Kanye West has achieved in music what Donald Trump is aiming for in politics – reaching a level of notoriety where all transgressions are forgiven by a fan base that is lovingly absorbed in his art. So rabid are his followers, in fact, one fan climbed Ye’s floating stage during a recent concert to be closer to his genius. Yeezy has evolved from a beat maker and rhyme savant to something much bigger, a cultural touchstone that demands to be appreciated in his own lifetime and on his own terms. But instead of waxing on about his cultural relevance, right here is where we are going to devolve into the more Kardashian elements of Kanye’s life, which some would argue are just as important as his work, as we recount our top five favorite bizarre Kanye moments so far in 2016. (The year isn’t over yet, so we can’t wait to see what happens at his concert in Miami this weekend.)
1. The Facebook Plea
In February, Kanye divulged that he was $53 million in debt and made a case for all the tech billionaires (the Mark Zuckerbergs and the Larry Pages of the world) to invest a billion dollars in Kanye West ideas. “Mark Zuckerberg invest 1 billion dollars into Kanye West ideas …after realizing he is the greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time,” wrote Yeezy on the Twitter. Zuckerberg obviously prefers the Facebook.
2. Backstage tirade at SNL
Audio of a rather heated Kanye moment did the rounds the same month after he was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” on the night hosted by comedic actress Melissa McCarthy. He warns bystanders “Don’t f___ with me!” and then goes on to explain that he is “50 percent more influential” than Stanley Kubrick, Pablo Picasso and St. Paul the Apostle. Are you going to argue with that?
3. The KanTay Fued: Snapchat edition
Taylor Swift and Kanye West have been at it like Sam and Diane (“Cheers” reference) or Maddy and David (“Moonlighting” reference) since 2009. If you need a primer on their beef, have a looksie. This year’s chapter involves Ye’s song “Famous,” in which he refers to Swift by her name and also out of her name (the b-word!). Swift claims she wasn’t informed but wife Kim K., social media maven and keeper of records, drops a video of the convo on Snapchat which reveals Yeezy explaining the song to Swift, who sounds pretty cool with the idea. Swift, however, pointed out later that she never was informed she’d be called the b-word in the song. Oops.
4. The 4 minutes that changed the world
The MTV Video music awards in August gave Kanye four minutes do whatever he wanted, which he decided to use as a chance to debut his new video “Fade,” which features singer and perfect human specimen Teyana Taylor dancing in a thong until she morphs into a cast member from a sexy production of “Cats.” But before that happens, Ye goes on a riff that blends several topics close to his heart, from the audacity of his work, to the street violence in Chicago to his place in the continuum of revolutionary creators. “Truman. Ford. Hughes. Disney. Jobs. West.”
5. Kanye on “Ellen,” extended cut
Check out the extended version of Kanye’s appearance on the “Ellen” show, where the Queen of Nice sits bemused as he clears up some misunderstandings people have about him. When asked if he thinks he should have a “Board of Directors” to approve his tweets, he resonds that he has no regrets. “What’s the point of thinking?” He then explains that he has “ideas that can make the human race’s existence within the next 100 years better!” Later, he has a Tom Cruise on Oprah’s yellow couch moment and randomly gets off his chair to hype up the crowd chanting, “Ye is in the building!” But ultimately he reminds us that he is a renaissance man: “The exact amount of emotion and color palette and sonics and everything I put into my music, I put them into my shoes.” Do you, Yeezy. We are here for it.