So much has transpired throughout Kanye West’s career, it’s almost easy to forget about his humble Roc-A-Fella beginnings.

If the ongoing fervor surrounding Kanye West’s ongoing war on the music industry has taught us anything, it’s that Yeezy has reached a status few rappers could ever dare aspire to. People hang on his every word, whether they find themselves nodding in agreement or shaking their heads in sheer disdain. Either way, the world has come to know what Kanye West is all about, to the point where he many opinions surrounding the man have absolutely nothing to do with his music.

On that note, the idea that he was once a humble piece of the Roc-A-Fella puzzle feels surreal to ponder. And yet, there he was — throwing his diamond in the air all those years ago.

In the midst of the revolution transpiring across his timeline, Yeezy took a moment to embrace the spirit of Throwback Thursday with a refreshing interlude of genuine hip-hop history. Sharing a screenshot from The College Dropout’s liner notes, Yeezy revisited a glorious era where Roc-A-Fella Records was steadily on the rise. 

“DIAMONDS UP,” he writes, a surprising call back to a hip-hop dynasty for the ages. Those who grew up during the Roc’s early millennium run likely recognize some of the advertised projects, a stacked lineup that includes Jay-Z’s The Black Album, Freeway’s then-untitled “new album,” Cam’ron’s Purple Haze, Beanie Sigel’s The B-Coming, Young Gun’s Tough Love, Memphis Bleek’s M.A.D.E, and the official State Property soundtrack.

A blast of the past and surprisingly humble move from Ye, who has more-or-less moved to distance himself from the Roc years. Check it out for yourself below, and be sure to show some love to the simpler times. At this point, pining for the “old Kanye” is a lost cause — but that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate everything he brought to the table. 

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