Before the fashion collections, the talk-show appearances, and the sort of world-beating albums that have the potential to give rap critics a hernia, Kanye West was a producer working out of an apartment in Chicago. Back then, he was known as “KanYe to The” (which is now the name of the most infamous rap forum on the internet) and, like your man down the road with the stained jogging pants, he produced tracks for local artists, eventually developing a style that involved speeding up vocal samples from classic soul records, which is the sound that transitioned him toward to his current position as GOAT.
So here, then, is a beat-tape taken from that particular time period. Randomly appearing on the internet as these things so often do, a release titled "Unreleased KanYe West Demo Beat Tape [c. Sept. 97']" was unleashed on to Soundcloud late Sunday night. In it, we don't quite hear the soul-fronted samples that perpetuated the early rise of Kanye's career. Instead, what we get is a laidback groove-laden tape of instrumental rap tracks—one of which eventually ended up as one of Kanye's earliest productions, on Grav's "City to City". In some ways, it's representative of just how far a journey into sound can take an artist, if you choose to latch on and never let go. That said, "Track 6" has some flavorsome riffage straight out of our favorite frozen margarita spot.
Listen below and admire the fact that anything in this world is possible. All you have to do is stop reading the internet, taking dumps, drinking caffeinated drinks, and wondering why you aren't famous from the five tracks you made on Fruity Loops yet.