Kanye West’s career was a long time coming. He spent years in the late ’90s grinding in Chicago music scene before he finally caught on with Roc-A-Fella Records and made a huge impact with work on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint. Things took off quickly after producing high-profile songs like “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Never Change,” but Kanye still struggled to break into the mainstream as a rapper because of his middle class upbringing and reluctance to project the “gangsta” image that was extremely popular in the late ‘90s and early 2000s.

It seems crazy that someone with as much talent as ‘Ye would be ignored because of his image, but in the era before the social media-driven internet people were much less likely to take chances on unexplored territory. West was able to break out after his near-fatal accident in 2002, but his real calling card was always his ability to blow people away in the studio and attract other talented artists with his creative gravity.

In honor of the 12th anniversary of Kanye West’s debut The College Dropout, we’ve put together a list lesser-known, but still awesome, recorded moments of Yeezy in the studio.