In the 14 months since his infamous run-in with Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] has maintained a rather contentious relationship with the media, one that has gone from a self-imposed blackout to tentative courting to whatever it is that happened late Tuesday (November 9), when 'Ye took to Twitter to express his frustrations with the "Today" show after they played a snippet of their interview with him over images of the Swift incident.
"While I was trying to give the interview they started playing the 'MTV' under me with audio!!!!!!!" West wrote. "I don't mess with Matt Lauer or the 'Today' Show ... and that's a very nice way for me to put it! ... HE TRIED TO FORCE MY ANSWERS. IT WAS VERY BRUTAL AND I CAME THERE WITH ONLY POSITIVE INTENT."
It would appear, for the time being at least, that West is once again done with the media — especially since, as he wrote in one tweet, "I don't do press anymore" — and while it may seem like that situation won't change, those who know the public-relations game best think otherwise.
"I think [West's Twitter rant] is an understandable reaction," Michael Levine, who runs his own PR firm and formerly repped Michael Jackson, told MTV News. "When somebody has had a run of great success, they do not respond well to being crucified in the media. ... They become like deer in the headlights. They get frozen."
According to Levine, West's reaction to the "Today" show incident is actually part of the game the rapper has been playing ever since the Swift incident in '09: a large-scale reinvention plan that isn't always pretty but is always on, even when West is saying he'll never speak to the media again.
"We're living in a culture now where a rumor unanswered in 24 hours becomes true. The best defense is offense, and the only offense is relentless," Levine said. "He is trying to reinvent himself, and he is doing it in a very aggressive manner, in an effort to turn around some soured public perception around about him ... and I think that's a necessity, because I think people had turned off to him."
And while he isn't working with West, Levine said that if he were, he'd tell him to stay the course; to focus on his music and block out all the other distractions. And, most importantly, stay away from Twitter.
"I think he's in a place where the conversation is starting to change. We'll have to see if he's going to be able to do it. I think the ranting about how unfair the media is needs to stop," Levine said. "I think he's got to also now get back to more of what he's known for: the musical performances. Change the conversation, and stay off the Twitter."
What do you think of Kanye's latest rant? Let us know in the comments!