Reputation, the newest studio album from Taylor Swift, is the singer's fight song. After years of media backlash, Swift with a message that appears to be, well, sorry, not sorry. But is there a Reputation song about Kim Kardashian, specifically? The 15 tracks of Reputation tell the story of her frustration, her empowerment, and her new boyfriend, Joe Alwyn. But Swift also references Kardashian and her feud with Kanye West on multiple songs — though it's as subtle as Swift ever does anything.
"Look What You Made Me Do" was the album's first single, and it revealed the singer's defiant side. The lyrics themselves issue a vague challenge — perhaps intentionally — but, if there was any doubt about its message, Swift cleared it up at the 2017 VMAs. When the "Look What You Made Me Do" music video premiered, fans had a lot to say about its questionable imagery but one thing was clear: Swift was hitting back at Kimye.
By the end of the video, multiple iterations of Swift are lined up onstage, including the one nervously clutching her 2009 VMA award. Each Swift utters a single line of dialogue, but it's the 2009 Swift who decided this one in the minds of fans. She quotes the now-infamous Notes app tweet the singer sent in response to Kim K. "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative," the singer pouts, paradoxically perpetuating the news cycle that surrounds it.
But is that the only Reputation track to reference the feud? Is that all Swift has to say about Kim K's receipts for her response to "Famous"? Get ready for it, because we're diving in.
On "Call It What You Want," Swift seems to refer to Kardashian in a few different lines. This includes a seeming references to their "Famous" feud, with Swift singing: "They took the crown but it's alright/All the liars are calling me one." Kardashian released a Snapchat video that showed Swift listening to and approving part of "Famous" in a phone conversation with West. In response, many called Swift a liar for initially denying that she had ever spoken to West about the song.
After the release of "Famous," West issued a series of tweets in which he wrote that he “called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line." He also claimed that she “thought it was funny." At the time, Swift denied all of this in a statement to BuzzFeed via her publicist, stating:
"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 b*tch famous.'"
After the Kardashian video was released, Swift explained that she did talk to West on the phone, but the video does not show her "approving" the controversial line. In a statement, which has since been taken down on Instagram, Swift wrote:
"While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot 'approve' a song you haven't heard. Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."
Unfortunately, Swift doesn't seem to actually want to be excluded from that narrative just yet. That's why when Swift sings "I brought a knife to a gunfight" on "Call It What You Want," it's hard not to think she's referring to her "Famous" feud — even if she never mentions Kardashian's name.
The thing about Reputation is that Swift never utters either Kardashian or West's name, but their presence looms throughout. On "End Game" featuring Ed Sheeran and Future, Swift sings about her "big reputation" and tells her new lover, "Ah, and you heard about me/Oh, I got some big enemies." Right now, it's hard not to think those enemies include Kardashian. And then on the bridge of "I Did Something Bad," she sings: "They're burning all the witches, even if you aren't one/They got their pitchforks and proof/Their receipts and reasons."
Kardashian definitely had receipts when it came to calling out Swift. When it came to her reasons for going after Swift, she told GQ that Swift was lying to make her husband look bad. "She totally approved that,” Kardashian told GQ, before adding, "She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn't. I swear, my husband gets so much sh*t for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved.”
What really pushed Kardashian over the edge, as she told GQ, was Swift's 2016 Grammys speech, which went after West. In it, Swift stated:
"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 your fame, but, if you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you're going you'll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there."
Kardashian claimed to GQ that Swift had talked about looking forward to getting on the red carpet and letting the press know she was in on the song the whole time. "And I'm like, wait," Kardashian said after the Grammys, "but [in] your Grammy speech, you completely dissed my husband just to play the victim again.”
On "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" also takes shots at Kimye for being shady friends. Swift also seems to strike down any possibility that these three are going to have a chummy reconciliation anytime soon:
“It was so nice being friends again / There I was, giving you a second chance / But then you stabbed my back while shaking my hand / And therein lies the issue / Friends don’t try to trick you/ Get you on the phone and mind-twist you / And so I took an axe to a mended fence.”
Of course, Kardashian isn't the only one who Swift could believe she's up against. What's clear is that, on her latest album, no one is safe — especially if they mess with Swift's reputation.
Additional reporting by Sophy Ziss