If one rapper dominated the news over all others this year, it was Kanye West, who made headlines seemingly everyday through a series of interviews, run-ins, lawsuits and, oh yeah, releasing one of the best albums of the year. We know it was hard to keep up with everything Yeezy-related, so use this as a guide to reminisce and catch up on the superstar's busy year.
Want more Best of 2013 stories? Flip through Fuse's 41 Best Songs of 2013 list, then check out The 9 Ugliest Hip Hop Beefs, The 25 Best Live Performance Photos and The 8 Craziest Music Memes from 2013.
Okay, so it's not technically 2013, but close enough. During a concert at Revel Atlantic City, Kanye West cut the show to announce, "Stop the music for a second, stop the music. Can you make some noise for my baby mama right quick?"
E! News confirmed soon after that Kim was indeed expecting a child with the G.O.O.D. Music head honcho and was 12 weeks pregnant.
Under the headline, "New Year, New Beginnings," Kardashian wrote on her website, "It’s true!! Kanye and I are expecting a baby. We feel so blessed and lucky and wish that in addition to both of our families, his mom and my dad could be here to celebrate this special time with us. Looking forward to great new beginnings in 2013 and to starting a family. Happy New Year!!! Xo."
Truth. Beauty. Minimalism. Emotion. Soul. Awesomeness. Functionality. Bizarre tweets.
So your boyfriend got you flowers and Russell Stover for Valentine's Day? That's nice. Kanye bought Kim Kardashian a $70,000 diamond panther bracelet.
A pregnant Kim shared a photo of her new gift on Instagram, or her "new pet," as she called it with the hashtags #Cartier and #TheDonStrikesYetAgain. Congratulations, Kim! Your Valentine's Day gift cost more than most Americans make in a year.
During the middle of a freestyle on Cruel Summer's "Clique," Yeezy also ranted against the Grammys, inviting the group to "suck my d-ck" and exclaiming, "I've never won a Grammy against a white person." Despite winning 21 Grammys, West has yet to win Album of the Year or Record of the Year, picking up Gramophones in only the rap and R&B categories. Despite a big year for hip hop, West's Yeezus was largely shut out of nominations for 2014 Grammys.
West also ranted against corporate sponsors with the fervor and DIY ethos of a Black Flag disciple. "And every motherf-cking sponsorship. They trying to put their logos on every concert and sh-t. For the meet and greet, you gotta meet the execs and their daughters. And they’ll show you what they just bought her.
"So, you gonna help me put on a better show, corporations? Can you please support me? Please? Me, Kanye West. I swear I'm a nice leader now. I swear I’ll put the pink polo back on. I swear to you. Please. Just for $3 million. I need it so bad. I need a pool in my backyard!
"So I'll tell all my fans your sh-t is cool. And if they believe in me, then they'll also believe in you. 'Did we get the check yet? I gotta call the business manager. Did the corporations send the check? What is my public rating? Are people liking me again? Enough to get some money from the corporations? They forgot about the whole Beyonce thing, right? Cool. Is it OK now?'"
When MTV placed Kanye No. 7 on their list of 2013's Top 10 Hottest MCs, the rapper called into New York's Hot 97 to air his grievances with his placement. "Yeah, [being] No. 7 bothers me," Kanye said before listing off all the reasons he should have a higher slot. "I feel like in order for them to put me at No. 7, they had to bring up things they didn't like... They didn't like the Cruel Summer album... Cruel Summer got 'I Don't Like,' 'Mercy,' 'Cold,' 'New God Flow'... All on one [record]! And 'Clique'!
"But they wanna diss me..." Yeezy continued. "Ain't nobody bringing up that [Rihanna] 'Diamonds' remix verse. There wasn't no verse in a year that was f-cking with that verse!"
Few people knew how to engineer an "event" album in 2013. But leave it to Kanye to debut his track "New Slaves" by projecting his image on 66 buildings around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London and Paris.
Visitors to KanyeWest.com could see maps of the cities that were debuting the new song along with times and locations. Frantic "firstie!" fanatics immediately posted 6-second snippets of the song to Vine. Hell, the rapper himself rolled up to one of the New York viewings on Fifth Avenue at the Prada store, exited his Maybach and began filming his own projection.
In the firmament of the Kanye universe, there emerged a Polaris; that guiding star by which all other celestial beings shall be judged. It is the unauthorized (natch) Kanye Quest 3030, a new, "hip hop themed science-fiction 2D role-playing game" featuring the pixelated icon accidentally time-warping to the future and having to battle clones of famous rappers to get home.
Here's how the creators describe it:
"In January 2010, as rapper and producer Kanye West is taking the garbage out one day, he suddenly travels through a wormhole. Emerging on the other side, Kanye finds himself in the year 3030. In a dystopian city filled with clones of hip-hop musicians and under the control of a god-like dictator, can Kanye get back home?"
This is what happens when hip hop, video game nerds and too much weed collide. And judging by the trailer above, more people need to be into hip hop, video games and too much weed.
In the biggest news since Blue Ivy, Kanye and Kim welcomed baby girl North West to the world.
Kardashian gave birth with 'Ye by her side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, California. Kim was originally due on July 11, so Kanye's little girl was five weeks early.
Earlier in the year, a profile of West mentioned a "new men's capsule collection of jeans, T-shirts, and hoodies for a hip French brand," yet details were scant. West collaborator Travi$ Scott Instagrammed the first shot of this rumored partnership, a pair of jeans embroidered with an "A.P.C. Kanye" tag. This was the caption: "When I first landed in Paris, Ye brought me to A.P.C. headquarters to meet [founder] Jean [Touitou]. Seeing this collab come out after many designers tellin Ye he couldn't do sh-t is so fresh." A.P.C., the hip French brand in question, confirmed the collaboration, which launched in July.
After being relentlessly chided by a cameraman with the sensibilities of a 13-year-old boy, 'Ye got irritated and tried to wrestle the man's camera away. You can see the entire encounter above.
Following a verbal onslaught, West walked up to the pap and said, "What you're trying to do is get me in trouble, so I step out and have to pay you too much attention." The man continued and that's when 'Ye attempted to grab the camera from his hands. Another paparazzo can be heard yelling at West to "stop it," so Kanye let him go, put up his hands and left in his car.
Although the man appeared to be fine after the scuffle in the video of the encounter, paramedics were called and now, according to the Los Angeles Times, the LAPD is investigating West for battery.
The rapper pleaded not guilty in November, with the case due back in court on January 23.
It's been dubbed (by us) the Interview of the Year. Kanye sat down with BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe for an hour to touch on many peculiar topics, including his frustrations over not being taken seriously as a fashion designer and how the only two words onlookers should be allowed to speak to artists are "Thank you." But 'Ye summed up the chat session with one of his weirdest references yet: likening himself to a character in 2012's Disney film about a video game villain, Wreck-It Ralph.
In the middle of a tirade about his grandfather's vintage furniture store, Yeezy suddenly shifted gears: "Do you know how many times I sat with people and said, 'Hey, I wanna make a store!' And they said, 'How could you make a store? Blah, blah, blah...' It's in my code. It's in my code! Have y'all ever seen Wreck-It Ralph?"
He continued by comparing himself to Wreck-It Ralph's main female lead, who is a computer glitch in the video game. "You telling me [people] don't look at me like the motherf-cking glitch?! You telling me people don't look at Kanye West like the glitch right now? And she was on the side of the video game! The whole time!"
Interview as performance art. Brilliant.
West's label Def Jam issued the following statement at the time:
Yesterday, on the road to Vancouver, a truck carrying The Yeezus Tour’s custom-made video truss and 60-ft circular LED screen was in an accident that damaged the gear beyond repair. This gear is central to the staging of The Yeezus Tour, and central to the creative vision put forth by Kanye West and his design team at DONDA.
As a result of this event, it is impossible to put on the show and The Yeezus Tour will be postponed until these essential pieces can be reengineered and refabricated. Kanye West will not compromise on bringing the show, as it was originally envisioned and designed, to his fans.
No, the woman who filmed her first marriage and turned it into a two-part, four-hour special on E! isn't pissed the private moment was made available for the entire planet. In fact, Kim and Kanye invited a lot of cameras into the baseball park he rented out that day—they're just angry because that footage was supposed to be exclusive to Keeping Up With the Kardashians or a related E! special.
Kanye & Kim do seem to have the law on their side. Hurley, who posted a two-and-a-half minute clip of the big moment, reportedly signed an agreement promising to refrain from posting images or video from the event before entering San Francisco's AT&T Park. So it seems pretty likely that Kanye will K.O. Hurley in the courtroom.
Kanye premiered his latest video for "Bound 2" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (?), and we got to see a whole lot of Kim Kardashian whether we wanted to or not.
In the Nick Knight-directed video, Kanye is seen riding across the country on a motorcycle via very expensive green screen visuals. His fiancee shows up to ride with him, and she's conveniently forgotten her top. She gets onto the motorcycle with Kanye and the two venture into the clouds as they make out, touch each other and get blown away by a wind machine.
The video was roundly criticized, though Kanye did approve of James Franco and Seth Rogen's dead-on parody.
The rap legend/G.O.O.D. Music signee, who worked on Kanye's critically acclaimed 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, confirmed the news to Life + Times.
BTW, Yeezy's new album might be here sooner than we think. The "Black Skinhead" rapper told Power 99, "I haven't named my next album but I have started on it.... I'd like to have another album out by next summer."
Kanye publicly apologized to mega sports brand and former business partner Nike after making a series of not-so-nice remarks about the company.
In an interview with TallBoy.us, Yeezy said, "I'm still gonna do music but I really do feel honored to have had the chance to blow Yeezy up with Nike and I really appreciate everything they did for me.
"I'm not knocking them on the way out or burning no bridges, you know, I apologize for my frustration earlier. I just think it's time. It's go time. It’s turn up time."
In an on-air interview with Hot 97's Angie Martinez the week before his apology, the "Bound 2" rapper took the brand to task for being chintzy over royalties for his Nike Air Yeezy kicks.
"I said, 'Well I need royalties.' It's not even like I have a joint venture. At least give me some royalties. Michael Jordan has 5 percent and that business is $2 billion. He makes a $100 million dollars a year off of 5 percent royalties," West said.
"Nike told me, 'We can’t give you royalties because you're not a professional athlete.' I told them, 'I go to the Garden and play one-on-no one. I'm a performance athlete."
Kanye recently inked a deal with Nike rival Adidas, set to drop in September of next year.
"The old me, without a daughter, would have taken the Nike deal because I just love Nikes so much," said West. "But the new me, with a daughter, takes the Adidas deal because I have royalties and I have to provide for my family."