“My big brother was B.I.G.'s brother / Used to be Dame and Biggs' brother / Who was Hip Hop brother, who was No I.D. friend / No I.D. my mentor, now let the story begin.” This hook off “Big Brother” displays Kanye West’s sincere and appreciative side—a side that’s a well kept secret today. He’s showing appreciation for the two individuals who believed in him; who saw him as more than just a producer; who forecasted his bright musical future. Jay Z and No I.D. wanted the world to view Kanye as they did: as the blueprint to a superstar. And just like that, a star was born. 

We all know his hits. Hell, I think even my middle-aged Jewish mother could rattle off some. Only a sliver of rappers can transcend genre boundaries and become mainstays. Kanye is lounging with his yeezy’s kicked up, hands behind his head, enjoying the fruits of this sliver. Jay Z and No I.D. were right—Kanye is the blueprint to a superstar.

Before he went on to win multiple Grammy’s, become a two-time Time 100 most influential people in the world and one of the best selling artists of all time, he was just a kid with a keyboard and dream. While his lyrical debut didn’t arrive until his 2003 single, “Through The Wire,” Kanye West has been injecting his revolutionary presence into the game since 1996. Known for his eclectic pallet and ability to generate hits, he quickly became a coveted producer, fielding requests from a diverse set of stars. His beats structured one of the greatest diss tracks ever, helped the guy on the receiving end of that diss,  birthed stars and revived careers. Throughout Hip Hop's progression, Kanye has been there.

Despite his high visibility, a collection of his beats fly under the radar. I guess that’s what happens when you spend years driving from Chicago to St. Louis, St. Louis to Chicago, endlessly supplying beats, hoping to receive that big break. Well, congrats Ye, you finally got it. To truly appreciate how far he’s come, let’s take a look at some of his production that architected his now superstar status. *In no particular order*


"Sky Might Fall" by Kid Cudi

"City to City" by Grav featuring Al Tariq and Lil Ray

"Cold as Ice" by GLC featuring Twista

"Don't Mess With Me" by Lil Kim

"Dipset Forever" by Cam'Ron

"Real People" by Common

"This Can't Be Life" by Jay Z featuring Beanie Sigel and Scarface

"Drivin' Me Wild" by Common feauring Lilly Allen

"Lucifer" by Jay Z

"Stay The Night" by Mariah Carey

"Testify" by Common

"Turn Out the Lights" by Freeway

"The Cool" by Lupe Fiasco

"Find Your Love" by Drake

"Comfortable" by Lil Wayne featuring Babyface

"Encore" by Jay Z

"Overnight Celebrity" by Twista

"Nosestalgia" by Pusha T featuring Kendrick Lamar

"Show Me a Good Time" by Drake

"Upper Echelon" by Travis Scott featuring T.I. and 2 Chainz

"Let the Beat Build" by Lil Wayne

"Takeover" by Jay Z

"Who I Am" by Pusha T featuring 2 Chainz and Big Sean

"Used to Love You" by John Legend 

"Poppa Was a Player" by Nas