Got beef? In his single off the Great Gatsby soundtrack “100$ Bill”, Jay-Z seems to call out country superstar Taylor Swift. He raps, “Took that, Taylor Swift to a hundred f—— million, b—-. I’mma let ya’ll continue but…” This is an apparent reference to Kanye West’s infamous MTV Awards outburst in which he stormed on stage and took the microphone from Swift who was accepting an award. While some have surmised that the line is a veiled narcotics reference, Jay-Z also seems to imply that Kanye’s actions helped to significantly propel Swift’s career.
The Kanye incident certainly received a great deal of coverage, but was Jay-Z correct about its effect on Swift’s career? According to the Google Trends data shown below, search interest for both Taylor Swift and Kanye West was at its highest point in September 2009 after the MTV Awards. However, Swift’s search interest was already on an upward trajectory before the incident, and seemed to return to a more normal point within a month of the awards.
It is also interesting to point out that Taylor Swift’s interest reached its 2nd highest point during her brief fling with One Direction crooner Harry Styles. Like the MTV Awards, the search interest dropped back to normal after their breakup. While Google Trends data is by no means conclusive, it appears that Kanye’s outburst may have initially given Swift a boost, but did not have a major effect on her continued success. As Jay-Z states in his track “Reminder” off the Blueprint III album, “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”