This all happened before the world-beating singles of Late Registration and the Daft Punk beat flips of Graduation. It came before the autotune odysseys of 808s & Heartbreak, and it came before the lush maximalism of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the pugilistic minimalism of Yeezus. It was even before journalists realised that his name was ‘Kanye’ and not ‘Kayne’. In 2004, it was just Kanye West and backpack full of sped-up soul samples emerging from Jay Z’s studio and seizing the spotlight. Learn a little more about his opening salvo right here.
Illustrations by Hayley Morris.