Young Kanye West Wishes Everyone a Happy MLK Day

So for some reason, videos of a young Kanye West are popping up online. The first one was of a 19-year-old West rapping onstage at something called — according to a banner behind him, at least — Good Time (prophetic!). He sounds nothing like he does now: Instead, as Stereogum points out, the video shows us young Kanye was “perfectly capable of the sort of densely verbose fake-New York twisty raps that almost everybody was doing in 1996.” Also, much like ODB before him, ‘Ye has “never been tooken out” and keeps “MCs looking out.” And one final observation: a tucked-in polo shirt, always a smart sartorial choice.

The second clip features an even younger, even more precocious Kanye. Apparently, he’s reading a poem for MLK Day, although the clip is a bit too grainy to make out most of the details. What’s really important, though: He’s wearing a tie, and clearly had more swag as a 13-year-old — “My name is Kanye West … Martin Luther King is who I’m speaking of!” — than I currently, or will ever, possess.

So what’s going on here? Are we gonna get a new Youthful Kanye video a day for the rest of the year? Or maybe just until DONDA launches? Wait — is this the first part of the DONDA launch? Has Kanye already hired viral video experts? Oh crap. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go work on my cover letter.

Filed Under: Kanye West, Music

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Amos Barshad has written for New York magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

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