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Ten years, seven studio albums, and a host of other accolades later, it’s safe to say that Kanye West has transcended from a rapper into a cultural icon. However, this unreleased 2002 “You Heard It First” interview with MTV will take fans back to the rapper/producer’s humble beginning, and show just how far he’s come.

Some are too young to remember when West was a fledgling beat maker that earned a spot at top of the crop record label, Roc-A-Fella Records, after work on albums by Beanie Sigel and Jay Z. Clearly a superstar in his own mind, it was up to him to show his crew and peers that he could become a viable artist in his own right.

This sit down predates Yeezy’s debut album, College Dropout, and shows him basically prophesying his current position.

“Man, I knew I wanted to be a rapper,” West said. “When I knew it was like, I’m not going to do anything else, I say I was 19 years old and I was in college. And I had demos, and I had produced a couple tracks for people that had albums coming out.”

None of the artists West was working with had a deal, but he knew he better beats and rhymes than anyone else. He eventually got the attention of someone that worked at Columbia records. Though the subsequent meeting didn’t materialize into anything, it exposed him to New York City. As the story goes, West was evicted and moved to Newark, NJ and the rest is, as they say, history.

Hear the Kanye West of old speak in the footage below.

[spotted at ILLROOTS]

Photo: YouTube

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