Kanye West fans will know the story of how he came to be one of the greatest rappers in a generation - as well as a larger than life personality who's transcended rap, thrown his hat into the ring for the 2020 presidential race, and caused anyone and everyone to have an opinion on him.
Ye started out as a producer working out of a room in Chicago making beats for local rappers. Jay Z and Roc-A-Fella eventually got him his big break, but years of hard work went in before that. As he says on Spaceship: "You can't catch my hustle/You can't fathom my love dude/Lock yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers".
Some of his earliest work, possibly made during the time period he alludes to in the above lyrics, has surfaced on SoundCloud. It's not rare for old Kanye beats to appear from nowhere, but usually they're not as old as these claim to be: from September 1997. That's the year Biggie was killed and R Kelly released I Believe I Can Fly. Noticeably lacking in Kanye's now signature sped-up soul samples, there are still some moments these beats feel like they were made by a young Ye, particularly towards the end of the tape. Listen below and marvel at the progression.