Dave Chappelle remembers the exact moment he knew Kanye West was going to be a big deal. Ahead of a nine-show run at Radio City Music Hall that kicks off on Wednesday, Chappelle sat down with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” on Friday night and described his first encounter with West.
The rapper was set to have his first-ever television performance on “Chappelle’s Show” in 2004 and Dave described ’Ye at that time as “Muhammad Ali in the Olympic Village. He just knew he was going to get the gold.”
The day of West’s appearance on “Chappelle’s Show” was also the day that Jay Z’s The Black Album dropped. Although Chappelle now admits listening to Jay Z records leaves him questioning his own life choices, that day he huddled with Talib Kweli, Common and West to listen to the new Jigga tracks. On “Lucifer” (produced by West) Jay intros the beat, giving a shout out to Yeezus. “Kanyeezy you did it again, you’re a genius!” Chappelle said West stood up and spoke for the first time all day. “Stop the record and rewind that,” he said.
If that wasn’t evidence enough of the personality we’d come to expect from the rapper -whose confidence was on display again during his Friday night headlining gig at Bonnaroo – Chappelle hammered home his first impression with another classic moment from that day when everyone realized Kanye was going to be a star.
Watching sketches in the edit, West’s phone rang and he explained why he didn’t have time to talk. “I’m at the edit for the Dave Chappelle show watching sketches no one’s seen before. Cuz my life is dope and I do dope sh–,” ’Ye bragged.