In 2009, Kanye West approached the VMAs stage at New York’s Radio City Music Hall’s, likely unaware that the next thirty seconds would go down in pop-culture history. Taking the microphone from Taylor Swift, who had just won Best Video by a Female Artist, the Chicago producer and rapper said, “I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”
It wasn’t that West wasn’t controversial before this point, his humiliation of Swift came after claiming in 2005 that George W. Bush didn’t care about black people, and several other awards show-based incidents, it just cemented his position as antagonist-in-chief. With the jeers of the world’s media and Donald Trump (there is, always, a quote), West went into exile. The moment was to prove the catalyst for one of the most lauded American albums of the past thirty years.
Earlier in his career, Kanye West’s signature style as a producer earned him plaudits. He innovatively played with the pitch and speed of classic soul tracks, creatively employing classic Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan and the Jackson 5.