were the rumblings of those ideas. I like that you’re always thinking outward. And over the last six, seven, eight years, however long it’s been since that happened, I haven’t always liked you, but I’ve always respected you. And I think that’s what you’re saying when you say like, you know, “I might be in debt, but I can make these things happen, and I have the ideas to do it, and I can create these things or these concepts.” Like, I’m always going to respect you. And I’m really glad that you had the respect to call me and tell me that as a friend about the song, and it’s a really cool thing to do, and a really good show of friendship. So thank you.
KW: Oh, thank you too.
TS: And you know, if people ask me about it, look, I think it would be great for me to be like, “Look, he called me and told me the line before it came out. Like, the joke’s on you guys. We’re fine.”
KW: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I think that’s pretty much the switch right there.
TS: Yeah. Like, you guys want to call this a feud, you want to call this throwing shade, but you know, right after the song comes out, I’m gonna be on a Grammy red carpet, and they’re gonna ask me about it and I’ll be like, “He called me and sent me the song before it came out.” So I think we’re good.
KW: Okay. I’m gonna go lay this verse, and I’m gonna send it to you right now.
TS: Oh, you just—you haven’t recorded it yet?
KW: I recorded it. I’m nuancing the lines. Like the last version of it says, “me and Taylor might still have sex.” And then my wife was like, ”That doesn’t sound as hard!”
TS: Well, I mean, she’s saying that honestly because she’s your wife, and like, um … so I think whatever one you think is actually better. I mean, obviously do what’s best for your relationship, too. I think “owes me sex,” it says different things. It says—”owes me sex” means like, “look, I made her what she is. She actually owes me.” Which is going to split people because people who like me are going to be like, “She doesn’t owe him s—.” But then people who like thought it was badass and crazy and awesome that you’re so outspoken are going to be like, “Yeah, she does. It made her famous.” So it’s more provocative to say “still have sex,” because no one would see that coming. They’re both crazy. Do what you want. They’re both going to get every single headline in the world. “Owes me sex” is a little bit more like throwing shade, and the other one’s more flirtatious. It just depends on what you want to accomplish with it.
KW: Yeah, I feel like with my wife, that she probably didn’t like the “might still have sex” because it would be like, what if she was on a TV show and said, “Me and Tom Brady might still have sex” or something?
TS: You have to protect your relationship. Do what’s best. You just had a kid. You’re in the best place of your life. I wouldn’t ever advise you to f— with that. Just pick whatever. It’s cause and effect. One is gonna make people feel a certain way, and it’s gonna be a slightly different emotion for the other. But it’s not—it doesn’t matter to me. There’s not one that hurts my feelings and the other doesn’t.
KW: Yeah. It’s just, when I’m pointing this gun, what I tried to do differently than two years ago, is like when I shoot a gun, I try to point it away from my face. So one is a little bit more flirtatious and easier, I think, so really, that means the conversation is really—one is like a little bit better for the public and a little bit less good for the relationship. One is a little bit worse for the public and better for the relationship.
TS: Yeah. I can hear it. But it’s your goals, really. I mean, you always just go with your gut, obviously. But, um, amazing. Send it to me. I’m excited.
KW: All right, cool. Thanks so much.
TS: Awesome, I’ll talk to you later.
KW: All right, cool. Peace. Bye. [to camera] We had to get that on the record.
Cameraman: I’m sorry. The battery on this thing died.
KW: It’s just when it dies, you get some s— like Kanye talking to Taylor Swift explaining that line? There’s gotta be three cameras on that one. We can’t miss one element.