14 years of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" drama has got nothing on Kanye’s September Twitter escapades.
Kanye West is at war with terrorism, racism, and newly added to the list: the music industry. Kanye West has long been known to use his unpredictable Twitter account to make blunt, tendentious, and oftentimes reductive comments, but his controversy streak has hit an all-time-high in recent weeks. The 43-year-old rapper’s recent Twitter spree has thrown every unexpected curve imaginable to the millions of people apprehensively/anxiously/astoundingly watching.
It’s been a bizarre ride, to say the least, and we’ve put together an exhaustive round-up of the rapper’s Twitter exploits of the month thus far. If you've had difficulty keeping track, here's the Kanye September Antics Timeline.
Kanye West Named Highest-Paid Male Celebrity in The World (September 3)
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The month opened up with Kanye topping Forbes’ list of highest-paid male celebrities, with the Jesus Is King rapper having earned a whopping $170 million over the past year. West gave a nod to the milestone on Twitter, writing, “This a good start,” to his 31 million followers.
Kanye Calls Forbes “Crazy Racist” & Says They’re His Favorite White Supremacists (September 9)
Days after Forbes ordained Kanye the highest-paid male celebrity, they published an article not-so-graciously titled, “A Second Stimulus Coming: Can The Black Community Wait?” The public’s unanimous disapproval of the headline prompted the media company to swap the words “Black community” to “Minority communities”, before ultimately settling on “Low-income households” later on, but not before people took to Twitter to express their disgust with the headline’s thinly-veiled racism. The article ironically came out just days after Ye expressed his feelings about the company in an interview with Nick Cannon, saying, “Forbes is some of my favorite White supremacists, man. They cold, bro. My most favorite white supremacists is Forbes, because I just gotta respect their gangster. They don't live in 2020. They act like it's 1800s still. Read the Forbes. It's crazy racist. Everytime they write stuff."
Kanye Exposes “Fake Employee” On His Payroll (September 14)
The tweet that really seemed to start it all. The "Fake Employee." Lauren Greenfield.
West took to Twitter to post a screenshot of a social media profile under the name Lauren Greenfield with no profile photo, captioned, “Has anyone ever heard of this person ? I just found a fake employee on my payroll!!!" The mystery person’s job position reads, “Music Consultant.” While nobody was entirely sure of who it was, people were quick to discover there is a photographer and filmmaker of that name who has worked with the Kardashians in the past, with Kendall even having a photo she took on display in her home. While it’s unclear whether or not the matter was resolved, Kanye has since deleted his tweet, and has moved on to much larger issues than the identity of Ms. Greenfield.
Kanye Shares Another Old Drake Video (September 15)
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After pinning a retweet of Drake rapping “Ready or Not” by The Fugees as a kid to his Twitter page on September 10th in what seemed to be an attempt to reconcile his relationship with the Canadian rapper, Ye bewildered fans even further when he retweeted a video of the two of them performing “4 PM in Calabasas” in 2016. The pair have been feuding for years, ever since West produced Pusha-T’s album, Daytona, in which Pusha threw shade at Drake, igniting a feud between the two that ultimately led to Drizzy’s then-secret kid, Adonis, being outed to the public in Pusha’s “The Story of Adidon.” Since then, it’s been icy between Kanye and Drake, with Drake even having confirmed the friendship as being dead to him forever. Clearly, Kanye is trying to change that, to what seems to be no avail.
Kanye Calls Music Industry & NBA "Slave Ships", Proclaims Himself The "New Moses" (September 15)
In a series of tweets, Kanye expressed his feelings about God, his conflict with fellow rappers Drake and J. Cole, and the exploitation of Black talent for the benefit of leeching organizations, naming the NBA and the music industry as examples. Denominating himself as the “New Moses,” Kanye urged his followers to pave a way for themselves and buy land using the government’s money. Check out his full tangent here.
Kanye Calls on Drake, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar To Sit Down With Him (September 15)
After demanding a public apology from J. Cole and Drake the day prior and once again being met with radio silence on their ends, Yeezy decided on a different approach. The “Jesus Walks” rapper invited the two of them as well as Kendrick Lamar to sit down together and diffuse their differences, pleading that any dissonance among them will only serve to hurt them, while benefiting those whom they should be uniting against in the fight for artist music ownership.
Kanye Rants about Masters Ownership, Speaks on Conspiracy Theories About Prince and Michael Jackson’s Deaths (September 16)
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In a 17-tweet rant, Kanye unleashed his thoughts on record labels’ persistent denial of artists’ right to own the masters (the original sound recording copyrights) of their songs. Artists have long been fighting to obtain ownership of their sound recordings, but seeing as most record deals involve artists giving up their rights to recordings in exchange for royalties, it’s an uphill battle with pretty much no end in sight. In his twitter tirade, West also implied he believed Michael Jackson and Prince were killed because they had ownership of their masters. Check out his rant in full here.
Kanye Tweets Pictures of His Record Contract Pages (September 16)
In hindsight, this is where the shitstorm truly began. Raising the stakes in his fight for freedom from the shackles of his lifelong contract with Sony and Universal, Kanye tweeted over 100 pictures of his record contracts. The rapper argued that the complex jargon embedded into these contracts is done with the intention of bamboozling artists into accepting binding deals that give them less than they deserve, with no way out.
Kanye Pees On His Grammy (September 16)
Lauded as one of the highest forms of praise an artist can receive in their career, Grammy awards are sought out by industry newcomers and old-timers alike. In a video uploaded to Twitter, Yeezy completely shit on (er— pissed on) the concept of Grammy’s as a sign of success, making clear his complete and utter disregard for any symbolic nods to his musical accomplishments so long as he doesn’t have the rights to his music. He once again called on Drake and Cole for their support, even asking Taylor Swift, a vocal proponent for artist music ownership, to metaphorically stand by him.
Kanye Gets Banned From Twitter For Releasing Editor of Forbes’ Phone Number (September 16)
Yeah, September 16th proved a pretty eventful day if you were watching Kanye's twitter timeline. Hiking his Forbes beef up a notch, West boldly released the cellphone number of editor and chief content officer of Forbes Media, Randall Lane, “If any of my fans want to call a white supremacist... This is the editor of Forbes," Ye tweeted, along with a screenshot of Lane’s contact information. Twitter was quick to hit the brakes on that one, though, restricting Kanye from tweeting any further until he removed the tweet.
Kanye Addresses Hit-Boy, Beyoncé Allegation (September 16)
Upon Kanye calling out the music industry for its corruption, Hit-Boy revealed on Instagram that he isn’t on good terms with Ye, saying, “I haven’t been a fan of Kanye on a personal/ human level since he told me face to face he stopped picking my beats because I worked with Beyoncé.” Kanye denied the allegation, tweeting a screenshot of Hit-Boy’s caption and saying, “I DIDN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIM PRODUCING FOR BEYONCÉ ... I HAD A PROBLEM WITH THE FACT HE WAS SIGNED TO ME AND I DIDN’T KNOW BUT I KNEW JAY AND BEYONCÉ AND HIT-BOY ... JUST FOR CLARITY.”
Kanye Addresses Rumors About Jay Selling His Masters (September 18)
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Amidst swirling suspicions that Jay-Z sold the masters for Kanye’s first six albums, which were under the Roc-a-fella imprint now owned by Jay-Z, in order to acquire his own, Kanye surprisingly remained unruffled. Making it clear that his one and only enemy are record labels and not his fellow artists, Kanye tweeted, "Don’t let the system pit us against each other… JAY IS MY BROTHER ... I have eternal love for all artist that have been through and are still trapped this crooked system. Jay still doesn’t get his own masters back for ten years. I will see to it that we all get our masters."
Kanye Tweets To North, “If I am murdered...Just know I love you” (September 18)
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In a since-deleted tweet, Yeezy cranked up the cryptic messaging to a million when he announced to Twitter, "NORTHY I AM GOING TO WAR AND PUTTING MY LIFE ON THE LINE … IF I AM MURDERED DON'T EVER LET WHITE MEDIA TELL YOU I WASNT A GOOD MAN... WHEN PEOPLE THREATEN TO TAKE YOU OUT OF MY LIFE JUST KNOW I LOVE YOU." The mystifying tweet seemed to backpack off of his previous theory that artists like MJ and Prince, who owned their masters, end up being targeted and killed by those who don’t want to see artists have ownership over their own music.
Kanye Calls for Suge Knight’s Freedom From Prison (September 18)
Kanye continued his Twitter escapade by tweeting, “FREE SHUG,” with a photo of the 55-year-old former music executive who is currently serving a twenty-eight-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter. Suge was sentenced to prison after running over a man in his car while shooting Straight Outta Compton. Kanye’s random expression of support for the former rap mogul was baffling, but Kanye is no stranger to defending convicted felons, having once called for Bill Cosby’s release from prison despite the former actor’s multiple convictions of aggravated indecent assault.
Shifting gears from his fight against his record label, Ye shared news of a collaboration with Eminem on a possibly-forthcoming Dr. Dre remix of his 2019 song, “Use This Gospel,” even declaring it as his daughter North’s favorite Kanye song of all time. "@Eminem THANK YOU FOR RAPPING ON THE DR DRE REMIX OF USE THIS GOSPEL I HAVW ALWAYS LOVED AND RESPECTED YOU AND IM HONORED TO HAVE YOU BLESS THIS SONG ... ITS ALSO NORTH WEST’S FAVORITE KANYE WEST SONG OF ALL TIME,” read the tweet.
Kanye Declares He Will Make Sure Taylor Swift Gets Her Masters Back (September 18)
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Despite their long history of butting heads, Kanye and Taylor Swift are in agreement about one thing: artists deserve ownership of their own music. Swift has always advocated for artists’ rights, and expressed her upset in a 2019 Tumblr post when her foe Scooter Braun acquired the Big Machine Label Group, which she had been signed to since she stepped on the scene at 15 years old. Swift has since switched to Universal Music Group’s Republic Record, but not before opening up conversations about the power given to industry figures such as Braun, who essentially can control artists like puppets at their own will. Kanye vowed he would get Taylor her masters back, saying he is friends with Braun and can make it happen.
Boosie Badazz Says Kanye Is Jealous of Drake (September 18)
And according to his Twitter likes, Drake approved of that message. After watching Ye fire off nonstop tweets about Drake along with the rest of the world all week, 37-year-old rapper Boosie wrote on twitter, “@kanyewest WHY U CANT KEEP DRAKE OUT YO MOUTH BRA... IM GO SAY IT #stophatin #stophatin smh YOU SHOWING STR8 JEALOUSY N YOU AINT EVEN GOTTA DO THAT U RICH N*GGA SMH." Kanye has not yet responded to Boosie’s accusation that he's jealous of Drake.
Kanye Apologizes to Jay-Z For Calling Puma Designs “Embarrassingly Trash” (September 19)
After taking to Twitter the day before to express his distaste for Puma’s latest designs, saying, “I am the head of adidas ... I will bring adidas and puma back together and bring me and jay back together ... all pumas designs are embarrassingly trash but I will personally design puma and adidas and make everything ok,” Ye had a change of heart. He followed up the next day with, “Speaking Biggs now ... I shouldn’t have said anything about Puma publicly ... I apologize to Emory and Jay and the entire Puma crew.” Kanye West doesn’t have a shameful bone in his body, so an apology from him is a rarity.
Kanye Releases 7-Point Guideline For Future Record Deals (September 20)
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Not one to shy away from spelling out exactly what it is he wants, Kanye shared a 7-point guideline plan for all future music contracts. Among his demands are that contracts be written in easy-to-understand, plain-English language, the abolition of blanket licenses, and no more “advances” that swindle artists out of money when in reality, they should be receiving it. Read his 7-point plan in full here.
Kanye West Issues Semi-Apology to Ma$e (September 21)
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While Kanye is now reviving the fight for artist rights, it is a fight that has been underway for a long time. The system Kanye is so adamantly fighting against is one that he once benefited from at the expense of other artists, a fact that Ma$e took to Instagram to make sure he didn’t forget. In an Instagram caption, Ma$e pointed out Kanye’s hypocrisy in having just now joined this fight and saying he owes him an apology for his 2010 “Devil in a New Dress” lyric, “Don’t you leave when it’s hot, that's how Mase screwed up”, which was directed at him-- the rapper infamously left the game to become a pastor back in 1999.
Kanye acknowledged the validity of Ma$e’s frustration; while he didn’t outright apologize, he did tweet, “Ma$e is right about that line ... I always felt funny about that line … Ma$e is one of my favorite rappers and I based a lot of my flows off of him ... I’m the king of 'ooh can I get away with this bars' so I reap what I sow when the next generation does the same to me.”