These days he spends half of his set complaining about how hard it is to break into the world of fashion.
But in 1996, Kanye was all about keeping it real, as this brilliant video shows. The clip, of a 19-year-old Kanye West performing at a Fat Beats event in August 1996, shows the future Mr Kardashian delivering a blistering freestyle over an old school hip hop beat.
It was to be a further five years before he worked as a producer on Jay-Z's The Blueprint, six years before he got his own solo record deal and eight years before he released his debut album College Dropout.
What do you prefer, new Kanye or old Kanye? Take a look at the clip and decide for yourselves.