Once upon a time record executives mocked and laughed at Kanye West’s early recording of his Grammy-winning song “Jesus Walks.”
The tale is detailed in a new book penned by Jensen Karp, formerly rapper Hot Karl, Kanye West Owes Me $300.
In an excerpt shared with Vulture Hot Karl recalls working with what he describes as a “nerdy” and “cheaper Just Blaze” Kanye while recording at the now defunct Baseline Studios.
One day Kanye played “Jesus Walks” for Hot Karl and a room full of other producers and A&Rs including DJ Clue, Fabolous and Duro years before it landed on Yeezy’s debut album The College Dropout in 2004.
“As the song played, Kanye acted out and mouthed his lyrics, something he always did while his own music played, and I assume still does,” Karp writes. “He acted as if a music video was always being filmed around him, displaying yet another example of the unaware enthusiasm (and egotism) that would make him the butt of almost every joke at Baseline.
“A few people even mocked him, mimicking his rap voice and making fun of his over-the-top zeal. One major producer in the room even asked his assistant to make sure Kanye never performed like that again.”
Kanye shares stories about his start at Baseline on The College Dropout cut “Last Call” when he recalled playing the “Heart of The City” beat, originally reserved for DMX, for Jay Z the first time. He also detailed introducing himself to Dame Dash.
“I remember that Gucci bucket, he took it and like put it over his face and made one of them faces like ‘OOOOOOOOOOH,'” Kanye narrates on “Last Call.” “Two days later I’m in Baseline and I seen Dame. Dame didn’t know who I was and I was like, ‘Yo what’s up I’m Kanye.'”
Read more of Jensen Karp’s tales in his new book Kanye West Owes Me $300, available for purchase here.