Before making his own hits and becoming one of the decade’s most influential people in hip-hop, Kanye West was already a much respected producer with the gift of turning anything he touched into bangers. Whether it be rappers with street cred or sugary R&B divas, between 1996 and 2004 (the year he released his first own record), West produced dozens of beats that allowed him to polish his magnanimous and emotional vision, whilst starting to build his reputation. It took some time for him to be recognised as an MC, but when that finally happened, he was unstoppable. That – however - is another story, and a well-known one at that. Today, we focus on some of his best productions from the time before “The College Dropout”, coinciding with this week's release of the much anticipated album alongside his godfather Jay-Z, “Watch The Throne”. In short: the man was a legend before he even started.
1. Jermaine Dupri feat Nas: “Turn It Out” (1998)
2. Beanie Siegel: “The Truth” (2000)
3. Lil Kim: “Don't Mess With Me” (2000)
4. Jay-Z: “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” (2001)
5. Cam'ron: “Dead Or Alive” (2002)
6. Talib Kweli: “Good To You” (2002)
7. Scarface: “Guess Who’s Back (feat Jay-Z & Beanie Sigel) (2002)
8. Alicia Keys: “You Don't Know My Name” (2003)
9. Royce Da 5'9: “Heartbeat” (2003)
10. Monica: “Knock Knock” (2003)
A list of some of Kanye West's best productions from the era before “The College Dropout”, coinciding with the release of “Watch The Throne”. In short: the man was a legend before he even started.