Taylor Swift’s feud with Kim Kardashian has been reignited once again. Here’s what you need to know.

taylor swift kim kardashian

Plenty of context is required to understand why Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian are paired in new headlines this week — especially since, to the public’s knowledge, they haven’t interacted in years.

Swift released her new album “The Tortured Poets Department” last Friday. One of the deluxe tracks, “Thank You Aimee” (stylized as “thanK you aIMee”), seems to be a thinly veiled jab at Kardashian.

Their feud dates back to 2016, when Kardashian’s then-husband Kanye West, now known as Ye, name-dropped Swift in his song “Famous.”

Once the release led to a very public clash between the two musicians (who already had a strained relationship), Kardashian put herself in the crossfire to defend Ye. That decision sparked years of drama and several apparent allusions in Swift’s music.

Here’s a complete breakdown of everything you need to know to understand the never-ending feud.

It all started when Kardashian released clips of a phone call between Swift and Ye, without Swift’s knowledge or permission

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Taylor Swift, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian at the 2015 Grammys. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS
Back when Ye released “The Life of Pablo” in 2016, Swift’s fans were furious that track four featured the lyric, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.”

The lyric references the 2009 VMAs, when Ye stormed the stage during Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video to declare Beyoncé should’ve won instead. (Meanwhile, Beyoncé could be seen in the audience mouthing, “Kanye, no!”)

Once the song “Famous” was released, Swift’s publicist, Tree Paine, responded with a statement: “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.'”

Ye refuted this statement with a lengthy thread on social media: “I called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet. Ye added, “Bitch is an endearing term in hip hop.”

Months later, after the duo exchanged many snide remarks in speeches and interviews, Kardashian posted short clips of that very “convo” on Snapchat. The three-minute compilation shows Ye in his studio talking to Swift on the phone, asking for her blessing to release the song.

Kardashian’s footage shows the rapper reading Swift the original line, “I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex,” which she approvingly described as “obviously very tongue-in-cheek.”

Although none of the clips showed any reference to the “bitch” lyric, Swift’s critics still reveled in the shade. The hashtag #KimExposedTaylorParty quickly began trending. People flooded Swift’s social media pages with snake emojis, and Kardashian herself egged them on: “Wait it’s legit National Snake Day?!?!? They have holidays for everybody, I mean everything these days!” she tweeted, adding 37 snake emojis.

Again, Swift released a statement that specifically condemned Ye’s use of the misogynistic phrase.

“Where in the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that bitch’ in front of the entire world,” Swift wrote in a now-deleted post. “Of course I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song.”

Years later, Swift opened up about the incident during an interview with Rolling Stone, insisting that “the world didn’t understand the context” of her outrage.

“Some events took place to cause me to be pissed off when he called me a bitch. That was not just a singular event,” she told the magazine in 2019.

“I was so touched that he would be respectful and, like, tell me about this one line in the song,” she said, referring to the “might still have sex” lyric. “And then when I heard the song, I was like, ‘I’m done with this. If you want to be on bad terms, let’s be on bad terms, but just be real about it.'”

Swift’s 2017 album ‘Reputation’ was partially inspired by her feud with Ye and Kardashian

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Taylor Swift performs during the Reputation Stadium Tour. Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images

Following the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty and weeks of public scrutiny, Swift withdrew from the public eye. She later compared that time in her life to being hit by a tidal wave.

“You can either stand there and let the wave crash into you, and you can try as hard as you can to fight something that’s more powerful and bigger than you,” she told The Guardian in 2019. “Or you can dive under the water, hold your breath, wait for it to pass and while you’re down there, try to learn something.”

She returned in 2017 with “Reputation.” As the title suggests, the album unpacks Swift’s public image in the wake of the “Famous” fiasco.

Songs like “I Did Something Bad” and “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” seem to address the fallout directly, especially the latter, which was almost certainly inspired by Ye. Throughout this era, Swift adopted the snake as her personal sigil.

In 2020, a video of the complete phone call leaked online

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Taylor Swift in 2020, left; Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in 2016. Dave J Hogan/Getty Images / Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage
Mysteriously, a 25-minute video of Ye speaking with Swift surfaced on YouTube, which appears to show their phone call in its entirety.

It’s still unclear where the video came from and who released it, but it quickly began to circulate on social media and inspired the hashtag #KanyeWestIsOverParty.

The video paints a more comprehensive picture of the conversation, its content, and its tone — as opposed to Kardashian’s compilation of clips, which only featured choice snippets of dialogue.

It’s now clear that Ye never told Swift about the specific line in question, “I made that bitch famous.” In fact, at one point, Swift tells Ye that she would feel uncomfortable if he called her a “bitch” in the song.

“I mean, I need to think about it, because you know, when you hear something for the first time, you just need to think about it,” she tells him. “I’m glad it’s not mean, though. It doesn’t feel mean. But oh my god, the buildup you gave it, I thought it was going to be like, ‘That stupid, dumb bitch.’ But it’s not.”

Swift also seemed uncomfortable with Ye asking her to help him promote the song, and declined to release “Famous” through her own social media.

“I mean, the launch thing, I think it would be kind of confusing to people,” she continues. “But I definitely like… I definitely think that when I’m asked about it, of course I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I love that. I think it’s hilarious.’ But, um, I need to think about it.”

Later in the call, Ye suggests that he might add the line, “I made her famous.” Swift responds with a very apprehensive tone: “Well, what am I going to do about it?”

“I mean… Um… It’s just kind of like, whatever, at this point,” she continues. “But I mean, you’ve got to tell the story the way that it happened to you and the way that you’ve experienced it. Like, you honestly didn’t know who I was before that. Like, it doesn’t matter if I sold 7 million of that album [‘Fearless’] before you did that, which is what happened. You didn’t know who I was before that. It’s fine. But, um, yeah. I can’t wait to hear it.”