Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Big Daddy Kane Talks Respect in this EURweb Exclusive Interview

big daddy kane

*Respect is earned. Hip-hop icon Big Daddy Kane worked for his using a microphone, reciting brilliantly- written lyrics into it with gusto, bravado, and a maturity that helped the genre gain listeners diverse in age.

Kane recently used it to surprise Jill Scott at her wedding reception in June. Her husband, Mike Dobson, with an assist from DJ Mars, secretly booked Kane to perform his hit “Smooth Operator.” A few videos that surfaced online showed Scott and everyone else on hand were thrilled.

The Brooklyn-born Grammy winner is consistently applauded for his solo albums, from the pioneering ‘Long Live the Kane’ in 1988 to the incredibly grown-up rhymes found on ‘Veteranz Day’ 10 years later. Kane’s also garnered acclaim for his acting ability, including his most recent role as Jonathan “Black” Jones in Gee Malik Linton’s ‘Exposed.’

EURweb associate Mr. Joe Walker caught up with Big Daddy Kane to discuss artistry, importance of complexity, and what earns his respect.

EUR: Kane, you were introduced as a member of hip-hop group Juice Crew in the early 80s, and listeners loved your energy, the complexity of your delivery and lyricism. That continued on throughout your solo career. When you guested on Public Enemy’s “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” in 1990 we saw a different side of you with more insight into your stance on discrimination and racism. With so much of that in the news today, have you felt the urge to take a stance on any of it through music? And if you do, what type of listener response would you expect?

Big Daddy Kane: The response to my views on record today? Honestly, I do not know. Would I take a stance? Absolutely! I have my views, and I’m always willing to share them.

EUR: People respect your artistry, and have for decades now. But what type of artistry do you respect?

Big Daddy Kane: I respect artists that know how to be artists, that know how to create their own lane and make people respect them for who they are and what they represent.

EUR: What earns your respect?

Big Daddy Kane: What earns my respect is…I love great lyricists, artists that can create incredible rhymes or incredible songs. The same thing goes if you’re a singer. I definitely respect that.

EUR: You’re considered one of the all-time great lyrists. Your rhymes are complex. But here’s a good question: Are you at all capable of being simplistic?

Big Daddy Kane: Well…I, I mean… There was a teenaged girl who did a song called “The Journey Isn’t Over” about bullying. I did a verse on it. And it was one of those dirty-south-type tracks. I tried to dumb it down as much as I could. With some of the stuff I hear today, I could never get that simplistic. I think, in a way, I can do the best I can. My song “Smooth Operator”, I think that’s a real simple, easy, sing-a-long kind of song. It’s not too complicated.

EUR: Do you feel like our world is becoming way too simplistic?

Big Daddy Kane: Without a doubt.

EUR: Okay, Kane, then why do we need complexity?

Big Daddy Kane: Because when things get too simple everything becomes too trendy, and it becomes something that everybody is able to do.

EUR: Besides yourself, who’s an example of someone that’s hard to copy?

Big Daddy Kane: Look at someone like James Brown. Everyone can’t sing and dance like that. Everybody can’t have the ability to sing and do all the dance moves James did and conduct the band while doing all those movements. Take the disco era where you simply played the instrumental beat and stand up on stage in a club and sing the song. Pretty much everybody could do that. Now, a lot of talented people who can give you really special things on stage but don’t because it’s not that important any more. You have about 500 different artists all doing the same thing.

EUR:  There’s lots of mixtapes out there. How do you feel about that?

Big Daddy Kane: It’s gotten to the point where you’re not interested in an artist’s whole album. You’re interested in a mixtape because you like this 1 song from this person, 1 song from that person, 1 song from that group. You never really get into them. It changes the dynamic of a great art form.

EUR: Thanks to your great art form what is it you’re able to do at this stage in your career that you weren’t able to do earlier in life?

Big Daddy Kane: To be honest, just to be comfortable. Just to relax, kick back, and say it is what it is, it ain’t what it ain’t.

EUR: And regardless of the respect you’ve received or the opinions you’ve voiced, what can you do as a recording artist or actor that no one else can?

Big Daddy Kane: I can be Big Daddy Kane.

mr joe walker
Mr. Joe Walker

Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion”, Mr. Joe Walker has been a biographer, entertainment journalist, and columnist for 18 years; his acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online for numerous publications including SoulTrain.com, Kalamazoo Gazette, WrestlingInc.com and Notion Magazine. Walker’s currently writing for EURweb, Concrete Magazine’s Concrete615.com, RealMenReport.com, and Hood Illustrated Magazine. Like him on Facebook, follow on Twitter @mrjoewalker, and visit his official website.

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