Big Daddy Kane Needs Hip-Hop Legends To Shine At Essence Fest


The Hip Hop 50 celebrations proceed all through 2023 as followers, artists, and the world at giant celebrates the genesis of some of the – if not, essentially the most – influential genres. With the launch of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture™ on June twenty ninth, the annual pageant in New Orleans will host a collection of concert events honoring the milestone. On evening one, Lauryn Hill will headline to rejoice the twenty fifth anniversary of her debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Doug E. Fresh additionally curated a particular efficiency with the assistance of hip-hop legends like Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, KRS-One, and Slick Rick. 

Nonetheless, it’s a second that Big Daddy Kane believes is “solely proper” for the ESSENCE Pageant of Tradition™ to commemorate. Hip-hop has outlasted many different genres, disproving predictions of it turning into a “fad.”

“It’s not that it’s necessary. It’s that it’s solely proper, you realize what I’m saying? Since you see, when there are festivals like this for rock or the blues or pop music, they routinely assume to get a BB King. They routinely assume to get Bruce Springsteen,” Big Daddy Kane informed HotNewHipHop over Zoom. “Hip-Hop is the kind of factor the place an expiration date has been placed on a variety of artists they usually name them ‘old style’ as a substitute of Hip-Hop legends. In my view, it’s one thing that must be achieved, you realize? It’s one thing that must be achieved to point out respect.”

HotNewHipHop lately caught up with Big Daddy Kane forward of the ESSENCE Pageant of Tradition™ to debate his upcoming efficiency, essentially the most pivotal second in hip-hop’s historical past, and the way he needs to see hip-hop preserved for the subsequent 50 years. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

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Big Daddy Kane Interview

HotNewHipHop: You’re acting at Essence Pageant alongside Doug-E Recent, EPMD, KRS-One, and Slick Rick. With all of the celebrations because the starting of the 12 months, how do you’re feeling about sharing the stage with fellow artists who performed pivotal roles in shaping what we all know as Hip-Hop immediately?

Big Daddy Kane: Effectively, I imply, these are cats that I’ve recognized for the previous 30 years, 30-some years. And to nonetheless share the stage with them, and, you realize, see them doing a factor and having enjoyable and get an opportunity to cut it up. You understand, it’s at all times wonderful.

I’m certain there are some surprises which you can’t set free of the bag too early however what do you may have deliberate for this efficiency at Essence Pageant?

Effectively, you realize, what I’m trying ahead to is every thing being tight as a unit. I’m probably not solely targeted on the Big Daddy Kane present. I need us collectively collectively to only look wonderful and actually showcase what Hip-Hop regarded like within the late 80s and all people enjoys it and desires to proceed seeing it an increasing number of. However yeah, we’re gonna convey some warmth to that stage. I promise you that.

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Why is it necessary for you guys to do that at Essence Pageant?

It’s not that it’s necessary. It’s that it’s solely proper, you realize what I’m saying? Since you see, when there are festivals like this for rock or the blues or pop music, they routinely assume to get a BB King. They routinely assume to get a Bruce Springsteen. They routinely assume to get a Madonna. Yeah, they need a Miley Cyrus, they need the Ariana Grande, however they need a Madonna. Or they need a pop legend from the 80s.

In Hip-Hop, it’s the kind of factor the place an expiration date has been placed on a variety of artists, they usually name them “old style” as a substitute of Hip-Hop legends. In my view, it’s one thing that must be achieved, you realize? It’s one thing that must be achieved to point out respect. After which additionally, for a youthful era to see the distinction. I might love for the youthful era to say, ‘Rattling. They don’t have all that stuff exploding and all of this they usually nonetheless tore it down. Yeah, I gotta step my stage recreation up,’ you realize? In order that they’ll have an extended profession doing what they do.

Who else are you excited to see at Essence Pageant?

It’s at all times an excellent time watching Doug E. rock, you realize? I imply, I feel it’s wonderful damn-near 40 years, this dude can nonetheless do the beatbox. You understand that takes a variety of breath management to nonetheless do that. After which you realize, after all, all people needs to see this sh*t [starts doing the Dougie]. Yeah, at all times like to see Doug E. rock.

Big Daddy Kane in 1988.
NEW YORK – AUGUST 12: Rapper Big Daddy Kane poses for a portrait on August 12, 1988 in New York Metropolis, New York. (Picture by Catherine McGann/Getty Pictures)

Whenever you have a look at the present local weather of Hip-Hop, can you hint the affect that you simply’ve all had? Particularly as somebody who continues to be enthusiastic and actively vocal in regards to the tradition. 

Effectively, I imply, I feel that it’s lovely. It’s lovely to have the ability to say that in my early 20s, I may take my mother and father to go see Jerry Butler, or Little Anthony And The Imperials and see a bunch of older ladies going cr*zy for these guys. And now, right here we’re, 35 years later and we’re a Jimmy Butler’s and slightly Anthony and the Imperials, you realize? I feel that’s lovely.

I feel that it’s wonderful to love, come out and make a trend assertion with a flat prime and elements in your eyebrows. After which, 25 years later, see it revived by a youthful era. You understand, watching it come to life once more. You understand, I feel all of that’s lovely. 

However much more importantly, I feel it’s lovely once you have a look at cats like Grandmaster Flash — nicely, at the moment, DJ Flash And The Three MCs with Melle Mel, Child Creole, and Cowboy. And then you definitely have a look at the Chilly Crush Brothers and what Kool Herc was doing. To see, from that cut-off date, you realize, the place one thing that began within the streets, the way it turned a billion-dollar trade. And the way each different style, at the start phases, that stated that Hip-Hop wouldn’t final, it’s not actual music. Now they incorporate Hip-Hop of their style, you realize. So it’s all wonderful, man.

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Does it stun you to see how far Hip-Hop’s come, particularly after many downplayed it as a fad once you started releasing music?

Effectively, I imply, that’s what I simply defined, you realize, how one thing that began within the streets turned a billion-dollar trade, you realize? What did it gross? Like, $23 billion or one thing like that? Final 12 months, or this 12 months, one thing I can’t keep in mind. I imply, it’s, it’s like the largest music style and all the opposite genres incorporate Hip-Hop into their area. Now, you realize, so, you realize, it’s wonderful what’s what it has change into, you realize, and then you definitely see so many younger cats immediately man, which are turning into instantaneous millionaires off of Hip-Hop, man. So, you realize, they get to feed their households and assume it’s as lovely.

What second would you take into account essentially the most pivotal in hip-hop’s historical past that allowed the style to constantly evolve? In case you can pinpoint a single second.

I might say Melle Mel in 1977 as a result of I feel that previous to Mel, anyone else that rapped, you realize, akin to your Lovebug Starski, Keef Cowboy, Grandmaster Caz, all of them just about did what DJ Hollywood began again in ‘71. And that was just about [mimics DJ Hollywood’s voice], you realize, their entire factor.

In ‘77, Melle Mel rhymed in his common voice and he launched what we name lyricism, the place now you’re truly listening to what the MC says. You’re quoting traces from the MC. As a result of you realize, till Hip-Hop turned recordings, it was actually all in regards to the DJ. You understand, it was Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Charlie Chase and the Chilly Crush, Theodore and The Unbelievable 5. You understand, the DJ was a very powerful particular person. 

As soon as Mel launched the lyrics to the sport, the MC turned a very powerful particular person. And due to that, I feel that that’s what birthed artists like LL Cool J, Run DMC, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, KRS-One, Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, Eminem, Ludacris, Jadakiss, and so forth. 

What do you assume a very powerful Hip-Hop album is and why? With out counting something in your individual catalog.

Elevating Hell by Run DMC as a result of it confirmed that Hip-Hop can go platinum and may break limitations and get up towards all the opposite music genres. So, it might be that one. After which once more, it might be It Takes A Nation Of Hundreds of thousands To Maintain Us Again. As a result of I feel that the album for Public Enemy confirmed which you can have a acutely aware message. You is usually a spokesperson for the hood, you realize? Letting individuals learn about how harmful and the way dangerous conditions are within the hood, and it nonetheless is accepted by radio. You understand, in all probability a kind of.

Talking of albums, a latest Billboard report indicated that not a single Hip-Hop album or track has topped the Sizzling 100 or the Billboard 200 this 12 months. Many have even argued that it signifies the decline of Hip-Hop. How do you’re feeling about feedback like that?

I feel that there are such a lot of different music genres that want to see the decline of Hip-Hop. What I really feel is like, you realize – due to company construction. Anyone that understands company construction, they know what occurs in that kind of scenario is that amount is available in, and high quality goes out, you realize? So it’s going to essentially boil right down to: what would you like? Would you like mass manufacturing, or would you like high quality? I simply assume that proper now Hip-Hop is so sturdy and so highly effective. However it’s a serious, main amount, however there’s not a complete lot of high quality. You understand, you may have nice artists which are doing issues however they is probably not charting. Not due to the music being dangerous, however as a result of the media just isn’t targeted on these artists.

You understand, I hear wonderful songs for individuals like J. Cole, individuals like all Girl London, individuals like Conway The Machine. However there’s a sure algorithm that performs on the radio, the place, you realize, the vast majority of stuff sounds the identical. And artists like that will not match that format. To be in that slot with the identical 20 songs simply repeating time and again and time and again. However there’s wonderful music on the market. They usually is probably not promoting or being regarded over as a result of they don’t match that algorithm. However there are a variety of gifted younger artists on the market immediately. You understand, I don’t blame the artists. I blame the individuals which are in command of the place music is performed and what music they’re placing out and feeding the youth.

Big Daddy Kane at ASCAP Rhythm & Soul celebration.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 22: Big Daddy Kane attends ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Celebration of fifty Years of Hip-Hop on June 22, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Picture by Lester Cohen/Getty Pictures for ASCAP)

You talked about Conway and beforehand shouted out J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar for staying true to lyricism. Who else is actually catching your consideration that you simply imagine is delivering high quality music?

Effectively, wow. Oh, yeah. These, you realize, after all, Conway. Rapsody, you realize. I like Rapsody. I’m fairly certain there’s extra however that’s all simply coming to the mic to return into my thoughts proper now in the intervening time.

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What do you hope to see Hip-Hop accomplish within the subsequent 50 years? 

One of many major issues I want to see is… I want to see Hip-Hop actually preserving their legends and holding their legacy related. I might love for 50 years down the road from now, younger children to know who Kool Herc is. Know the way Melle Mel is, Grandmaster Flash.

What do you assume one of the best ways to do this is?

One is like with these award exhibits. If there’s a Hip-Hop Lifetime Achievement Award, it must be referred to as the Kool Herc Award. That manner 50 years down the road, [kids will ask] why do they name it the Kool Herc Award? Who’s Kool Herc? You could possibly look this man up and know and perceive his legacy, you realize? If there are turntables, Technics ought to have The Grandmaster Flash 1200. So somebody’s turntables down there, [they’ll ask], ‘Yo, why are these turntables referred to as the Grandmaster Flash 1200?’ [If] you by no means heard of Grandmaster Flash, you can look it up and now you realize why. Issues of that nature.


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