Throwback Thursday : 19-Year-Old Kanye West Drops Bars At The Fat Beats Grand Opening In NYC ca. '96

Kanye West‘s early rhyming days get some shine as a video surfaces of the 19-year-old Yeezus performing amongst NYC’s microphone royalty at the grand opening of Fat Beats in NYC back in 1996. The story goes, that DJ Eclipse (Fat Beats’ manager) was going through an old tape he had of that legendary opening party that featured performances from Ill Bill, Lord Finesse, Chino XL, Roc Raida, DJ SpinnaJ-Live and a laundry list of others, when he discovered Young Yeezy dropping a flurry of bars on the tiny 6th Avenue stage. Eclipse made haste and sent the clip over to the Complex offices, giving a bit of backstory to FB’s proud legacy:

“The original location of Fat Beats launched on July 14, 1994 which means FB just turned 20 years old! Business was doing so well 2 years in that Joseph Abajian decided to move the store from it’s small 9th St. basement space into a 2nd floor location on 6th Avenue. August 1996 (day?) was the grand opening of the 406 6th Avenue location. It was also the beginnings of our independent movement which had recently started bubbling about a year before.

Yesterday I started converting old Hi8 video tapes to DVD and came across some interesting footage from that day. Now we had a lot of the usual suspects in the place that day such as ILL BILL, Arsonists, Lord Finesse, Adagio, Breeze Brewin, A.L. Skills, Percee P, J-Live, Mr. Live, Chino XL, Al Tariq, Black Attack, Xzibit, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Rawcotiks, Ak Skills, Rob Swift, Roc Raida, DJ Spinna and many, many more. But what took me by surprise was the appearance of this 19-year-old kid who at that time nobody knew. At least in NYC.”

Observe a calmer, more poignant, pre-anointed Yeezus in the clip below.


  • ricciricci

    Was this pre-Crash?

    • Neezy

      Doesn’t it say he was 19 and in 1996? WHAT THE FUCK do you think?

  • Margareta Sharpe

    Thoughtful piece – I was enlightened by the insight , Does someone know where my company might get ahold of a blank a form copy to work with ?