Kanye West was Kanye before he was… well, Kanye. In this refreshing clip from a 2004 visit to the HBO show "Def Poetry," rapper Mos Def makes one of the best statements of all time! when he introduces the 'Ye as "the future of hip hop." A pre-accordion-shade Kanye then takes the stage, clad in a t-shirt and baggy jeans, price tag still attached to his Adidas kicks, and it almost seems like a joke (indeed, people start laughing) when he starts rap-rhyming about future sartorial glamour.
"This morning I spent a lot of time trying to pick out my outfit because I'm like really into clothes. Imma gona be the best-dressed rapper in the game," Kanye says in a spoken-word poem called "Self Conscious." Though dubious at the time, he's made good on that promise seven years later. But the grandstanding and bravado -- and raw, emotional talent? There the entire time.