Big Daddy Kane – A Legend Among Us

In Hip Hop every so often someone will come along that takes the music industry by storm. In modern times you may consider such people to be the likes of Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, and Jay Z just to name a few. But one artist all of these rappers pay homage to is Big Daddy Kane and here’s why.Big_Daddy_Kane


In the early days of Hip Hop rappers, rhymes were not as complex as they are today. This is simply because in the mid to late ’70s Hip Hop music was still in its infancy stages and was only a few years old at the time. Just like anything else in life things need time in order to grow and multiply and the evolution of Hip Hop is no exception.

Big Daddy Kane is widely recognized as being one of the greatest and most influential MC’s of all time alongside his fellow colleagues such as KRS One, Kool G Rap, and Rakim who in the ’80s single-handedly changed the rap game forever. Each garnished their own distinct sound coupled with complex lyrical rhyme schemes in a way that had yet to be executed on the mic before. And so the Hip Hop terminology “lyricist” was formed.

Raising The Bar


Brooklyn, New York native Big Daddy Kane didn’t stop pushing the limits of his craft with just lyrics. He also began to incorporate live dance choreography, theatrics and tailored made costumes into his performances which were unheard of for rappers at the time. These additions added a lot of entertainment value to his performances which lead to him selling out two shows at the world-famous Apollo Theater for women only which revolutionized the way Hip Hop shows were performed.

Another way that Kane separated himself from the rest was his appearance. It was normal in those days for rappers to be rockin t-shirts and jeans. However, Kane liked to wear designer suits and stayed with a fresh high top cut with a line cut into it. He was also known for cutting lines into one of his eyebrows. This gave him a look that made him stand out visually from the rest.

Giving Back


In 1990 at the height of Big Daddy Kane’s career he did something that shows a lot of good character. He took Queen Latifah “with Naughty By Nature as roadies”, MC Lyte, Digital Underground “featuring 2Pac as a dancer”, 3rd Bass, and Jay-Z on his “Chocolate City” nationwide tour. For some, the tour provided them with the opportunity to gain experience and create a fan base. At the time Jay Z was not an established artist and Big Daddy Kane would take a break during the middle of his show to change outfits. He would then invite Jay-Z on stage to rap for him until he was ready to resume the show. Notorious B.I.G also was often found in the crowd-drawing inspiration from the incredible show that Kane was putting on. Just pause and think about the number of future Hip Hop greats that were brought together because of this tour many of which had yet to be established.

Paying Homage

On Friday, September 28 2012 Jay Z was putting on a show at the newly constructed Barclay’s center and paid homage by saying the following “Big Jay_Z_pays_homage_to_Big_Daddy_KaneDaddy Kane was before me, before B.I.G.; we gotta understand our history,”. Jay Z also stated the following about Kane in his book Decoded “I got an invaluable education watching him perform…even today I use some of the ideas I picked up back then about pacing and performance in my own live show.”


Big Daddy Kane is a pioneer. He is someone whose self-confidence and security caused him to push the boundaries of his craft to new limits no one else had done before causing him to be years ahead of his time. He wasn’t afraid to be himself and try new things such as fusing R&B with Hip Hop, sporting classy suites, incorporating dancing into his routines, and even putting on shows for women only! Even when the Gangster Rap scene shot up in the mid 80’s he never Big_Daddy_Kane_Performingconformed to it because he didn’t believe in encouraging violence and calling women out their name. And at the height of his career, he wasn’t afraid to reach out and help others by sharing the platform he worked so hard to create. There’s no way I could effectively write one article to embody all the reasons why I consider Big Daddy Kane to be great. But hopefully, I was able to scratch the surface well enough for the newer generation to fathom why Big Daddy Kane is truly a legend among us.

How Did I Do?

Did you find this article helpful? Did you know who Big Daddy Kane was prior to reading this article? Who are some of your favorite rappers? I would love to hear from you so please drop your 2 cents below!

  • Guys, you all never heard “Pimping ain’t Easy”? “Anything goes when it comes to hoes ” Calling women hoes is calling them out there name.

    • I agree, I was referring to an interview that he did later on in his career where he stated why he didn’t change his stance when the gangsta rap era hit the scene. He stated that what some of his morals are now and not calling women out there name was one of them. I think one thing that is cool about artists who are transparent is that you can see their growth and maturity throughout the course of their whole body of work. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  • Good article. I happen to agree with you that Kane is not only great but absolutely one of the greatest. His performance is still ahead of a lot of today’s artist.

    • Thanks Kevin, I appreciate you reading and commenting. I second that! Kane was ahead of his time and artists could learn a lot of valuable lessons from him ranging from lyricism, stage performance, the way he helped others out, his morals and the way he carries himself as a man. Like Jay Z said “we need to remember our history”. Thanks again for reading, Much love!

  • Hey Cole… great read. Besides a couple of spelling/grammatical errors… I thought your article was brilliant and on point. Thank you for this. Big Daddy Kane, in my honest opinion, is the greatest emcee of all-time. There will always be a debate on that topic of the “GOAT”… but for me, growing up in Brooklyn, listening to Hip-Hop, since the mid 80’s, loving and listening to all the greats… and being 10 years old at the time that his first LP, “Long Live The Kane”, came out… I felt proud (even at that age) that this emcee, raised the bar of how one could rap… he was the one I took, not that long a time to figure out, that he will be known in my eyes (and many others) as the greatest to ever do it.
    He is/was a master of all styles. He gave it to you hard or smooth, about any & every subject/topic, and the complex, syllabalistic, rhyme schemes were blowing my young mind away. He was/is my rap idol. I love MANY emcees’ music, that there are too many to even name, but the one dude who has always stayed with me, more than a quarter of a century later, is BDK. To the point where, in the last few years, from going to many shows… I’ve finally gotten to meet him & am now cool with him, thanks to the power of social media, and him being just a very down to earth, selfless, cool brother… which, (as reliving that lil’ kid in me from 1988)… made me appreciate him, more than I already had and was glad that I wasn’t disappointed at all in meeting him and will always remember that day.
    He’s humble yet, confident and knows his place and his legacy in Hip Hop! Plus, he respects even those, that came before him, who’ve laid the groundwork for him to be this great, like Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, etc. He’s cherished by myself and many others, and has paved the way for so many other, lyrical emcees. A lot of the younger generation, might not even know him Cole, or may dismiss him as ‘old school’, yet, surprisingly, what many people don’t know, is that, he’s still probably, the best Hip-Hop performer, the epitome of an “MC” on the stage/mic… he travels all over the US & world to do shows, every year, all year round… can still rap with the BEST of them… he makes singles, and collaborations with other artists, and even came out with a live band album with a vintage Hip-Hop-classic R&B vibe to it, the project entitled ‘The Las Supper’ – Back to the Future in 2013… it had a very fresh sound, with Kane’s timeless flow all over it. So anyway, yeah… those are my thoughts, ’cause i could go on, hahaha… but thanks a bunch for the outlet and cool article. Peace.

    • Wow Manny P thanks so much for showing love and providing feedback! I really do appreciate it! Your comment almost exceeded the length of the article lol that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing some of your story with me. That’s really cool that you got meet and build with Big Daddy Kane over the years. Tho I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him he seems like a really down to earth dude. And I agree with everything you said about the legend.

      I was born in 85 so by the time I got into Hip Hop Busta Rhymes had just came out with “Woo Hah ( I got you all in check)”, Coolio Gangsta’s paradise was blowing up! So was Bone, 2 pac, Biggie, Naughty By Nature, Warren G, Dr. Dre, Snoop etc.. So with that being my first encounter with Hip Hop I didn’t know about all the greats that came before them. So I’m in the process of just going back and studying all the pioneers. I find it to be very inspiring and encouraging to hear their stories and what Hip Hop stood for back then. I love listening to KRS One speak as well. Dude be dropping knowledge!!

      But thanks once again for taking the time to read my article and show love. And I appreciate all of your references and suggestions as well. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do in order to absorb all of BDK’s music I hope this finds you well brother! Take care. – Cole Mize

      • It found me, just fine Cole, lol. I appreciate, the generation after me, that tries to enlighten others and studies the art of Hip-Hop, along with the various emcees/rappers that so many need to know about, so biggups to you… (besides… and still… I’m not THAT MUCH, older than you, haha).
        ‘The Blastmaster’ is in my top 5 of all-time, so yeah… he’s the ‘teacher’ and in case you didn’t know KRS-One stands for ‘Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everybody’. Gotta love the acronyms (e.g. Kane = King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal), lol. The artists you mentioned are definitely, some of the best in the business.
        Even I, still ’til this day, discover and re-discover, songs in the history of Hip-Hop. It never gets old, and music is just something i cherish in general, cause it speaks to us, in a way, that nothing else does. All types… all genres. You can never get to know everything, but it’s a great feeling to want to learn and find some gems, in the times, before one, was born. Peace, good luck and best wishes to you on your journey.

        • Hey Manny P,

          Thanks so much for the love. My goal is to be a resource where up and coming artists and learn how to rap through the video tutorials that I make on my YouTube Channel. At the same time I hope to be a positive influence in their lives that I hope will nudge them into making music that’s impacting people in a positive way. When you referenced to “The Blast Master” was that are reference to KRS One? I love, love, love listening to his lectures. I find him very fascinating and I really dig a lot of his philosophies. He seems like a really down to earth dude as well. He’s always dropping knowledge! That’s what it’s all about! Contributing to the evolution of humanity. I also enjoy listening to Professor Griff. That dude speaks the truth as well! Love it! Oh and on acronyms. One of my homeboys gave me one for my name. Cole=Constantly Observing Life Everyday. Which is true about me, I spend a lot of time in silence and meditation. I rarely ever listen to music in my car because I enjoy meditating organizing and gathering my thoughts.

          I cherish music as well. I just love soul music in all forms. No matter if it’s country, hip hop, rock, jazz, etc.. If it’s from the heart it connects with me. And you’re right, you can never get to know everything. I tell my “students” that I’m know better than them, I’m a student as well. How can one be a teacher if he was never a student? And how can one continue to grow unless he remains a student. My goal is to never be stagnant but while remaining content with where I am at the moment. Learning and grinding peacefully 🙂 I’ve learned also obtaining knowledge can be humbling as well because the more that you know the more you realize that you don’t know. That’s the never ending journey right there 🙂 lol And I’m looking forward to learning more and more history. If you ever have any recommendations for me to check out i’m corny “all ears” lol! 🙂 Hope you had a great Sunday. Take Care Manny! – Cole Mize

          • Cole,

            … and those are some wonderful goals to attain dude. As BIG, once said (and I go by wholeheartedly)… “spread love (it’s the Brooklyn Way)”… you could add your city to it, lol. Biggups to you for wanting to spread that knowledge, after learning things yourself.. it’s the only, we, can grow as a people, instead of the ignorance that swarms a lot of the world, these days.
            Yes.. “Blastmaster” is KRS-One… it’s his ‘nickname’. He’s definitely, the teacher of all teachers.
            I can recommend so many artists, but you may or may not know about them already (and I’m pretty sure that you do). Cats like Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Joell Ortiz, Mos Def… the Gods like: Rakim, Kool G. Rap, early LL Cool J, Big L, etc..
            but you can continue on the path that you’re on, with Kane, lol (I always gotta recommend him, because there’s still so much to learn about him.
            Here’s are 3 youtube links that you “HAVE” to watch, to know more about him, and trust me, it’ll be well worth your time, and you’ll come out feeling good about Hip-Hop, where it was and where it could be again.

            (17 minute Mini Documentary)

            (45 minute doc.), aired on Centric TV. Unsung:Big Daddy Kane


            (2005 VH1 Hip Hop Honors) inducting Kane, with great performances of his songs by T.I, Black Thought & Common… and himself, closing it out in the only way HE can).

            Please take the time to watch these, if you haven’t seen them already. You’ll be glad that you did.

            Oh and if you have IG, you can follow me if you’d like to… and I’d do the same… @bigmannyp (fitting, right)? Lol

            Peace Cole.

          • Hey Manny P,

            Thanks again for the reply. I appreciate you clarifying KRS’s nick name and love listening to that dude teaching. You can tell he truly has a calling to help educate the people. Yeah I’m privy to all the artists you named but mainly just their music and I’m going to add them to my list of artists to research further. Immortal Technique is really dope and extremely knowledgeable! I love hearing peoples story, their influences and motivations etc. And thanks for sharing the video links as well. It was actually the Unsung Doc that inspired me to write about BDK 🙂 I think it featured a small clip of the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show but I wanted to see the whole thing so thanks for sharing that along with the 17 minute Doc which I will also check out. I’ll make sure to follow you on IG as well. My name on there and every other social media platform for that matter is colemizestudios

            Thanks again for all of your comments and encouragement! I sincerely appreciate it! And I have a lot of homework to do 🙂 Much love Bro!

  • Kane is definitely one of greatest. I always tell people that there are few who have 1. Great Delivery 2. Lyrical Ability 3. Cross Over Ability 4. Produce Hits. Jay Z obviously is a student to Kane, he perfected it though. Which gives him longevity in the game.

    • Hey Jamar,

      I agree! I believe being skilled in all of those areas are crucial to the longevity of a artists. I mean Kane is still rocking shows till this day! Not just preforming them, he’s rocking them! lol That’s says a lot right there! Have you seen the video of him dropping the mic during a performance? He made the crowd think he messed up but it was actually a part of his act. People was going nuts!! lol Thanks for reading and commenting Jamar. I sincerely appreciate it! – Cole Mize

  • (Of course, I make mistakes also, in grammar), lol.
    “it’s the only, we, cab grow as a people” (what I meant to say was)… It’s the only way we can grow as people… I should learn to stop typing in the dark & type what I was thinking, I actually should be typing, lol.

    • lol it’s all good bro, one mistake isn’t bad at all for typing in the dark. I edited your comment with the correction so no worries. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

  • Raw will always be on my list of top ten raps of all time and Nuff Respect has been in my playlist from day one. They say imitation is the best form of flattery and BDK got flattered big time. Fergie just ripped the first few bars from warm it up Kane for a single with Nicki Minaj and it reminded me how great BDK was. Great article. Keep them coming.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Michael! I’m really glad you enjoyed my article. I wasn’t aware of Fergies tribute of BDK, That’s really cool!. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks again for reading and commenting I’ll be sure to keep them coming! 🙂 – Cole Mize

      • Cole, how possible is it to learn different flow techniques from gangsta rappers without paying attention to their content?

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