See 19-Year-Old Kanye West Rap at a New York Record Store - Rolling Stone
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See 19-Year-Old Kanye West Rap at New York Record Store

The young rapper spent a minute and a half on the mic in recently rediscovered footage

Kanye WestKanye West

Kanye West.

Johnny Nunez/Getty Images.

Five years before Kanye West perked hip-hop fans’ ears with his production on Jay Z‘s 2001 single “Izzo (H.O.V.A)” and eight before he released his debut album, The College Dropout, the rapper was just another would-be MC jockeying for a mic. The Chicago-bred rapper got one such opportunity at the opening of Fat Beats, a since-closed New York City record store that served as the epicenter of indie hip-hop around the turn of the century. On one fateful August day in 1996, the store’s general manager, DJ Eclipse, captured video of West taking the mic in the store at age 19 that he recently shared with Complex.

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For 90 seconds, the rapper talks about his technique, Alanis Morissette, living in Chicago and how he’s from the future cribbing his grandchildren’s style, among other topics.

DJ Eclipse wrote that he had forgotten West’s appearance at the store until he started going through video that featured appearances by artists like J-Live, Xzibit and Ill Bill, among others. “What took me by surprise was the appearance of this 19-year-old kid who at that time nobody knew,” he wrote. “At least in NYC.”

Nearly 20 years later, West is currently enjoying a particularly eventful 2014. After making his return to Bonnaroo and beginning work on a follow-up to Yeezus, West wed Kim Kardashian, holding his rehearsal dinner in a venue that might as well have been the opposite of Fat Beats, the Palace of Versailles, and hosting the ceremony in Florence, Italy.

In This Article: Kanye West


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