Even before Kanye West was an uber successful artist, he was still Kanye West.
Arrogant, narcissistic, and full of incredible talent just waiting to be noticed, it’s a trip to see a young 19-year-old West lay it down in a dingy studio considering the lavish lifestyle he lives now.
The video below, which was recorded in August of 1996, shows off West participating in a free styling competition with other rappers from the Chicago area.
Warning: Video contains coarse language. Viewer discretion is advised.
According to Slate, the video was filmed in Fat Beats, an independent hip-hop record shop celebrating its successful move into a larger boutique closer to the city’s downtown core. At the time, West was just one of many rappers to come out and display their talents for anyone who cared to listen.
The minute and a half verse West spits is full of references to landmarks in Chicago, but most importantly, it’s full of typical Kanye West lines.
“But it’s not original cause I stole it from myself in the future,” is just one of the many lines West uses to reference his brilliance in the verse.
Slate also reported that while Fat Beats closed its retail doors in 2010, (after all, the death of record shops was imminent) the group still operates as a digital record label.
Hey, if they kickstarted the career of someone like Kanye West, they’ve got to have an eye for talent.