(from Smoking Section)
Kanye West was born to produce beats. At 15, he began a tutelage underneath famed producer No I.D., and by 1996 he was making his own tracks for native Chicago rap acts. While he had a tough time getting his own raps in tracks, he still produced for a number of artists before he became an artist himself in the early 2000s, joining Roc-a-Fella Records under Jay Z.
Now, West — having won more than 20 Grammys — is one of the best-selling and most successful artists in the world, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was just a struggling producer. Here are 10 tracks you may not have known Kanye West either produced or co-produced.
“Stir Crazy,” The Madd Rapper (feat. Eminem)
Kanye produced six tracks on this album, which was derived from a skit on Biggie’s Life After Deathalbum. D-Dot played the Madd Rapper, and he was also a mentor to West. West has also said on many occasions that Eminem is his favorite rapper of all-time.
“I Want You,” Janet Jackson
West produced a number of tracks for other artists even into the beginning of his run as a successful artist, one of them being this soulful 2004 Janet Jackson song.
“Line for Line,” Grav (feat. Kanye West)
West was still a seedling back in 1996, but he hopped on this track that he produced for Chi-town native Grav.
“Turn it Out,” Jermaine Dupri (feat. Nas)
This 1998 track was one of Kanye’s first big album placements.
“My Life,” Foxy Brown
Amassing a resume worthy of a top-flight producer, Kanye’s work on this track helped Foxy’s album shoot up the Billboard charts.
“Get it Started,” Gangsta Boo
Nobody really remembers Gangsta Boo, but fans still remember the bubbling production on this West-produced track.
“You Made Me,” Harlem World
“Minute Man,” Harlem World
Kanye produced a handful of songs for the Ma$e-led group, and these two tracks stand out among them.
“Joanne,” Trina & Tamara
This is a rare Kanye West track that not many people have heard, probably because not many people have heard of Trina & Tamara. Still, it’s a nice, soulful song that deserves a listen.
“Rebuilding,” Goodie Mob
Goodie Mob and Kanye West? Yes, please. With CeeLo singing on the hook, this standout from the Mob’s World Party is a gem.