If you would’ve told me that at one point Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, No ID, Shawnna, DJ Pharris, Mikkey Halsted, Don C, Boogz, SC, Really Doe, Malik Yuself, Kaye Fox, Rico Nance, Tone & Shag, Newsense and Leon Rogers were all in the same room at the same time, I would’ve looked at you and responded “you need more people…”
That was not the case back in the Summer of 2005, a month or two prior to the release of Kanye’s sophomore album, Late Registration. On said summer night, Miller Genuine Draft and Power 92 held a freestyle battle/showcase at the Park West in Lincoln Park. Shawnna hosted the event which featured local talent including Mikkey Halsted, Miss Criss and Kaye Fox performing for the crowd. The event was running as scheduled until Kanye West, who had just wrapped his album, stormed the stage and turned this party into a listening session for Late Registration. The audience, stunned and surprised, was treated to Late Registration before the world – or even critics – got a taste of it. In this clip you can hear tracks such as “Gold Digger” being played for the very first time. Hell, ‘Ye even had Lupe on stage for the premiere of “Touch The Sky”. Kanye gave a track by track rundown of the album, and even took questions from the audience. Talk about a bonus for all of the people in attendance who thought the only treat they’d get for the night was free MGD.
So yes, as recent as five years ago, Kanye West would pop up at a local event and stunt out for the people of Chicago. Before the days of listening sessions featuring a truckload of nude models surrounded by expensive candles in plush Hollywood mansions, Ye would play his album for the people – the average joe. Not that I would mind nude models, but you get the idea. I don’t foresee something like this happening ever again, but it’s nice to look back and reflect on some of Chicago’s best and brightest before they became full-fledged superstars.
Something else special about this clip is that this was before the days of going to an event where everyone in the house is filming, taking pictures, “doing media” or Tweeting (everything except actually watching the show). Moments like these could happen and no one would really know about it outside of the circle of people who were actually there. Amazing, really. Imagine “Kanye West doing a surprise listening session at the Park West NOW” hitting Twitter on any given Thursday night in Chicago. You’d have to call the damn riot squad.
Shouts to Boogz for blessing the world with this.
Bring back the MGD nights!