This afternoon, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa went back and forth on Twitter in an argument about Kanye’s upcoming album that quickly devolved into sexist jabs about a woman they both used to love.
The dudefight began over Wiz Khalifa taking umbrage with Kanye’s decision to name his new album Waves for reasons that don’t really matter. In a hilarious instance of Kanye West being an out-of-touch dad, he confused Wiz Khalifa’s reference to KK—a strain of weed—for the initials of his wife, Kim Kardashian.
Instead of admitting his mistake and squashing at least part of the argument, Kanye spiraled into an ugly, now deleted rant trying to shame Wiz Khalifa for his relationship with Amber Rose, who he also dated for about two years.
It’s worth noting that bringing up Wiz Khalifa’s son was a particularly hypocritical, repugnant and unnecessary move in an already bad outburst.
In addition to being terrible and sexist, it brings up an enduring question: Why does Kanye feel the need to repeatedly bring up Amber Rose in the first place? The disagreement had quite literally nothing to do with her beyond the fact that both men had romantic relationships with her.
The quickness with which Kanye brought up Amber and continues to talk about her is confusing and highly suspect. Every single time he tries to disparage her, he does so by calling her a stripper or a whore. Early last year, Kanye lamented about having to take “30 showers” after dating Amber to be clean enough to be with his wife, Kim Kardashian. Meanwhile, he ran off and married a woman whose name we know in part because she had sex with Ray J on camera and then signed a lucrative distribution deal to sell said video.
It’s interesting to contrast Kanye’s treatment of Amber Rose with that of his late mother and Kim. To be even a casual Kanye West fan is to know how much the man loved his mother.
By his own accounts, Donda West’s death in 2007 was the most difficult time of Kanye’s life and a tragedy for which he blames himself. (Consider that Donda died from complications from a plastic surgery procedure and who Kanye is now married to and you can begin to see how incredibly warped his relationship with female beauty must be.)
Almost every public compliment Kanye gives Kim is about her physical beauty. He continues to espouse delusional ideas about the woman’s grandeur and impact, which is somewhat forgiven by the fact that he’s obviously in love. Still, it’s easy to see that his idolization of women like his mother and Kim—somehow, to him, an untainted beauty where so many others are not—are an attempt to mask some deeper personal insecurities that come to light when he discusses Amber.
In the spirit of fairness, Amber does also talk about Kanye frequently—albeit without the name-calling. But she does so because she’s often specifically asked about him. Certainly, she was first introduced to the public as Kanye’s girlfriend, but that was six years ago. Since then, she’s had another high-profile relationship, become a mother, and forged her own career. Her continued relation to him is due as much to some desire for attention as it is to sexism.
And even when Amber does discuss the relationship, it is almost always with respect for the fact that they “once loved each other.” (Every woman has her limits, though, and Amber is not above a well-placed jab here and there.)
Kanye West’s ego has always been one of his greatest creative strengths and his fatal flaw. He is a man who seems to believe he has the power to build not only great music, but also to mold women as he sees fit—lest we forget him treating Kim like a Barbie doll.
On “Blame Game,” a song off of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which Kanye was recording as his relationship with Amber unraveled, he sings from the perspective of the woman in question (assumed to be Amber): “You always said, ‘Yeezy, I ain’t your right girl/You’ll probably find one of them I like art-type girls.’”
Perhaps Amber wasn’t ever willing or able to completely shape herself into what Kanye wanted, which is perhaps precisely what he needs. Yes, she was a stripper, and one who continued to live a successful life without him. Writer Myles Brown smartly summed up Kanye’s probable frustration: It’s not so much that Kanye regrets losing Amber as he does the fact that she doesn’t seem to need him in her life to thrive. I hope he’s able to admit that distinction to himself soon.
Image via Pascal Le Segretain/Getty.