As a stadium-packing rap icon, Kanye West knows how to command the stage. But he had the same skill set – albeit on a smaller scale – when he was a middle-schooler. On Tuesday, Kim Kardashian linked out to a YouTube clip of her husband delivering a passionate poem about Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1990, when the rapper was only 12 or 13 years old. “I wish I posted this yesterday!” Kardashian wrote on Twitter of the video, which was originally posted in 2012. “How cute is my baby!!!!!!! #MLK.”
Though the clip itself is grainy, West’s charisma cuts through. “My name is Kanye West,” he says at the top, with extreme confidence, before starting the poem. “A man who fought for freedom / A man who fought for equality,” he reads. “Those who were against him / Were too blind to see / What this man was fighting for / So Blacks, Hispanics, Jews and Asians could put their foot in the door / Yes, we know that this man is great / That’s why today we celebrate / Everyone lifts their voice and sing / For a man who wanted freedom to ring / Martin Luther King is who I’m speaking of / A man whose name means love.”
In the present day, West has reportedly been working on a new studio album – his first since 2013’s acclaimed Yeezus – though no concrete details about the LP have been announced thus far. To open the new year, West unexpectedly released “Only One,” a poignant ballad featuring keyboards from Paul McCartney, on his website and through the iTunes store. The minimal track, which features the rapper crooning through Auto-Tune 808s & Heartbreak-style, was written from the perspective of his late mother, Donda, who died from surgery complications in 2007.
Earlier this month, singer-producer Ty Dolla $ign (who provided backing vocals on “Only One”) hinted that a sequel to the Macca-West track was in the works – with an even grander cast. “Me, Rihanna, ‘Ye and Paul got a song about to drop as well,” Ty told Billboard, suggesting that the track could appear on West’s next album. “It’s gonna drop soon. I heard they shot the video recently. I don’t know what the final title is, but I know it’s crazy so just be looking out for [it].”