Talib Kweli recalls a time when Kanye West was looked at primarily as a producer, and had a hard time getting labels to listen to his rhymes.
Kanye West began as a producer, but with a personality as big as his, it was impossible for him to stay behind the boards forever. While he is arguably looked at as more of an emcee than a producer these days, he once had a lot of trouble getting people to see past his impressive beatmaking skills. Early endorser Talib Kweli recently spoke to VladTV about Ye's early experiences as an aspiring rapper.
"He was shopping his demo," said Kweli, revealing that while there was a lot of interest in Yeezy at the time, it stemmed only from his knack for production. "...He had different situations he was looking at, but nobody was taking him seriously. He wanted to be on Rawkus, and Rawkus was like, 'No, we want his beats.'"
Roc-A-Fella, the label that ended up giving him his first chance to rap, was even hesitant to do so at first. "Everybody was trying to figure out a way to get Kanye to give up his beats, without wanting to hear [him] rap. Even Roc-A-Fella, at the time."
Talib then recalled how the Yeezus rapper would workshop his rhymes with other rappers, a technique he still uses to this day. "Kanye would rap constantly, and he would test out his raps on anyone on the tour bus. ...He still does that to this day; that's how he makes his albums."
Watch the full interview below.