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Top 10 Times Kanye West Took Us by Surprise

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada

Script written by Andrew Tejada

There’s just no way to tell what this controversial artist will do next. From stealing the mic from Taylor Swift to announcing his bid for President, Kanye never ceases to surprise us. WatchMojo is counting down the most unexpected Kanye West moments.


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Script written by Andrew Tejada

Top 10 Times Kanye West Took Us by Surprise

There’s just no way to tell what this controversial artist will do next. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 times Kanye West took us by surprise.

For this list, we're looking at the times that Ye truly shocked the world with his words or actions.

#10: Stealing the Mic from Taylor Swift (2009)

It was a live TV moment that no one will ever forget. At the 26th MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift won the prize for best Female Music Video. While Swift was in the middle of her acceptance speech, Kanye West climbed onto the stage and took her mic. He told the shocked crowd that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video was the most deserving of the award, before shrugging and leaving. His interruption drew criticism from journalists, fellow artists and even former President Barack Obama. Although West was quick to issue an apology, the incident lead to some bad blood between him and Swift.

#9: Announcing His Presidential Campaign (2015)

In 2015, Kanye West caused another show-stopping moment at the VMAs. He was chosen to receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award for his musical achievements. At the end of a long and confusing acceptance speech, West announced his plans to run for President in 2020. As the public reeled from the news, he continued to focus on his art. Although a 2016 interview gave us more insight into how his presidency would work, West wasn’t clear on what party he’d run under or when he’d start his campaign. But if one of his tweets from 2018 is to be believed, he might have be looking a bit further on.

#8: Deciding to Change His Name (2009)

Kanye West’s enthusiasm about his fashion design reached an intense level in 2009. During Paris Fashion Week, West’s debuted his sneaker collaboration with luxury retailer Louis Vuitton. After the footwear premiered on the runway, he posted a video where he said that the emotion of having his shoes out there lead him to change his name to “Martin Louis the King Jr.” Probably just a coincidence that this new moniker would’ve promoted his brand while being almost identical to the name of the civil rights icon, right? Fortunately, West focused his energies on fashion design instead of committing to a name change.

#7: Talking About His Plastic Surgery (2018)

When West visited TMZ in April 2018, he made a number of shocking statements. One of the biggest surprises came when he discussed his drug use. West admitted that he had struggled with an addiction to opioids in 2016. After making sure the entire TMZ staff was listening, he revealed that his drug use started after he underwent a secret liposuction procedure. West said that he got the surgery so that the media wouldn’t make fun of his weight. West’s statements about liposuction showed us that despite his opinionated nature, he still cares deeply about what people think of him.

#6: Starting a Feud with Jimmy Kimmel (2013)

During an interview with BBC1, Kanye West made a few confident statements about his legacy. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel decided to parody the interview with a sketch that featured a young kid pretending to be West and repeating the musician’s words. A couple of days after the skit aired, West tore into Kimmel with a series of angry tweets. The comedian replied to the insults via Twitter and addressed it on his show. After a few weeks, West appeared on Kimmel to resolve their differences. A few years later, Kim Kardashian brought the outburst full circle by reading one of Kanye’s angry tweets on Kimmel’s show.

#5: Making Wild Comparisons (2012-)

What do Beethoven, Michael Jordan and Walt Disney have in common? Kanye West has compared himself to all of them. Particularly in the last half-decade or so, the artist has made countless self-comparisons to other famous artists, luminaries and entrepreneurs. These have ranged from reasonable comparable figures like Andy Warhol to, well, baffling ones like Vanellope Von Schweetz. At times, West’s lofty comparisons have drawn criticism, especially when he puts religious figures into the mix. However, that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to include some in his music and interviews. It’s really just a matter of time before he makes yet another shocking comparison.

#4: Releasing a Nonsensical Verse (2018)

Over two years after West’s critically acclaimed “Life of Pablo” album, he finally released a new song entitled “Lift Yourself”. Although fans were eager to listen, their excitement quickly turned into confusion. While the instrumental part of the song was normal, the last verse of the single was composed of Kanye rapping a series of nonsensical words. It was hard to believe that the same artist that wrote lyrically complex songs like “Jesus Walks” was giving us lines like “Poop-di-scoopty”. Fans were unclear if the song represented West’s new direction or if was an elaborate joke. Either way, it wasn’t the single that anyone was expecting.

#3: Revealing His Large Debt (2016)

You wouldn’t think the musician who gave Jay-Z a $34,000 skull statue would be strapped for cash. However, in 2016, West stunned his Twitter followers by announcing that he was $53 million dollars in debt. He also asked for businessmen like Mark Zuckerberg to invest in him. Although the Facebook CEO didn’t respond directly, fans jumped in with hilarious comments and at least one Gofundme page.West later claimed that the money was for his business ideas rather than his personal fortune. Since West continues to make music and push out new fashion lines, we’re guessing the $53 million dollars is no longer an issue.

#2: Tweeting His Love for Trump (2018)

In the past, Kanye West has discussed political issues without aligning himself to a specific party. That seemed to change in 2018 when he tweeted that he loved President Trump, then followed the post with a picture of an autographed “Make America Great Again” hat. After a Twitter backlash, celebrities unfollowing him and a request from his wife Kim Kardashian, West clarified that he didn’t agree with all of Trump’s policies. A few days later, he released a song where he defended his stance. Whether or not you agree with West, it’s undeniable that his support of Trump has sent a lot of negativity in his direction.

#1: Suggesting Slavery Was a Choice (2018)

During that aforementioned, infamous 2018 TMZ interview, Kanye West was asked about how he felt about recent threats made against him. West started to respond to the question directly, before bringing up slavery. In a jaw-dropping moment, the artist suggested that American slaves could have chosen to free themselves. West’s comment took host Harvey Levin aback and prompted TMZ producer Van Lathan to go off on Ye. In a series of deleted tweets, West claimed that his comments on slavery referred to a state of mind more than the historical atrocity itself. Regardless of intent, West’s words left people shocked and deeply disappointed in him.

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