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Here’s Kanye West Being Kanye West Before He Was Famous

Lost interview with pre-fame 'Yeezus' star shows he's the ambitious man he's always been

So here’s an unreleased, uncut MTV interview conducted with Kanye West all the way back in 2002, around the time he was preparing to release his debut album, College Dropout. He’d risen to modest fame as a producer working with Common, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Janet Jackson, and others, and was on the verge of breaking out on his own terms — a concept that he’s doggedly stuck to and continued to actively refine ever since.

BuzzFeed shared the clip to point out how different the creator of Yeezus was before he was famous, but in truth, he’s the same dude speaking at a different pace and with a thicker Chicago accent. He’s “hungry to prove himself” they write, but the man’s never lost that fire, nor the nearly pathological need to act on it by attempting to explain what happens in his mind using a jumble of words that don’t always come out in the right order.

But watch the clip above and you’ll see the same dude who couldn’t handle Matt Lauer’s studio interruptions, or Power 106 playing background music while he’s telling a story. Look! There it is: “Don’t distract my story,” he says in the first couple of minutes. And it was just last weak that West admitted he’s not the best rapper in the room, and look — again! — there he is above, saying, “I was always the weakest rapper [in the crew].”

The handy GIFs in the BF post show West absolutely geeking out over his own punchlines as well. That’s exactly what he did earlier this week when he was pleasantly, endearingly shocked to learn that he still knew the words to Watch the Throne’s “Otis.” And it’s almost too easy to draw an analog between the way 2002 Kanye speaks about becoming a respected rapper, to the way 2013 Kanye speaks about earning clout in the fashion world.

Frankly, ‘Ye has always been incredibly ambitious, creatively restless, vividly inspired, and strikingly self-centered. Given the chance, he’s also always talked a mile a minute, though only rarely finding the perfect combination of syllables that can keep up with flow of his wild mind. Watch this hour-long interview all the way through, and then take in the entire two hours of his recent Power 106 stop. Then tell us if anything changed other than your opinion.