A few weeks ago, footage released of a then 19-year-old Kanye West rapping in a cypher at the 1996 Fat Beats store opening in New York City. But what’s a cypher without more than one MC?
That said, an extended version arrived courtesy of the good folks at 2DBZ and it features Al Tariq of Beatnuts, Butter Lee and Black Attack. Here’s a statement about the clip from Eclipse, the former store manager who passed off the video:
I’m sure most of you have seen the Kanye clip from the grand opening of Fat Beats by now. Like I had mentioned before there were so many dope artists performing that day. Here’s the extended clip that the Kanye footage came from along with some back story. Al Tariq from the Beatnuts came through that day and brought some of his people with him. His people being Butter Lee from Rawcotiks, Black Attack and Kanye West. Both Rawcotiks and Black Attack were featured on Tariq’s “God Connections” album which came out on Correct Records in ’96. Another artist that was on Correct Records was Grav who was from Chicago and put out an album called “Down To Earth” (also in ’96). Not only was Tariq featured on that album as well, but it would also feature the first appearance of Kanye West on the mic on a song called “Line For Line” (which he also produced along with half the album). In addition to that connection, Kanye was a student of No I.D. & Dug Infinite who were producers that had been working with Common (Sense). Common was signed to Relativity Records as was the Beatnuts. So when Kanye started making trips to New York to “make it” in the music biz one of his first stops was at Relativity Records. There was a person who worked at Relativity named Peter Kang who was heavily involved with the Beatnuts and also took an early interest in Kanye West and started managing him. So whenever he would have the Beatnuts out and about he would bring around Kanye. And that’s how Kanye ended up at Fat Beats that day. Happy 20th anniversary Fat Beats!
Relive the night below.