Blasting onto the scene in 2002 with "Through The Wire", Kanye West's career as a rapper has been nothing but a steady up-and-up. But as we all know, everybody's got to start somewhere; and Kanye initially got himself noticed as a producer selling beats to local artists.
Writer and musician Jensen Karp was once such artist, who bought a CD of tracks from Yeezy in 2001. Forgetting about it until just recently, Karp has unearthed over an hours' worth of tracks of Kanye's earliest work, from a pile of stuff he was just keeping around.
"I was stumbling through my garage, searching through old storage bins, when I came across some old beat CDs from my days as a signed Interscope rapper," Karp explains. "I was shocked to find that two of them, both given to me in ‘01, had the name Kanye West on them."
The tracks from the disc comprise mostly of speed-altered samples of soul classics, with some surprisingly tight drums underneath. A lot of the beats would probably fit pretty comfortably under some more modern rap, which is probably a testament to Yeezy's ability, even so early on.
"He kept at it and became the incredible producer he is today. I remember he even had to leave the studio sessions early, so he could make the last train back to his mom’s house," remembers Karp. "He’s come a long way, and I’m proud to have been around, even if for just a second at the start."