A Kanye beat tape from 1997 recently surfaced online and features 8 instrumental tracks from early in his career. The beats were uploaded to SoundCloud by a user who goes by Trilly Madison, and based on the track art, it appears the beats were ripped from a cassette tape that was either first recorded, compiled, or given to rappers for their consideration in September 1997. The uploader claims to have purchased the tape on eBay on December 7, 2014 for $55. The person who sold the tape to the uploader was based in Chantilly, Virginia and wrote in the auction description:
For sale is a beat tape by the one and only Kanye West from 1997. The tape contains 8 beats and an intro. As far as I know, these have never been heard before. This was right before he started producing for major labels and impregnating Kardashians.
I’m not sure how many of these beats (if any) saw an official release. They’re fairly polished, some have bridges and breakdowns. I found this in a producer’s collection of tapes and have no reason to think this isn’t legit.
The eBay seller, user rod-key, recently provided more info about the origin of the tape, telling Genius that he bought the tape as part of a lot on eBay around 2012:
Someone was selling a group of tapes from a Miami record exec who had died in the early 2000s. (I asked the seller for more info about the person, but they had received it second hand from someone else.) It was a hodge-podge of commercially released albums, promotional snippet tapes, and a few hand-made demos. This one was obviously the most interesting. When I saw a blurry Kanye Beat Sept ‘97’ label among the other tapes it the auction picture, I decided to go all-in and set my bid to $300. I won the lot for $27.