2018 was the year of the Kanye.
The world descended into chaos in 2018, and Kanye West was no help.
His past few years have not exactly been calm, all things considered, but this year was especially nuts. We watched him land in legal trouble for uncleared samples on his new album and the album he produced for Teyana Taylor. He also has thrown his support behind known and accused abusers, including ASAP Bari, 6ix9ine, XXXTentacion, and of course, Donald Trump. Yet, Kanye’s record made it to number one on the charts.
He is one of today’s most polarizing figures, but he remains one of our time’s greatest creatives. This year he was responsible for five record releases in five weeks and has intimated that he’d like to go 52 for 52. His artistry is not limited to music, either; his Yeezy fashion line is enormously successful and he ran the creative agency DONDA in its heyday. After spending several rejuvenating months in Wyoming, he also has become interested in land development.
Where 2019 will take him is anyone's guess. The only thing that’s for certain is that he is running for president in 2024. God help us all.
Since he did so much we're betting you already forgot most of it, so take a look at our abbreviated guide to Kanye’s wildest year yet.
January 15 – Birth of Chicago West
Kim Kardashian and Kanye welcomed their third child, Chicago West, in early January. The family used a surrogate to carry their second baby girl. The very next day Kanye was seen going back to work, throwing paparazzi a peace sign and a grin. At this point, he had been laying low ever since the wrap of the Saint Pablo tour in late 2016.
February 14 – Back on Instagram
On Valentine’s Day, Kanye returned to Instagram to post photos of celebrity couples over the course of seven hours, eventually ending with himself and Kim. In that time, we got a glimpse of a new Kanye, one with more focus and restraint. It won’t last.
February 15 – Deletes Instagram
We saw that coming.
April 14 – Back on Twitter
For the first time since May 2017, we got some tweets from Kanye. The one that broke his silence was about sneakers, but then, like most of his tweets these days, it was quickly deleted. This is the real beginning of Kanye’s year.
April 18 – Writing a Philosophy Book (via Twitter)
In an interview published the day before he resumed tweeting, Kanye mentioned to interior designer Axel Vervoordt that he is writing a book about philosophy called "Break the Simulation." Then he clarified in a tweet, "oh by the way this is my book that I'm writing in real time. No publisher or publicist will tell me what to put where or how many pages to write." Totally normal Kanye stuff.
April 25 – Kanye Tweets Support for Donald Trump
We'd known Kanye supported Trump since his visit to Trump Tower in 2016. Well, he didn’t just continue to voice his support via his shiny new Twitter account, he doubled down on it, calling Trump his "brother." Kim wasn’t happy and promptly called him, likely demanding to know why in God's name is he putting her through this, which he also later tweeted about.
April 27 – 'Ye vs the People'
It only took two days for Kanye to put together and release a song in support of Donald Trump, after he specifically said that "the mob can’t make me not love him." This song is objectively not fun to listen to, even if it is an interesting peek inside Kanye’s psyche. The entire track is a debate between him and T.I., who shows a fair amount of restraint in his replies, keeping the debate going instead of pulverizing Kanye where he stands. He certainly could have, but he is also his friend. T.I. isn’t the only one of Kanye’s pals that has come to his defense even when it isn’t in their own self-interest. He also won’t be the last.
May 1: Part One – Charlamagne tha God Interview
This was an insane day. First, we got an hour and 45 minutes of interview with Charlamagne in what we can only assume is an abandoned underwear showroom. (Only one mannequin with crusty briefs remained, and it was positioned directly behind Charlamagne.) The conversation they had was incredibly broad, touching on his tweets, his Taylor Swift interruption at the VMAs, his relationship with Jay-Z, getting into the real estate game, and tons more. He even gave a strangely solid explanation for why he likes Trump: "It proved that anything is possible in America."
May 1: Part Two – Slavery Was 'A Choice'
Later that day, Kanye stopped by the TMZ Live offices and boy did he have a lot to say. Hosts Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere asked him about a few things, including a photo where he was wearing a MAGA hat (and the man next to him flashes a white power signal, but no one seemed as taken with that detail). He eventually said incredulously, "When you hear about slavery for 400 years...For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice."
Later, when he shouted into the newsroom about "free thought," staff member Van Lathan told him that what he was spewing was in fact "the absence of thought." Cue the incoming tweets: Kanye eventually clarified that he did understand that slaves did not "get shackled and put on a boat by free will" and that his comment was referring to a mental, and presumably theoretical, imprisonment.
May 29 – 'The Story of Adidon'
Drake’s Pusha T diss track, "Duppy Freestyle," is important to this Kanye timeline because Drake includes him in the diss, claiming that he wrote some of Kanye’s raps, which implies that Pusha T is a hypocrite, because Kanye produced Push’s album Daytona. Or something like that. The real meat of this beef, though, came with "The Story of Adidon." Pusha T used an old photo of Drake in blackface as the art, and in it he calls Drake a "deadbeat" after claiming he has a son with former porn star Sophie Brussaux. We later learned on LeBron James' HBO show, "The Shop," that Drake had confided in Kanye about his son, and he accused Kanye of spilling his secrets. Turns out, it really wasn’t Kanye -- Pusha T revealed that OVO producer 40 was responsible for the leak. This was without a doubt the best cross-career beef the world has ever seen.
June 1 – Release of 'ye'
Honestly, we had forgotten that "ye" came out this year. 2018, and Kanye’s life in particular, has been so chaotic that the dad joke he put on his album cover ("I hate being bioplar, it’s awesome") doesn’t even register as strange anymore. The seven-track record, which clocked in at under 24 minutes, was polarizing to say the least.
Click the link below for a refresher on some of the most interesting lyrics.
June 8 – Release of 'Kids See Ghosts'
Surprise! One week after the release of his own album came Kanye and Kid Cudi’s collaboration known as "Kids See Ghosts." This was the third of five G.O.O.D. Music records that Kanye promised to put out -- and apparently he meant that they’d all be dropping in succession. Pusha T came first, then "ye," followed by this release. Nas released his long-awaited LP "Nasir" the following week, and "K.T.S.E." by Teyana Taylor came after that. Say what you will --Kanye loves delivering on weirdly specific promises.
June 11 – 'Celebrity Family Feud'
How could we forget the Kardashian-West clan’s appearance on "Family Feud"? It may have been the happiest Kanye has looked in years. Kim and Kanye and tertiary West family members were pitted against the Kardashian-Jenners, including Kris, Khloe and Kendall. Though the Wests lost the main game, they were graciously allowed to play Fast Money, which earned them $25,000 for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
August 9 – 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'
After a fairly quiet summer, Kanye stopped by the ABC late-night show for a friendly interview. They talked about Yeezy’s, porn, the matrix and then when Trump came up, Kanye went quiet. Kimmel brought up the infamous "George Bush doesn’t care about black people" line, and asked, "It makes me wonder, what makes you think that Donald Trump does?" What followed was an awkward silence that sparked an uproar on Twitter. Afterward, Kanye took to social media platform to say that he was not, in fact, stumped by the question, and that his elongated silence was him lost in thought. There was no love lost between him and Kimmel at the end of the day.
August 11 – Trump Thanks Kanye for Support
Speak of the devil and he doth appear. After Trump got wind that Kanye had once again publicly supported him (this time via the Kimmel interview) he went to the pair’s favorite micro-blogging platform to thank him. He also shoehorned in self-praise about dropping unemployment among African-Americans, which has actually been in decline for seven years and in no way a result of Trump’s policies. Just, for the record.
September 6 – Kanye Serves as Creative Director of Inaugural PornHub Awards
That Kimmel interview was pretty huge for late-night Kanye. The following day, Greg Lansky, French adult film entrepreneur, offered him the chance to direct his own adult film for Lansky’s BLACKED.com, the very site that Kanye praised on Kimmel. Not to be outdone, PornHub offered him a lifetime premium subscription and allowed him full creative control over their first (annual?) award show. It was there that the Spike Jonze-directed video for "I Love It," featuring Lil Pump, debuted.
September 8 – 'Throne2' Coming Soon
It was a little surprising to hear that the acclaimed collaboration between Kanye and Jay-Z, "Watch the Throne," will be getting a sequel. Firstly, while on tour supporting "The Life of Pablo," Kanye flat-out said it was never going to happen. And secondly, the duo hasn’t exactly been on good terms, both personally and professionally. Kanye was mad that Beyoncé and Jay-Z weren’t taking his calls and then Jay may have dissed him on his record, "4:44." But at the same time, Jay was credited as composer and lyricist for two tracks on "Daytona," so maybe they made up in Wyoming.
September 29: Part One – Yandhi
The "Yandhi" timeline is its own nightmare. First, Kanye said it would come out on September 29. Not only did that not happen, there was no acknowledgement of his missed deadline at all. But then at the start of October, we learned that the already near-finished record would be re-recorded in Africa, Uganda to be specific. Kim was the one to announce the new release date: November 23. Then at Camp Flog Gnaw about a week-and-a-half before that date, Kanye tweeted that the album wasn’t ready yet and opted this time to not give a release date to save everyone the stress.
September 29: Part Two – 'I am YE'
Kanye had been implying that this name change was going to happen eventually, and over the weekend, it became official. Or at least, Twitter official. The name "ye" has religious significance for Kanye, as it is an old way to convey the plural "you." Despite his increasingly divisive rhetoric surrounding Trump, Kanye does still see himself as a unifying figure.
September 29: Part Three – 'SNL' Appearance and Fallout
And then there was Kanye’s rant after his "Saturday Night Live" performance. It was as if being onstage again lit a fire under his tongue that burned as hot as his MAGA hat. You wouldn’t have known he was upset had you turned off the broadcast before the goodbye, which is when Kanye blasted onto the stage with a mic in his hand, raving about free speech and the right he has to wear his Trump-loving hat. He was upset that "SNL" cast and crew begged him not to wear it and taunted him about it, saying he was in the "sunken place." Predictably though, Trump tweeted his support for Kanye after the ordeal the following morning.
September 30 – Abolish the 13th Amendment
As if the weekend weren’t busy enough after SNL, Kanye took to Twitter for a new controversial opinion, and this was his worst one yet. Alongside another selfie with his MAGA hat, taken on his private jet, Kanye tweeted, "This represents…America being whole again. … We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love."
As TMZ pointed out, he was probably referring to the very specific article that still permits free labor from individuals enduring punishment after being convicted of a crime. Even still, this take is ice cold and required several tweets of clarification, ending with "not abolish. but let’s amend…" Also, it’s worth mentioning that this also ignited a public beef with Lana Del Rey.
October 6 – Deletes Social Media Again
We made it so far! Kanye’s Twitter and Instagram were active for a solid six months before he once again pulled the plug. My best guess for his departure was anticipation of his trip to DC (which was not announced until a few days later), though his return a couple days after the visit wouldn’t have prevented trolls from burying his social media in bluster. So, like with most other Kanye actions, we’ll never know why.
October 11 – White House Visit
Are you exhausted yet? Hold onto your seat, because when Kanye met with Trump, he said a lot of dumb things.
He talked about not having a lot of "male energy" in his household growing up, which made him hate the "I’m with her" slogan of the Clinton campaign, which he seems to imply led him to reach for the masculine (?) MAGA hat. He also hit a bunch of talking points that Trump loves, like Chicago, IQ tests and mental health. Just kidding, Trump would never talk about that last one, which is why he probably just stared blankly into space while Kanye talked about his bipolar "misdiagnosis."
Also, the world learned that Kanye’s phone password is 000000, which really speaks volumes.
October 13 – Back on Social Media
His first post was a video, thought to be taken in Uganda, captioned "Aha." We're too tired to even pretend to decipher this one, so it shall remain a mystery.
October 30 – Blexit Merch and Kanye's Exit From Politics
This was a fun controversy to watch from the sidelines. At first, Kanye was credited with designing t-shirts for Blexit, a campaign started by black conservative and frequent guest on Fox News, Candace Owens. In fact, Kanye only introduced Owens to a friend, who was the true designer -- and he declared that this misuse of his likeness crossed a line: "I never wanted any association with Blexit."
At this point we were probably miles away from the line of decency accepted by most people, but better late than never. "I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!" he tweeted. (Candace Owens did apologize.)
November 9 – 6ix9ine Music Video Shoot Drive-By
Early one crisp Beverly Hills morning, convicted pedophile 6ix9ine was getting ready to shoot a music video for a single featuring Kanye and Nicki Minaj. Before Nicki arrived, shots were heard on the estate, one of which entered the bedroom. No one was hurt, but Kanye immediately left the scene to be with his family, who was preparing to evacuate due to the Woolsey fire threatening the area around their home. This came a few months after an attempted drive-by on the set of 6ix9ine’s music video with 50 Cent in Brooklyn.
November 21 – Kanye and Kim Offer Relief for Firefighters
In a rare heartwarming moment, Kim and Kanye were credited with saving many homes from the Woolsey Fire, which ate up much of the area around Calabasa and Malibu where their home is located. They hired a private team to ensure that they and their neighbors were safe from the flames, and they also donated $500,000 to various charitable recipients, including a firefighter who lost his home, but continued working to save the other homes in his area.
December 7 – Kanye Appears on XXXTentacion’s New Album
As if "Falling Down," the song featuring posthumous vocals from both XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, wasn't ridiculous enough, the late Florida rapper has just released an entire posthumous album. And Kanye guested on a track called "One Minute." Sigh.
We're almost through, hand in there!
December 13 – Drake Twitter Rant
Is the year over yet? In trying to clear a sample, Drake has pushed Kanye over the edge to not just re-ignite beef between them, but to go on an hours-long Twitter tirade against the Toronto rapper.
He demanded an apology and vowed not to clear the sample, throwing a lot of other accusations into the mix. To be fair, Kanye really wasn't the one to tell Pusha about his son, and dissing him on "SICKO MODE" was bold considering that Travis Scott is literally Kanye's family. That fact clearly hasn’t sat with Kanye well, since he spent several tweets decrying both it and Trav. In the season of giving, this beef gave fans so much entertainment.
December 19 - Kanye Supports Travis Scott
Kanye made it clear he was over previously mentioned beef when he showed up at Travis Scott's Astroworld tour stop at The Forum in Los Angeles with wife Kim Kardashian. She shared a video from the show, and it sure looked like Ye was vibing with the music. Looks like they made up in time for the Kardashian Christmas Eve party.
With a few weeks of 2018 left, we'll be on the lookout for more Kanye shenanigans to finish out this timeline.