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Did Kanye West Have Freestyle Rap Skills Back in 1998?

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Kanye West freestyle raps in 1998 clip.

To promote the release of his upcoming mixtape "Caviar Dreams," which comes out January 14, Cap 1 has posted an old clip on YouTube of him and Kanye West freestyling in Chicago way back in 1998, six years before Kanye released his full-length debut The College Dropout.

The promo clip for "Caviar Dreams," titled "Cap 1 – Caviar Dreams (Mixtape Trailer)," starts with an eerie hum and the words "Chicago, Illinois 2013" over a black & white shot of a sidewalk. The camera zooms in and reveals West dressed in black wearing a pair of necklaces and a hat that reads "CAVIAR."

Then Cap 1's first voiceover begins: "If you don't know where you came from, then you don't know where you're going. Some people think success happens overnight. They don’t even know. You put in blood, sweat and tears for this s---. We’re years in."

Cut to a 1998 snippet from inside a club. Cap 1 freestyles in vivid color for about 10 seconds then hands the mic to West, who blows the lid off the place with 30 seconds of smart, rhythmic rapping that begins, "Ima rise to the top 'cause it ain't in me to fail/ But now I’m bustin' at the cops, but he sent me to jail/ …But I said I was religious tryin' to send me hell/ So let the rapper beat the street, this summer I’m rockin' ice to beat the heat."

At the end of his freestyle, there are several artsy black & white shots of West accompanied by another voiceover, in which he describes the meaning of caviar dreams.

"Caviar dreams, you know, to me, was always the acquired taste for something better," Cap 1 begins. "You're one foot in, one foot out. You're just trying to get it, man. Feed these families. See, man, the crazy thing about it is everybody's caviar might be different. Caviar dreams is kind of catering to your vices. Whatever you feel, what motivates you or makes you feel you've elevated your game and you've stepped to the next level, whether it be cars, women, your choice of clothing, where you live, your bankroll. Caviar dreamin.'

"Sometimes it can be confused with greed. It's like a constant inner struggle to always want more, never settling, never getting comfortable. I remember coming home f---ed up. Nothing to eat, mo'f---in heat off and s---. Once you hit rock bottom, ain't no telling what you would do to get to that next level. To the next man it might look like I'm on, but to me I feel like I got so far to go that I'm just starting. S---, we're here now."

The nearly three-minute video ends with video of a scuffle outside a club and the words 'to be continued…" in white on a black screen. We'll be waiting.

 

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