Big Daddy Kane – The Unkut Interview
Friday September 07th 2007,
Filed under: BK All Day,Features,Interviews,Steady Bootleggin'
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This one was a surprise. Thanks to some bizarre Puma/Yo! MTV Raps cross promotion, I recently got to kick it with the one and only BDK for a local magazine. As you might expect, he’s not trying to talk about the etchings in the run-out grooves of his singles, but I managed to get a few quality quotes from him regarding some of the lyrical ass-whuppings he’s handed-out over the years, and it goes without saying that I had ti bring-up G Rap. Don’t count on seeing me sporting the Doug E. Fresh Puma Suedes anytime soon, though.

Robbie:What’s your best memory of the Yo! MTV Raps show?

Big Daddy Kane: Seein’ all the hip-hop videos on MTV, finally. It was really a selected few, and now you’re seeing a lotta artists getting exposure on MTV. I used to just dig seeing that.

Do you think that it left a gap when MTV canceled it?

Nah. BET had Rap City, and Video Jukebox had a show also, where you could order what videos you wanted.

A lot of magazines used to complain that you were catering too much to the ladies in your music in the nineties, but guys like Ja Rule made a career out doing of that.

I remember a certain point when they started complaining about Ja Rule – that his music is getting too soft, it’s only for the girls. They were saying that about Puff. To me, I think it’d be the type of situation where if you have a famous recording artist and he’s successful, there’s always gonna be jealousy and haters. Especially if it’s the type of situation where it’s looks like he might possibly be getting more pussy than you!

[laughing] Good point. Do you think the popularity of videos has made people lazy with their lyrics?

I don’t think that has to do with the videos, I think that has to do with artists not having love for the music. They’re basically making albums to sell records and to make more money. It’s not because they want to show their fans that “Yo, I’m the nicest MC” or “I’m the hypest MC”. If you’re a party rapper, then you want to show your fans, “I’m the hypest MC! I’ve got the most energy! I can entertain a crowd anywhere!” If you a lyricist, then you want to show them, “Well I’m the nicest MC! Nobody can mess with me with my pen game!” A lot of artists aren’t really into it for that – for the love of hip-hop. They’re into it just to make money off the game.

Speaking of lyrical style, you and Kool G Rap seemed to have a friendly rivalry in the Cold Chillin’ era.

Me and G, we used to talk on the phone a lot, say rhymes back-and-forth to each other. I would say it was a friendly rivalry in a way of when writing, we kept each other on our toes, but we weren’t trying to make songs better than one another! I’d never try to make a song better than G’s, and I don’t think G tried to make one better than mine. We were just doing what we do.

I heard there was a battle between you and Freddie Foxxx at the Latin Quarter?

I didn’t just battle Freddie Foxxx – I battled his whole crew! It was these Tuesday night battles they used to have back at the Latin Quarters – this was back in ’85, ’86 – he was in a crew…I can’t remember. Supreme Force? Divine Force? Something like that.

Oh yeah, it was Supreme Force.

Yeah. So it was me against his crew.

So I assume you tore ‘em up?

[chuckles] Well, I’ll put it like this – they called the battle a tie, but Foxxx and his crew were signed to NIA Records. They already had a record deal. They were signed to NIA, and they were in the house with Russell Simmons and Andre Harrell and Jam Master Jay. All of them were there with them – I was just a new artist from Brooklyn that nobody knew.

I also heard a tape of you against some kid called Jazz Fresh who tried to say something against you and Biz?

Jazz Fresh in Philly…I don’t think Biz was there. It was a show at a club called After Midnight. The dude – I think he was screaming out some Juice Crew…’cause there was Shan and that whole beef with Steady B and Cool C? I think he was screaming out some “Juice Crew Dis” stuff from out the crowd. I ain’t never have nothin’ to do with whatever was going on with Shan and Steady B and Cool C, but dude was trying to get out of pocket, so I called him up on the stage. But it’s in the middle of my show now, you understand what I’m sayin? So I done ate into his ass, the crowd done saw that he done lost, but dude wanna keep rhymin! It’s like “I got a show to do. And you’re not winning! It’s kinda clear that you’re gettin’ your ass tore up – but you wanna keep rhymin?” So I was just like, “Yo dog, you know what? Here’s a hundred dollars – go do somethin’ with ya self!”

[laughing] Nice. It’s become fairly common for guys like Puff to have five or six ghostwriters on an album, but you were one of the earliest to write lyrics for someone else, like Biz Markie and Shante. It sounded like you would adapt the style to the artist you wrote for, but that doesn’t seem to be the case these days.

With hip-hop – because it became so commercialized – it’s like the rules that apply to R&B and Rock ‘n Roll and Pop music now apply to hip hop! And those rules being that someone else can write a song for you. In hip-hop, if you ain’t writing your own material then you really ain’t no MC! As far as the ghostwriting thing go, what I did for Biz or Shan – that wasn’t as a ghostwriter. That was just me as the writer of the song! You look on there you see “A. Hardy”! Now a ghostwriter would be the stuff that I’ve done for Rick James or Positive K. Like Prince! Prince was a ghostwriter. Prince used to write stuff for other people under a whole different name. You didn’t even know it was Prince ’till years later. Now that’s ghostwriting!

From your second album onwards, you were credited as producing a lot of your own songs, but I assume that even on Long Live The Kane that you were involved with putting together your beats.

Yeah. I would bring beats to the studio and basically tell Marley what part of the beat I wanted sampled, like “I wanna sample this part right here” or “Can you make this part the first half and that part right there the second half?” or “Make the 808 hit here”. Marley Marl was more or less acting as the engineer. But tracks like “Lean On Me”, “Young, Gifed and Black” and “I’ll Take You There” – those are tracks that Marley just did on his own. I had no input on those three.

I remember that Jay-Z was performing with you in the nineties. Was he your hypeman or just rhyming with you?

He wasn’t a hypeman, he basically made cameo appearances on stage. When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage.

Whatever happened to my man TJ Swan? Wasn’t he meant to do an album?

[surprised] Man, I haven’t talked to Swan in a very long time.

He could’ve been the first Nate Dog.

[bursts out laughing] I guess, in a manner of speaking, he pretty much was the first Nate Dog! The first hip-hop singer.

He did some good stuff. So are you working on new material?

I did a joint with Little Brother, did a joint with Joell Ortiz. Also for that RZA soundtrack “Afro Samurai”, me and Genius did a song together, and me a G Rap redid “The Symphony” on UGK new album.

Do you think you’ll make another album?

You never know what the future holds, but it’s kinda hard to say right now.

You used to shout out Melquan and Shabazz on some early songs. Were they friends from the neighborhood?

Yeah, they were just friends of mine. Melquan ended-up being Genius manager. He use to manage Genius when he was on Cold Chillin’, and Shabazz is the brother who had the clothing line Shabazz Brothers.

Are there any battles from those days that maybe people don’t know about?

[laughs] Nothing I can think of, man.

What’s the song that’s guaranteed to bring the house down when you perform? “Wrath of Kane”?

It could “Raw”, could be “Ain’t No Half Steppin”, it could be “Warm It Up, Kane”.

Is Mr. Cee still rolling with you?

Nah, he has a job now. He works at Hot 97 as one of the on-air personalities.

What about Scoob and Scrap?

Scoob just performed with me two days ago in Virginia. I haven’t seen Scrap, but Scoob still comes out once in a blue moon.

Have you been involved in the design of the Puma jacket and shoe? Or was that something that they put together?

I was kinda involved as far as the color scheme.

Because you’ve always had your own style, as far as rockin’ suits when everyone else had sweats on.

Yeah. That’s something that I always got from my father, so that’s what I basically bought into the game.

Doug E. Fresh is also involved with the Puma range. What are some of your memories of Doug performing?

In hip-hop, Doug has always been, hands-down, probably the greatest performer when it comes to putting it down on stage. He’s always had an exciting show and always knew how to bring other elements into hip-hop, so I’ve always respected him for that.

Plus he was the first guy to rock a harmonica in rap! Do you feel Puma was an important part of early hip-hop fashion? MC Shan was Puma’d out on his first LP cover.

Even before Shan, late ’70s, it was a type of situation where the two main type of hip-hop sneakers were Puma and Pro Ked. The Pro Ked was the affordable sneaker, the Puma was the “high-end”. When you had a pair of suede Puma’s with some fat laces, you was the hottest thing on the block. When you think about the whole culture of hip-hop, Puma played a major important role in it, because that was like the flyest sneaker you could have. That’s what the b-boy’s wanted to breakdance in, they’d try to get the fattest laces they coukd find, make ‘em two-tone laces and all that there stuff, so you could see ‘em when they was doing their backspins. It was that official sneaker of hip-hop in the late 70′s, so to see it make a comeback is a beautiful thing, ’cause it represents hip-hop! If it’s at a point in time where everything is becoming so retro – where you’re going back to the basics – you definitely have to go back with Puma, too.

Remember when everyone stopped wearing Troop after that KKK rumour?

Well I’mma be honest with you – that was something with LL. I don’t really know nobody that wore Troop. I’m from Brooklyn, and I don’t remember coming out the house, seeing nobody with Troop stuff on. I’m pretty sure that because LL used to wear it, that there were a lot of LL fans that maybe bought it. People from different states that didn’t know that in the hood – where we from – that that’s some shit you laugh at!

So how did you and LL used to get along?

I guess it was a friendly rivalry. L is my man, and he’s always been my man. I got a lotta respect for that dude, and I like to refer to him as the greatest rapper of all time.

[shocked] OK, right.

Now I didn’t say the greatest MC! I said the greatest rapper. What I mean is the longevity of his career, and the different things he’s done in the span of his career. Only other rappers that really come close would be like Tupac, Jay-Z and Eminem…I mean to what L has accomplished. L has done it for several generations, that’s why I have to put him on top.

I’d agree with that. But what about as a straight-up MC? Who would you say was the greatest?

Who’s the greatest? Shit, you talkin’ to him baby! [chuckles]

[laughing] Nice.

It would have to be someone like me or a KRS or a Rakim. If you wanna put Nas in that…G Rap.

That’s interesting, because there’s always been that rumor about you and Rakim taking little swipes at each other. Is that just gossip, or is there some truth to that?

[in a sly tone] I used to hear that a lot too. I don’t know. I wonder…

You never went at anyone in particular when you wrote your lyrics?

Who me? I’ve had my moments. I’ve had my moments where I’ve heard something that someone said and I didn’t really know how to take it, so just to play it safe I might throw a shot back at they ass. But we all grown now, and that’s a thing of the past so I don’t even sweat it no more.

Just for my interest, is there any name that comes to mind?

Well like I said, we all grown now, so that’s a thing of the past so I don’t even sweat it no more.

Do you ever catch-up with any of the old Juice Crew?

I talked to Shante a couple of days ago, so she’s chillin’. Still got her cute little voice. Sometimes me and Biz have shows together, and every once in a blue moon Craig G or Masta Ace, I might see them.

Didn’t Shan and Craig G have a little falling out once?

You’d have to ask them. I don’t know nothing about that.

How’s Shan?

Shan? I guess he’s cool. I seen him…I wanna say last summer. I think it was last summer I saw Shan. He was still the same Shan – weighing about 87 pounds and screaming at the top of his voice, just being Shan. So I was like “OK. At least I know everything’s OK with you!”

Big Daddy Kane – “This Is For Your Own Concern”

Big Daddy Kane – “Sing My Song”

Big Daddy Kane - “Set It Off”

Big Daddy Kane - “Wrath of Kane (live)”

Big Daddy Kane - “Mr. Pitiful”

Big Daddy Kane feat. Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip- “Come On Down”

Big Daddy Kane - “Rest In Peace”


52 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Lol@the shan comment. This is by far the most interesting Kane interview I’ve read in a long azz time. At least you brought up some interesting stuff, props!

Comment by The Funkologist 09.07.07 @

Shan was talking to Flex on the radio last night and bugging out. He took responsibility for KRS’s whole existence and then started rhyming in mid-conversation.

Fucking great BDK interview man. This will really help your valuation before the Rawkus buy-out.

Comment by rafi 09.07.07 @

Great interview

BDK will forever be high in my top ten …. mic skills and stage show

Co-sign on Shan, dude is bugged out for real!

Comment by Dotacus 09.07.07 @

Great interview

BDK will forever be high in my top ten …. mic skills and stage show …..
oh, and I so gotta cop that BDK Puma jacket ….. to go with my black suedes with the fat laces …… ’cause i’m old school & Hip Hop like that!

Co-sign on Shan, dude is bugged out for real!

Comment by Dotacus 09.07.07 @

Great subject, Robbie. When are you gonna bless the readers with the Skinny Boys interview?

Comment by Fosterakahunter 09.07.07 @

Another good read. Thanks.

Comment by silent minority 09.07.07 @

Kane Was 1 Of The Coolest Rappers Ever!…. What Ever Happened 2 Being Cool Man? …. Oldskool 4Eva! 1

Comment by IMJFRESH 09.07.07 @

I like the way Kane keeps it tight lipped in interviews, and comes fresh on the mic every time. He doesn’t need to dis or give too much unnecessary info about himself, ’cause he shows and proves and that’s all that’s needed. Kane’s solid character and humble yet mannish honor will always be a legacy and an all around good hip hop example of how to do this shit like a man and not like a greedy little back-stabbing, drama-fueled, self-promoting bitch.

Comment by Grand Invincible 09.07.07 @

Damn, those Puma’s are ill!

Comment by Science Is Drought 09.07.07 @

It’s somewhat funny that we can talk about the longevity of his career in refernce to Pac…the “Tupac product” has had an unreal run after the man’s passing. Kane has always struck me as very intelligent, he probably has stories for days, seems to really take it all in. I can’t cosign on all the raps for the ladies though, I’m sure he’s bagged more women then me, that’s not the issue, it’s just that some of it is nearly unlistenable…just a waste in my eyes. I wasn’t really there to follow his career in real time, but it seems he made a decision to chase some dollars as well, not that his lyrical skill really comes into question, just the content.

word.

Comment by jowhite 09.07.07 @

oh, and also. D-Nice is the man with the camera, check his photo site/blog if you’ve not.

Comment by jowhite 09.07.07 @

Mmm Mmm Mmm…

Long Live the Kane!
Wraith of live gets me amped as a mufucka everytime! So called mc’s need to peep that shit before they even attempt steppin to the stage…
Incredible…

Comment by Trem One 09.07.07 @

Wow….Very good article. Many people forget, but Kane was VERY influencial in 88 and 89. Krs and Rakim get more credit then he does, which I believe is well deserved, but for those two years, Kane was a problem on the mic. I am a HUGH Krs One fan and always thought, and still think, that Krs was the nicest on the mic of that era, but Kane would’ve really given him a run. Who knows Kane might of gotten at him. I wonder if they were ever close to battling? Especially with the whole BDP vs Juice Crew thing, but to me Kane aint really want it with Kris, cause if he did he could’ve gotten at him. Although Kane did write the lyrics for Shante’s Have A Nice Day, which disses Krs and BDP. Anyone ever heard anything on a Krs and Kane battle???? Just curious. Great interview. I’d love to see one with the legends, Krs, Rakim and Kane all at the sametime. Let them tell us what the temperture was like back in the Golden Age. Keep bringing them live interviews. Loved the one with Kenny Parker and Krs One. This Kane one is in the same category. Peace

Comment by Dave Cannon 09.07.07 @

LONG LIVE THE KANE! I SAW KANE ROCK LIVE AT THE BROOKLYN HIP HOP FEST LAST YEAR. HE KILLED THAT SHOW. WHAT WAS WILD WAS HE WAS STARIN AT ME WHILE I WAS SAYING THE WORDS TO ALL HIS SONGS WITH HIM, JUMPED OFF THE STAGE AND GAVE ME A POUND.
WHERE CAN I GET THE KANE PUMA KICKS? I’LL SUPPORT.
(PARDON THE CAPS, Y’ALL. JUST CAOUGHT THAT)

Comment by DOC SAMSON 09.07.07 @

One of your best interviews yet. Got a lot out of him for what was supposed to be a marketing event for Pumas. Those Pumas look pretty lame.

Comment by Finally 09.07.07 @

Nice interview. What about that freestyle stretch had posted where Big Ill dissed him? http://konstantkontakt.blogspot.com

Comment by dead-wong 09.07.07 @

Good shit a always Robbie. I like how you always go in hard [ll]. You set everyone up with a slow pitch and then bam, the curveball inside corner. Kane wasn’t like Kris though, you had to pull this one along.

Comment by DP 09.08.07 @

Nice one for the interview and repping the ‘Looks Like a Job For…’ LP. That album was so slept on give or take that Chocolate City bit. Do you know if that ‘Sing My Song’ cut was ever on promo/test vinyl? I remember Westwood rocking that forever and rightfully so.

Comment by AO 09.08.07 @

Hey Dave Cannon,in reference to your,”did Kane and Kris have beef question,well it’s touchy,see as you already mentioned,88-89 was a great era for both of them,but long after,the infamous BDP vs.Juice Crew battle,Kris would always say on follow-up albums how he destroyed”the whole Juice crew”(never Shan or marley persay)but the whole crew.Now real fans know,Kool G.or Kane would have brought it to Kris back then,but honestly I only heard Kane diss Kris once in an old Word Up!or Source interview,he said,” I use to like KRS,until he started doing that reggae shit”.And back around 89-90,Kane got on that pimp shit,and KRS would spit verses saying,”when I meet you pimps,you leave with a limp”,he would find ways to attack the would be rappers in that pimp role,which could have easily been(nice n smooth)except…they were chilling with Kane back then.

Comment by Roger Jones 09.08.07 @

Great interview. You did your homework, and it shows.

Comment by Hashim Warren 09.08.07 @

Still waiting on a new BDK album. Preferably with a couple of Primo contributions…

Comment by Question Marc 09.09.07 @

in recent interviews in HHC Krs & Kane have both said that they’re good friends and Krs helped him move house or something!
Im sure Kane has alos said that as he was from BK he wasnt really involved in the Bridge Wars at all

Comment by step one 09.09.07 @

Kane is one of the best. Great interview

Comment by RebelM 09.09.07 @

I hear that Roger. I used to talk with MC Shan online on AOL 5 or 6 months ago and he used to say that all the other Juice Crew members were boys with Krs. Just as we’ve heard of the speculation of a Kane vs Rakim battle, how could a Krs vs Kane battle never exist especially with the whole Juice Crew diss. Krs did diss the Juice Crew. Specifically he went after Shan, Marley and Shante, but he would call out the name Juice Crew as well. I would love to chat with either of them about what the temperature was like back then. You had so many hot artists. G Rap, Kane, Rakim, Krs, LL, Moe Dee, I’m sure there were a lot of subliminal disses going around. If anyone knows anything about any of this, please email me at [email protected]. Thanks

Comment by Dave Cannon 09.09.07 @

Still one of the best Hip Hop performers around – caught BDK in London and was blown away. Vocals sounded bang on point! Great interaction with the crowd…..I really can’t tell you how good it really was. Great interview – Real Hip Hop for life!

Comment by Wrekonize 09.10.07 @

Great interview. Cheers.

Comment by size13 09.12.07 @

This will really help your valuation before the Rawkus buy-out????

Comment by mushi 09.13.07 @

For me, the best Rapper alive!

Comment by Julius 09.13.07 @

cheah, nice interview, it seems like every post comes with a kool g reference in the comments or somewhere in the interview itself, you know its inevitable, so i gotta ask one more time, when… when is the kool g interview? you know hes the nicest mc g.o.a.t. wtf robbie?
we’re waiting

Comment by gstatty 09.14.07 @

great interview, I will say this though, I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE WORDS WITH KANE REGARDING HIS BATTLES WITH JAZZ FRESH

Comment by Kevin 09.17.07 @

Kane also mentioned in his HHC interview that one of his most memorable battles was against (Blaq) Poet in Queens. Anyone know more about this?

Comment by step one 09.18.07 @

Yeah I remember that interview, I’m curious to know how and why that battle came about?

Comment by Kevin 09.18.07 @

This was good I just wish he would have answered some of the questions with answers.He sounded like a juice crew lawyer or something. Big Daddy Kane is also one of my favorites as well. I can remmeber one of his first cuts that offered some puzzling lines were ” I get paid in full instead of talking all that bull” off of Get into it, suggesting he was going at Rakim since Paid in full was out around that time. I liked his earlier freestyles.I was suprised when he battled Jazze Fresh from Crush Nation at the After Midnight in Philly because he was doing his record material and not battle lines. It just so happened Jazze was spitting but not hard enough. They battled again out in New York where it was pretty much the same where there was no clear advantage by Kane however he didn’t lose either.I’m always intrigued when cats can share their success and victories but can’t discuss their trouble and defeats.Let’s get honest in all his greatness Big Daddy Kane was one of the first hardcore artist to get cocky!!Some of the ladies stuff was okay!! The problem was when you drop an album like Long Live the Kane then and the albums that follow don’t even come close their is a problem. His first album is classic played from beginning to end no rewind whatsoever. the rest well!! It’s funny how G Rap gives a different account to this friendship thing.Marly’s account was different as well!! I guess they all were friends hgh!!Peace

Comment by olskool4real 09.22.07 @

olskool4real, just to let you know, in that New York battle at the Rooftop was actually their 1st battle and that Aftermidnight battle was actually their 2nd battle…..I’ll be happy to share you the details if you wish

Comment by Kevin 09.23.07 @

I know this is late, but i hope someone reads this and responds. I’m from Brooklyn and to this day, i regret losing an old mr. magic tape i made from 1989,where he played the ORIGINAL “Wrath of Kane”…the last line went “cuz i look at leaders and i just laugh/ cuz when i’m in effect, you feel the wrath/…of KANE!” i was 17 and i jumped when i heard it, cuz the “Follow the Leader” video was blowing up at the time. cats on the block were arguing about rakim v. kane the next day! for hours! Then on “For the listeners” off the Follow the leader album, Rakim rhymed “you keep talkin, when will all the damage be done?/ you say you’re rulin but when i’m in the place, you don’t come”…get it? “rulin” as in “long live the kane?…and Kane rhymin “i do damage” on some of his lines? yo, don’t sleep. that lyrical beef was real. i know cats who rolled with rakim in 89, and they used to tell me how real it was. but it got squashed, and unlike today’s sappy scene, rakim and kane respect the code and won’t speak on eachother in a negative light.

Comment by DOC SAMSON 01.01.08 @

Great interview, but I heard both the battles with Kane and Jazz. The first one was at the Quarters and Jazz was out there by his self and Biz and them tried to clown him and he still went at Kane hard. Kane and them made some Philly cheesesteak jokes and kept it moving. Then when Kane was at The ‘Midnight, Jazz was on some “You in Philly now shit” and came hard at Kane again… “Your group a bunch of fruit loops yall think yall cute Kane gettin on my plane without no parachute”… juice crew reference… (For you to come onstage in my cage and kick propaganda, you aint got no juice you don’t produce like tropicana)… Then Kane got on stage and started explainin’, Jazz said “You doin a lot of bitchin, we in Philly now let’s get it on… Then Kane did that desperate shit throwin change on the floor that somebody picked up (not Jazz) and said money was in records (wrong) and after Jazz left the stage he did some written shit and acted like it was a freestyle and it ended up on his next album (the boss with force to ill and kill and rip and flip abuse and bruise just like lightening and thunder my rhymes…) That’s the truth about Kane and Jazz. I listened to that shit about 30 times growing up.

Comment by Kash 01.16.08 @

Here’s part 1 right here… Also, pardon my error. It was the Rooftop and not the Midnight…

http://www.zrohourpodcast.com/m3u/BigDaddyKanevsJazzFresh.m3u

Comment by Kash 01.16.08 @

I’m really interested in this kane vs jazz fresh battle. I’ve heard the first one where I think Jazz got him. I mean it certainly seems biased or something because. Kane comes on and makes the comments about jazz and then spits two rhymes then Jazz comes up to respond and has the better rhyme to me. Then Kane comes on and says it’s a battle then and does his lyrics from “ain’t no 1/2 steppin” but then Jazz doesn’t get to respond…

does anyone have these two recordings:

1)jazz fresh’s performance at the rooftop? I want to hear what he said that sparked it off in the first place

2)the 2nd battle in philly

i’ve been trying to solve this mystery since it happened. I remember reading about it in the source.

Also, I have seen it listed as happening in ’87 but I read about this battle in the source which wasn’t out in ’87 so when did it actualy happen? I’m guessing ’89 cause if Kane throwing the $ on stage was in reference to “it’s all about money” the Crush Nation’s single on select that came out in ’89. IF that is true then it wouldn’t be before “ain’t no 1/2 steppin” came out so he would have been doing a rhyme from a released song???

Comment by kevin beacham 01.23.08 @

One thing to keep in mind, as that during that 87/89 era, rappers freestyles usually ended up in their albums 9 times out of 10. I heard raps kane kicked on mr. magic, in 88, that ended up on “it’s a big daddy thing.”

Comment by DOC SAMSON 01.29.08 @

yeah, i don’t have a issue with the “freestyle” ending up on a record. The question here is if it had already been released but I think I got confirmation on that from the source. That first battle took place on march 5th, 1988 so I’m guessing “1/2 steppin” wasn’t released yet..

Comment by kevin beacham 01.29.08 @

ummm freestyle doesnt mean make it up as u go….it means a freestyle like whatever style u want…jus a lil history from the bx 4 u guys

Comment by MERCILESZ 01.30.08 @

yeah, I know what freestyle means. Actually Fearless 4 lay claim to introduce the word in that form on thier ’83 release, “fearless freestyle”. In the early/mid 80s rhyming off the top was called just that or “gift of gab”. My point here is if it is a battle I feel it should be “off the top” or a “freestyle” verse not on your album. I guess everyone has their own rules on what is and not ok in a battle. I was a battle mc from ’81 to about ’91 and I always just had verses written just to battle and to showcase in ciphers that never were for songs.

Comment by kevin beacham 01.30.08 @

I agree with Kevin B! I used to mc. started writing raps in 86, and i can tell ya for real, freestyling during that time mean rapping with no topic. Just flowing. Cats came along later and changed the definition into the off the top thing. I mean think: Rakim used to label himself the “freestyle fanatik” and all his rhymes were written. Even KRS1, when he battled mele mel, the rhymes he used ended up on “I’m still #1″. I love cats like Supernatural who take the off the top of the head thing to the next level, but i prefer the written battle raps cats had because they’d take they’re rhymes to the next level. To me, Lord Finesse’ first album is a freestyle album. Rakim’s “Follow the leader” album is an album of the illest freestyle rhymes ever to be heard by human eardrums. Long live the Kane is a freestyle album written rhymes can unleash some ill lyrics and commit verbal assault.

Comment by DOC SAMSON 02.03.08 @

DOC SAMSON it’s funny and interesting that you mentioned that 1st album by Lord Finesse, because in that Percee P vs. Lord Finesse battle @ Patterson Projects, back in 1989, all of Lord Finesse’s verses from that battle, wound up being that 1st album.

However, it’s true though somewhere in the early-mid 90′s the term & legacy “freestyle” got changed & flipped to being “going off the head”, I think that catalyst of that change was in part from when MC’s would get dissed for not being able to go off the head in MC battles

Comment by Kevin 02.04.08 @

the funny thing is if you listen to the NMS battles cats would get dissed for “going off the head”…it was the other way around. A lot of the top cats, thought it was about spitting your best written verse and that’s what all those guys did; mele mel, caz, tla rock, etc… A lot of them thought the going off the head thing was corny and just jokes and not really the “art of lyricism”. I like both styles if you can do them well. I never rhymed off the top in a battle until the 90s. Really the tide started to turn when certain mcs made rhyming of the top a focus. I’d say the first to really make a point of it was KRS One with lines like “I can anytime on the spot rhymes…”. Then in the later days of the NMS battles people started to really get good at it like Supernatural. Then you have to credit The Stretch Armstrong for really encourging it (props to Kurious) and then finally the west coast with Freestyle Fellowship, Project Blowed and Heiro played a big part in stressing the importance of it. Of course it’s always been around but I’m talking about the viewing of “rhyming off the top” as an “art” and not just something you did when you were kicking it with your boys messing around…

Comment by kevin beacham 02.05.08 @

I agree, man. I heard the Finesse/Percee P battle, and like i said, it was on his album. Freestyle was re-defined somewhere. I like both. Supernat is hip hop. But man, I miss the days when mc’s would get real cerebral or just funky with it. Percee p’s album that dropped? THAT’S classic freestyle. So both definitions are cool with me. BTW, I copped the BDK pumas. Hottest kicks out, yo! I’m looking for the MC Shans now. hard to get. real exclusive.

Comment by DOC SAMSON 02.08.08 @

im gonna tell u this love his shit but fell of with that taste of chocolate kane was way before his time what he tried to do biggie did a couple years later and killed it i guess we were not ready for that shitbut u know sopmething nobody talks about thaT

Comment by sj 10.11.08 @

That whole era of music around Kane’s reign was super stimulating. This article is a music history lesson. Thanks for the great article Robbie!

Comment by Realizme 06.27.10 @

“sing my song” was only available on the promo tape of Looks Like A Job For” which also featured a slightly different mix of “The Beef Is On”…

Comment by Craig 09.19.10 @

Kane gave 4 top mc’s nas,krs,and kool G he forgot
one person. BIG DADDY KANE!!!! Because we are BROOKLYN’S finest……onelove!!!

Comment by mac love 02.13.11 @

YO!WHATS UP THIS THE REAL DEAL WE HAD A SHOW AT THE ROOFTOP SOON AS OUR SINGLE DROPPED “ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY” (B)SIDE WAS “BUT I WAS KOOL”! WE PERFORMED SOME UN RELEASE SHIT CALLED LANNA AND THE CROWD WAS FEELING US, IN THE SONG I WAS DOING THE BEATBOX AND JAZZ WAS SPITTIN. ITS WAS A ROUTINE WE PUT TOGETHER SO WE IN THE HEART OF HARLEM STRAIGHT OUT OF SOUTH-PHILLY FOUR DEEP IN THEIR BACKYARD IN 88′ THEY GOT MAD AT A LINE IN THE SONG WHEN JAZZ SAY’S: I’M NOT SLICK RICK AND HE IS NOT DOUG (FUCK LOTTIE DOTTIE), AND CHILL WILL WAS IN THE HOUSE . BUT THEY ARE SOME BITING ASS NIGGAS IM SAYING BECAUSE I HAD THE BOX HAIRCUT AND BACKSTAGE BEFORE WE PERFORM KANE AND I WAS BUSTIN ON EACH OTHER THE TALKED ABOUT MY BOX AND ABOUT OUR CHEESE STEAKS IN PHILLY BUT ABOUT TWO MONTH LATER THAT NIGGA HAD MY WHOLE LOOK! HIM AND SCOOP AND SCRAP ALL THEM NIGGAS WAS JOCKING MY SHIT TRUST AND BELIEVE! THAT’S REAL RAP! 2ND BATTLE WAS AT THE AFTER MIDNIGHT…..WE HAD A SHOW. KANE CAME THROUGH WITH CHARLIE MACK AND JAZZ WENT AT THAT ASS. KANE ACT LIKE HE DIDNT DISS US IN PHILLY. HE WAS STRAIGHT BITCHIN, SO THEN HE THROUGH SOME CASH AT JAZZ (A BITCH ASS STUNT) SAME SHIT HE DID IN NEW YORK. BUT ITS ALL LOVE….ALL THAT WAS THERE KNOW WHAT REALLY TOOK PLACE. KANE GOT FUCKED UP WITH THE FREESTYLE FLOW OF PHILLY. THAT RAW SHIT WAS FROM JAZZ FRESH. KEEP IT REAL.

Comment by SNOOZE-B 08.07.11 @

Big Daddy Kane – you’re recollection of you and Jazz Fresh battle is wrong because you started the beef. Yea Jazz yelled out some Juice Crew stuff but you and BIZ was on stage clowning bul and talking Philly ain’t got nuthin…Jazz got up and digged into your ass. You weren’t in the middle of your set … half of the rhymes you said was part of your set – don’t get me wrong you’re slept on and top ten all time…but rappers never change … cocky and arrogant as ever

Comment by Souloriginal 12.28.12 @



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