It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when Kanye West wasn’t known or recognized for his rhyming ability. In an interview with Vlad TV, one of Ye’s West coast collaborators, Game recalled coming in 2nd to the Chicago rapper in a rap battle earlier in his career.
The friendly rap battle took place after a party thrown by Nelly. Game said that he and Yezzy went head-to-head for much of the battle, until Kanye pulled out the big guns in his final, battle-winning verse.
“Before The Documentary came out, Nelly had a party at Niketown, and everybody was there – Dr. Dre, Swizz [Beatz], Pharrell, a bunch of stars,” he recalled. “Me and Kanye were kinda rookies and what-not; Kanye was still servicing his beats around, I think he just had signed to Roc-a-Fella. So after the party was over, we’re walking to the parking structure, just walking [with] a bunch of chicks…and everybody was like, ‘Yo, Kanye, why don’t you battle Game? Game, why don’t battle Kanye?’ And we were just two hungry artists, so in the parking structure, [we] just took off. ‘Ye rapped first, and he spit and it was that old College Dropout Kanye, and he got off and he really did his thing.”
He went on, “I gave him probably about 40 bars, just rapping fire, and then he came and he spit like 40 bars. I took it up, and I ended up rapping for like three or four minutes…I felt like I won, and then Kanye, just out of nowhere, started going in about how I thought I was the ‘savior and watch my behavior’ – he just really started going in, and the chicks started being like, ‘Oooh, aah,’ and once the chicks start chiming in, it’s pretty much over.”