Before Kanye West became today's most polarizing figure in hip-hop, he was a hungry teen from Chicago who wanted to showcase his lyrical skills on the mic.

DJ Eclipse, the former manager of the now-defunct Fat Beats record store in New York, recently unearthed an 18-year-old video of a young 'Ye in a freestyle cipher at the opening of the store in 1996.

Complex posted the video, which has since gone viral on the Internet. Here's what DJ Eclipse said about this fun clip:

The original location of Fat Beats launched on July 14, 1994 which means FB just turned 20 years old! Business was doing so well 2 years in that Joseph Abajian decided to move the store from it's small 9th St. basement space into a 2nd floor location on 6th Avenue. August 1996 (day?) was the grand opening of the 406 6th Avenue location. It was also the beginnings of our independent movement which had recently started bubbling about a year before.

Yesterday [July 17] I started converting old Hi8 video tapes to DVD and came across some interesting footage from that day. Now we had a lot of the usual suspects in the place that day such as ILL BILL, Arsonists, Lord Finesse, Adagio, Breeze Brewin, A.L. Skills, Percee P, J-Live, Mr. Live, Chino XL, Al Tariq, Black Attack, Xzibit, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Rawcotiks, Ak Skills, Rob Swift, Roc Raida, DJ Spinna and many, many more. But what took me by surprise was the appearance of this 19-year-old kid who at that time nobody knew. At least in NYC."

That kid would be Kanye West. And everybody knows him now. Check out the footage above.