Some of the most bitter and hilarious barbs aimed at the opinion-splitting rapper, by famous faces who don’t appreciate his greatness.
Has a rapper – or indeed any public figure at all – ever divided opinion like Kanye has across his eleven years at the top of hip-hop? We doubt it. For every music fan who rates him as a genius polymath, there’s one for whom he’s an egomaniac waste of space. Here’s a guide to those who loathe rather than love Ye, their often admittedly funny criticisms of him – and how he reacted…
Amy Winehouse: “At least I’m not opening for a cunt like Kanye,” Winehouse told fans, looking on the bright side of a rainy performance at Glastonbury in 2008. Kanye was delighted. “This Just In…Amy Winehouse Hates Me!!! Now I’ve Really Made It!!! LOL!!!!” he posted on his since-deleted website.
Barack Obama: It was a relatively respectful and muted response Kanye deemed appropriate after the US President was caught on camera calling Kanye “a jackass” after he notoriously sieged the stage after Taylor Swift won at the Grammys. “My music brings joy to people. What I create brings joy to people, and I’m about people,” he told a radio station.
Donald Trump: “It was grandstanding to get attention,” said American tycoon turned politician Trump, who accused the rapper of “not caring about Beyonce at all” after the Taylor Swift incident. Kanye’s response? A friendly name-drop on 2010’s ‘…Twisted Fantasy’: “I’m so appalled, Spalding ball, balding, Donald Trump taking dollars from y’all.”
Corey Taylor: “You remind me of the guy bragging about pussy, who doesn’t get as much as they brag about,” the Slipknot man told Kanye in a video earlier this month. Reminded by fans that Kanye has more Grammys than Slipknot has albums, Corey added: “Yeah, you just made my point for me. Getting a Grammy is like getting a Teen Choice Award.”
7Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill
Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill: The Nashville rockers did not get on with Ye when they met at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. “I think Nathan was gonna try to punch Kanye. We were two rows behind him, and Nathan was flipping him off,” said bassist Jared, with Nathan later commending the rapper on Twitter of having “the worst haircut since 1984.”
Brandon Flowers: The Killers man told Rolling Stone in 2006 that the rapper “makes him ill.” That stance hasn’t changed much since then, adding earlier this year: “Everyone’s afraid to say anything contrary to him being a genius. It’s crazy, man! And it’s frustrating.”
Matt Bellamy: “Kanye came backstage at one of our shows,” the Muse man recently told reporters. “He was checking out our T-shirts. All he wanted to talk about was T-shirts.” Talking about his ‘Yeezus’ album, Bellamy added: “I like some of the sounds, but some of the lyrics of those artists throw me off a bit. It’s very full on, in your face, it’s very ‘me, me, me’.”
David Crosby: The CSNY man can’t stop insulting West at present. Over the past few months, he’s labelled Kanye an “idiot” and “poser” who’s as “dumb as a post” and “can’t write, sing or play, creates nothing and helps no one.”
La Roux: “Fuck him! Nobody likes him,” Elly Jackson claimed after previously working with the rapper on 2011 Jay Z collaboration Watch The Throne. The ‘Trouble In Paradise’ singer seems to have cooled off a little since those remarks though: “Whatever I’ve said about him, I want to see Kanye West at Glastonbury,” she told NME earlier this year.
Shirley Manson: “The loudest clown in town” was how Garbage singer Manson described Kanye after he interrupted Beck at the Grammys earlier this year, telling him in an open letter that “you are making yourself look like a complete twat.” Since then, however, she’s revealed she’s a fan of his music, if not his personality, explaining that Kanye is both “a brat and a genius.”
Aphex Twin: Kanye’s sample of Aphex’s ‘Avril 14th’ on his 2010 album ‘My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy’ led to claims from the Warp innovator that he was “stitched up” on a song that was “done really badly”. “I know that he tried to fucking rip me off and claim that he’d written it, and they tried to get away with not paying,” the producer told Pitchfork.
Kelly Clarkson: “What happened to you as a child? Did you not get hugged enough? I think we’re all just curious as to what would make a grown man go on national television and make a talented artist, let alone a teenager, feel like shit,” said Clarkson after the Swift furore.
Deadmau5: Asked who he’d most like to share a stage with, the EDM producer told one journalist: “Anyone other than fucking Kanye. I fucking hate him. He’s trying too hard.” Which made things pretty awkward at this year’s Tidal launch…