A tweet from earlier this week pointed out how quickly the price went up for Kanye West beats during his break into stardom, going from $500 to $30,000 within the space of a year. It reiterated just how precipitous his come-up was, and 9th Wonder pointed out a really interesting story behind his rise through a series of tweets. The story details the first time 9th Wonder met 'Ye and explains just how hard West had to work to be hear during his career's early phases.
"Phonte spotted him standing in the hotel lobby of the Durham Marriott," 9th recalled in a tweet, "so we walked over to talk to him. We introduced ourselves... his reply was, 'yeah man I know who y'all are man, I wanna do a song with y'all.''"
He came through with some dudes, one of them you all know now as Don C...to get the show done. He looks at me and says “man can I show y’all a video?” He reaches in his bag and pulls out a VHS tape with “Through The Wire” written on it.— 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) December 31, 2017
'Ye would go on to play them a number of songs from his album that several labels had turned down at the time. "Kanye kept saying 'Man people just don't get what I'm trying to do. Just life music,'" he explained in a tweet. Later on, Kanye would come over to 9th Wonder's apartment at the time to "edit some stuff" for an upcoming show, and he brought along a VHS tape with "Through The Wire" written on it.
"We all thought it was dope, but again, Kanye went on and on about BET was slow to play it... because they didn't get it." Later in the year, their paths crossed again when Kanye was tapped to perform at the Billboard R&B and Hip-Hop Awards, but he only got the chance to perform "Through The Wire," and 9th Wonder says there was zero reaction from the audience.
Order of show...Kanye went on 3rd, LB went on 4th.....Ye performed ONE song, “Through The Wire”.....to crickets....no one clapped, no one cheered.....even the dude running the music and video cut Ye’s backdrop short....Ye lost it.— 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) December 31, 2017
Not too long after that, Kanye was headlining his own shows, and he brought along with him John Legend. The crowd wasn't all that warm toward the future hitmaker.
That same spring, Ye came to LDOC (Last Day of Class) at @DukeU. His opening act was a singer/songwriter who played piano. During his performance, the singer/songwriter asked could he perform one more song called “Ordinary People”, people yelled “NO! We want Kanye”.— 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) December 31, 2017
So....@johnlegend performed anyway through the Kanye chants and the boos. I didn’t see Ye again until later that year in Charlotte, NC...— 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) December 31, 2017
John Legend appeared to remember, too:
Yessir!— John Legend (@johnlegend) December 31, 2017
Wrapping up the tweets, he said, "If I learned anything from the whole experience... is that to this day... that chip on his shoulder is real. Outside of the tastemakers, people don't listen to music. They watch, and they need qualifiers. I saw FIRST hand how 'Ye, John Legend, shit... even Kendrick Lamar booed and fronted on... same hit songs... different qualifiers. I Saw Kanye and John Legend perform 'Through The Wire' and 'Ordinary People' and get booed. People have no clue, fam."
No matter what...Artists...keep making music...people aren’t checking for it because they don’t know you, not because they took the time to listen. In time.....the 🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑 will come.— 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) December 31, 2017
I saw Kanye and @johnlegend perform “Through The Wire” and “Ordinary People” and get booed. People have no clue, fam.— 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) December 31, 2017