Check Out This Kanye West Instrumental Tape From 2001

Once upon a time there was an up-and-coming producer from Chicago named Kanye West. He loved soul samples, and claimed to have spent three summers making five beats a day. Kanye West’s hard work eventually paid off, when he became the biggest producer and rapper in the world, morphing into “Yeezus.”

But before that transformation took place, he was just a dude making beat tapes, one of which was unearthed by Jensen Karp, a writer and former rapper who was signed to Interscope records in the early aughts. “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 said on Refined Hype. “I was shocked to find that two of them, both given to me in ’01, had the name “Kanye West” on them. These two CDs … are the oldest Kanye beats ever released.”

Young Kanye’s sound on the tapes is reminiscent of the College Dropout years rather than the Yeezus sound we’re now listening to. There are some instrumentals on here that you’ll recognize, too; “Beat 3” turned into Talib Kweli’s “Guerilla Monsoon Rap” and “Beat 10” turned into John Legend’s “Let’s Get Lifted.”

“I think this collection of early Kanye beats shows you where he came from, even if it doesn’t necessarily sound like ‘Kanye’ now,” said Karp. “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.”

You can listen to the both Kanye West instrumental tapes over at DJBooth.

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