Gawker has obtained audio of an alleged Kanye West erratically justifying his interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards ("Because I wrote my ['Run This Town'] verse in two days, Taylor Swift cannot beat Beyoncé"), ranting about not being asked to perform at the ceremony over Pink, and claiming that his mother, Donda West, "died for this fame shit."
The audio supposedly was recorded secretly while West was at dinner with friends after leaving Radio City Music Hall on the night of the 2009 VMAs (September 13, 2009). Our tipster tells us that West shared a table with other musicians (none of whom are easily identifiable in the audio above) at the Corner Bistro in New York's West Village. The salvageable audio is above, and a full transcript below.
And look, there's no way for us to tell from the audio if this is really West, but it sure as hell sounds like him (take it from someone who pored over his interviews for hours and hours). It's not just the tone and timbre of his voice that's convincing, but the content of his rant, the loose connections he draws as if they are utterly obvious. If this is real, and I am thoroughly convinced that it is, it's one for his canon.
I'd rather just let the [inaudible] speak for itself. You know, it's like, I was happy to be in a situation where people couldn't say, oh, I was trying to promote my own song. For the times that I've, like, defended myself... [Tape break] I'm pushing the envelope! I wrote my fuckin' 'Run This Town' verse for a fuckin' month! When I heard Eminem's verse on the Drake shit, I went back and rewrote my shit for two days. I canceled appointments to rewrite! I fuckin' care! You know what I'm saying? And that's what I'm saying. Because I did that, Taylor Swift cannot win over Beyoncé! Because I wrote my verse in two days, Taylor Swift cannot beat Beyoncé. As long as I'm alive! And if I'm alive, kill me then! Kill me then! As long as I'm alive, you gon' have to deal with it. 'Cause there ain't gonna be no more motherfucking Elvises with no James Browns.
[A female voice asks, "Why are you so angry? What's the anger?"] Because my mother got arrested for the fuckin' sit-ins. My mother died for this fame shit! I moved to fuckin' Hollywood chasing this shit. My mother died because of this shit. Fuck MTV.
It ain't no love. What the fuck was Pink performing? Don't nobody know that song. Pink performed twice! Two songs? How the fuck Pink perform two songs and I didn't even get asked to perform "Heartless." "Heartless" is the biggest song of the year! It had the most spins of the first quarter! I don't know that Pink song! But I noticed that she's pink! They put me in a fuckin' room and [inaudible - maybe "projected it"].
[A male voice asks, "How the fuck did Eminem get the Best Hip-Hop song in 2008?"] Eminem won Best Video! Rap Video! Yo, when he wont that shit, I was so happy. I was so happy I [unclear - "ran all this shit," maybe]. I said, "Nigga, I'm gon' do this until y'all put a bullet in my head. I'm runnin' up to y'all, put a..." [tape cuts].
Before the ceremony even ended (and likely before this rant), West posted an all-caps apology on his now-defunct blog, which began, "I'M SOOOOO SORRY TO TAYLOR SWIFT AND HER FANS AND HER MOM. I SPOKE TO HER MOTHER RIGHT AFTER AND SHE SAID THE SAME THING MY MOTHER WOULD'VE SAID. SHE IS VERY TALENTED! I LIKE THE LYRICS ABOUT BEING A CHEERLEADER AND SHE'S IN THE BLEACHERS!" He deleted that, replacing it with a much simpler post the next day: "I feel like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents when he messed up everything and Robert DeNiro asked him to leave...That was Taylor's moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry." Then he apologized and cried about it on TV after Jay Leno shamed him (invoking West's dead mother Donda). Then he apologized again on Twitter in 2010. In the New York Times earlier this year, he blamed this apology on "peer pressure," explaining, "I think that I have like, faltered, you know, as a human. My message isn’t perfectly defined."
Taylor Swift, meanwhile, referenced Kanye on Twitter while acknowledging her nominations for this year's VMAs:
Two VMA nominations!! If you vote and get us one, I promise to keep a firmer grip on the mic this time ;) http://t.co/nK9rhV95RP
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 17, 2013
Sometimes Kanye makes it hard to be on Team Kanye, but Taylor Swift always makes it easy.
[Video still image via Getty]