Before Kanye West was known worldwide for his musical abilities, or met Jay Z, or even began the The College Dropout—he was just a 20-year-old producer living in his Chicago apartment the first semester after walking away from school for good. The year was 1997. And he created one of his first beat tapes, ever. Marked "Sept '97," one of these tapes just popped up on the net.
The eight-track compilation was uploaded to Soundcloud by user Trilly Madison. As recalled by HipHopDX, Kanye went on to describe this pivotal time in the growth of his career in the closing track "Last Call" of his debut album:
"After they picked that 'Truth' beat I was figuring I was gonna do some more work but sh*t just wasn't poppin' off like that," Kanye says. "I was staying in Chicago, I had my own apartment. I be doin like-- just beats for local acts just to try to keep the lights on. And then to go out and buy: get a Pelle Pelle off lay-away, get some Jordans or something or get a TechnoMarine-- that's what we wore back then," he continues. "I made this one beat where I sped up this Harold Melvin sample. I played it for Hip over the phone; he's like, 'Oh, yo that sh*t is crazy, Jay might want it for this compilation album he doing, called The Dynasty.'"
It's not every day that you get to hear one of hip-hop's biggest artists in their experimental days. Check it out below.