Below, you’ll find the sort of special little treat that the internet was built to uncover: Grainy video of a young Kanye West, rapping onstage in Chicago in 1996 and sounding basically nothing like the man we now know so well. This clip reveals that origin-story Kanye was perfectly capable of the sort of densely verbose fake-New York twisty raps that almost everybody was doing in 1996. The fundamentals, the timing and breath control, are all there, but the outsized charisma and the runt-of-the-litter defiant arrogance and the compulsive oversharing are nowhere to be found. It’s somehow both fascinating and adorable, like finding a friend’s ancient mall-karaoke-kiosk video.
Surgical status! He’ll break ya apparatus!