kanye west fat beats 1996.jpg

You don’t have to listen past The College Dropout‘s “Last Call” to understand the burning passion and unrivaled hustle that epitomizes Kanye West. But let’s take it back even further — before the Roc-A-Fella days, before Freshman Adjustment, before ghostproducing for D-Dot.

In this old clip that Complex just unearthed from the vaults, we get to see a 19-year-old Kanye performing at Fat Beats’ opening party in New York City, all the way back in ’96. After fluffing his first line, a fresh-faced Ye composes himself and spits a raw yet nonetheless dope verse.

Watch the throwback clip below…

We’ll let DJ Eclipse do the explaining:

The original location of Fat Beats launched on July 14, 1994 which means FB just turned 20 years old! Business was doing so well 2 years in that Joseph Abajian decided to move the store from it’s small 9th St. basement space into a 2nd floor location on 6th Avenue. August 1996 (day?) was the grand opening of the 406 6th Avenue location. It was also the beginnings of our independent movement which had recently started bubbling about a year before.

Yesterday I started converting old Hi8 video tapes to DVD and came across some interesting footage from that day. Now we had a lot of the usual suspects in the place that day such as ILL BILL, Arsonists, Lord Finesse, Adagio, Breeze Brewin, A.L. Skills, Percee P, J-Live, Mr. Live, Chino XL, Al Tariq, Black Attack, Xzibit, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Rawcotiks, Ak Skills, Rob Swift, Roc Raida, DJ Spinna and many, many more. But what took me by surprise was the appearance of this 19-year-old kid who at that time nobody knew. At least in NYC.

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