A source close to Kanye clarifies: “He did not yell at SNL staff. This audio was secretly recorded while he was venting his frustration in a private moment with his team.”
UPDATE: A source close to Kanye West offered the following statement to Billboard:
“He did not yell at SNL staff. This audio was secretly recorded while he was venting his frustration in a private moment with his team. He found out his stage design was changed and taken apart under the direction of the show’s lighting director without anyone’s approval. He had spent an entire day rehearsing and a lot of hard work into the performance. Dramatic set changes were made 30 minutes before going live. It should be understandable why he was upset after being completely blindsided.
“Kanye was seen hugging Lorne Michaels just before the goodnights and he stayed afterwards to chat with the staff and the cast, and thanked the producers on his way out the door.”
PREVIOUSLY: Kanye West may be causing a stir on timelines but new audio from his Saturday Night Live performance reveals the rapper having an outburst backstage.
According to Page Six, who obtained the clip, West was yelling “Don’t f— with me” at production staff after they reportedly took apart his stage. ‘Ye can be heard saying, “Look at that shit, they took my f—in‘ stage off of SNL without asking me. Now I’m bummed. That and Taylor Swift fake ass.”
In the midst of his sporadic The Life of Pablo album release, West was buried in controversy surrounding his “Famous” lyric, where he references Swift: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that bitch famous.”
Her rep subsequently sent a statement to Billboard, saying, “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.'” Following her win for album of the year at Monday night’s Grammys, Swift seemed to clap back at ‘Ye’s line during her acceptance speech.
“As the first woman to win album of the year twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or you fame,” she said.
In the audio, West continues: “Now I ain’t gonna do this, we breaking the motherf—ing Internet. I went through six years of this f—ing shit.” It’s unclear who he is speaking to, but he apparently directs his attention to an unnamed individual. “Let’s get to it, bro,” the rapper says twice.
The Chicago rapper — who recently debuted his TLOP and Yeezy Season 3 fashion line for a simultaneous listening session and fashion show at Madison Square Garden — carries on in his rant, suggesting that he is “50 percent more influential than any other human being.” West also name-drops esteemed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick and two Pablos: artist Picasso and drug lord Escobar. He then repeatedly shouts, “Don’t f— with me!”
West performed “Ultra Light Beam” and “Highlights” on Saturday’s episode of SNL (hosted by comedienne Melissa McCarthy) alongside a star-studded cast that included The-Dream, Young Thug, El DeBarge, Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin and a choir.
Reps for Kanye West and Saturday Night Live did not immediately respond to Billboard‘s requests for comment.