While Kanye West, who has changed his legal name to Ye, is best recognized today as an ultra-famous rapper and a polarizing public figure, his origins as a producer for the likes of Jay-Z, Mos Def, and Lil’ Kim can’t be overlooked. In fact, it’s West’s tireless quest to be taken seriously as a rapper and not just a producer that provides rich fodder for Jeen-Yuhs, Netflix’s three-part documentary about the artist. (Jeen-Yuhs is produced by TIME Studios, the film and television division of TIME.)
For as hard as he worked to break free of being boxed in as a producer, there’s no denying that West’s production skills were—and still are—exceptional. And while West manifested the career as a rapper that he always dreamed of (with 22 Grammy wins to date), over the course of his nearly three decades in the music industry, his production has still had an outsized influence on the sound of the zeitgeist, both through his own albums and others’.
In an exclusive clip that didn’t make the final cut of Jeen-Yuhs, West the producer is seen in full force. During the time that this scene was filmed in the summer of 2017, he was hard at work producing five albums under his GOOD Music label, including Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E., an album that’s now widely regarded as one of R&B’s new classics.
In the clip, West is seen working in the studio with Taylor on the song “Cold Blooded,” which was ultimately left out of the album. He strips the song completely of its old beat, then creates a new one from scratch in a matter of minutes. It’s an illuminating look at his artistic process.
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