When YouTube launched in 2005 many users utilized the platform as a vehicle for self-promotion, while others used the video-sharing site to upload rare footage that only previously existed on dusty VHS tapes. Searching through hip-hop's past on YouTube is dangerous work—the archives are seemingly exhaustive. For every iconic music video with one million views, there are dozens of forgotten clips, interviews, and live performances no one has ever seen. So we decided to do some digging.
The following videos help paint a more complete portrait of hip-hop—a teenage Kanye West performing in Chicago with star-like intensity, Lil Kim discussing the importance of family in the aftermath of Biggie's death, KMD's debut at Hard to The Left, a young Lauryn Hill speaking on racial politics, and one of Mac Dre's last ever performances in Seattle (to name just a few). We've only begun to scratch the surface—this list is in no way complete or definitive—but we hope you'll enjoy this trip down memory lane. Here are 50 Forgotten Hip-Hop Clips on YouTube You Probably Haven't Seen.
This feature appears as the first installment in an ongoing series on Complex Tech.