Before becoming the icon that he is today, Kanye West did everything he could to prove to the world that he was an elite rapper. This included making trips from Chicago to New York City to rap at Fat Beats, a record store and center for underground talent. At the 1996 opening of Fat Beats' 6th Avenue store, a 19 -year-old Kanye got on stage and dropped a flawless verse. "Rhymes for low fare/Flying out of O'Hare/While these no-name ass niggas wanna go there," he said.
DJ Eclipse, the former general manager of Fat Beats' New York store (which closed in 2010) and host of WNYU's Halftime Radio show and Sirius' Rap Is Outta Control, e-mailed us footage from the legendary day. Here's what he had to say:
"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."
Watch the video above. Now this is a real throwback Thursday treat.