There are artists, and then there are legends. Big Daddy Kane has been deemed as the MC who singlehandedly defined the term 'lyricist.' Known for dope rhymes and next level performances, he is an imperative and irreplaceable part of the music industry.
He recently shared his insights with AllHipHop.com on the state of Hip-Hop today:
AllHipHop.com: If you could sit yourself down the day before you signed your deal, what would you do differently, based off of the knowledge you have now?
Big Daddy Kane: If I could go back I would focus more on the business side. I would become more educated on things that have such a profound impact on your career. I would've learned more about publishing, point structure, and had a shorter deal, for example. I was simple unaware about a lot. I would advise those wanting to be in this industry to make full use of resources. You can’t know everything, but you can take the time to understand more than what happens in the studio and on the stage.
AllHipHop.com: What would you tell new artists in regards to longevity in the business?
Big Daddy Kane: Be yourself. Build a fanbase that respects you for your art form. Don't follow trends because once they leave, you leave, too. It should be that even when you're not hot, people still want to know about you as a person, what you have going on outside of music.
AllHipHop.com: Who are some artists you believe in?
Big Daddy Kane: Most artists I really believe in are mainly underground. As we all know a lot of good music doesn’t make it mainstream, but Saigon and Cory Gunz are some of my favorites. They are true lyricists.
AllHipHop.com: Define success as you see it?
Big Daddy Kane: To me success is achieving your goals. Whatever you set out to do and accomplish is success. If you want to be rich and famous, and you get to that point, you've reached success, because that was your goal. Only you can measure your success.
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AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about the industry being so consumed with material things?
Big Daddy Kane: The younger generation is so caught up on “balling out”. In turn women are degrading themselves chasing after the ballers, and music plays a big part in the messages that are put out. Many will give their last to seem rich, but have no wealth built up. I have the utmost respect for cats like LL, Luda, Diddy, and others, who have became entrepreneurs. Back in the '80s artists weren't opening restaurants and getting into various business ventures like today. The business side is so important. The sad part is the positive things aren’t as interesting as much as how big their houses are. In turn, people are caught up in trying to keep up with an image.
AllHipHop.com: With that being said, what is Hip-Hop missing, if anything, to you?
Big Daddy Kane: There’s a lack of quality. Today, we're missing those songs that brought about that nostalgic feeling. For the most part, the sentimental value in a lot of today's record is missing. A song that is 25 years old can still be played and loved, as if it was the first time hearing it. Now people don't want to hear 25 seconds of a track. Labels and radio stations play a huge role in what value people put into what they hear, or lack of it, for that matter.
AllHipHop.com: What are you currently working on?
Big Daddy Kane: I just finished an album with Showtime. Live band and all; it’s something like Amy Winehouse meets The Roots. I'm spitting as I did back in the '80s. I'm on the Rock The Bells Tour, and will be speaking with Minster Farrakhan at The Day Of Atonement in Charlotte.
AllHipHop.com: Any other thoughts you'd like to share:
Big Daddy Kane: Let me say this, too, don't completely blame the artists for some of the music you hear. They are simply expressing themselves. Not every rapper is that talented to where they can be lyrical. Silly songs in Hip-Hop aren’t a new thing. Those types of songs have always been around. They shouldn't be looked down upon, because it's always a matter of what's promoted and played. Again, that's on the labels and stations.
Visit Big Daddy Kane’s website: OfficialBigDaddyKane.com and follow him on Twitter (@OfficialBDK).
Tawni Fears is a freelance writer and contributor to AllHipHop.com. Follow her on Twitter: @brwnsugaT.