If Chicago rapper Cap 1 thought that distributing a video of himself rhyming with an unknown 21-year-old named Kanye West in 1998 might be a solid promotional stunt to drum up interest in his forthcoming mixtape Caviar Dreams, he was wildly, stupidly correct.
So, bask in this glowing slice of archival gold; watch as an equally fresh-faced Cap passes the mic to his friend Kanye and strap yourself in as that grainy moment emerges as a suitable metaphor for the massive, gnawing gap that would soon enough emerge between these two innocent youths—in glory, in fame, in lifestyle, in skill. Can you sense it in the video, that quavering fissure? The College Dropout , West's solo debut, was still six years away—and in those six years, a lifetime of opportunities both grasped and slipped away.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.