Scion’s Easy 10 Filmmaker Series made its annual appearance in Los Angeles at the Landmark Theatre recently. And, the highlight of the screening, for us, was the West Coast debut of “BDK,” a documentary detailing the icon who is Big Daddy Kane.
The satisfying film was the brainchild of the director Anthony Marshall (co-founder of Lyricist Lounge), who came to Kane with the idea, and it was a wrap from there. “The person who did it, Anthony Marshall, he’s a good, long-time friend. When he told me the idea, the concept, I was very much interested,” Kane matter-of-factly retorts.
As 2008 concluded, Big Daddy Kane celebrated a milestone, the 20 year anniversary of Long Live The Kane, which gold-selling debut dating back to 1988. Entering the game during hip-hop’s “golden era,” Antonio “Big Daddy Kane” Hardy has witnessed the continual evolution of his genre and has become a living legend in the process. Transforming his work ethic into longevity has been an effortless feat, one that he says came by just being him.
“I think it’s been the type of thing where a lot of people respect me for being me,” the humble MC tells BallerStatus.com. “A lot of people respect me as a lyricist, a lot of people respect me as a performer. And for all of those reasons those are the main things that kept me afloat.”
Ignoring an asthmatic condition, Big Daddy Kane challenged himself and pioneered an innovative, uzi-like lyrical delivery. Spitting lethal lyrics, unequipped rappers were annihilated by his potent bars, their carnage littering his path. That innovation is an element that has gone m.i.a. today, as hip-hop becomes more commercialized and trapped in an age of gimmicks.
“Hip-Hop is a form of music [that] a lot of people can’t understand or predict. They can’t predict the outcome, so rather than [to] take that chance, they’ll go with what they know will work,” Kane contends. “They got a little gimmick that works for the kids, so they stick with it and that’s all they want to promote. That’s all they want to deal with because that’s controllable.”
As with the gimmicks that are stifling hip-hop’s creativity, the business-minded Big Daddy Kane has a solution for beefs that have previously escalated to physical violence. Asserting, “I would say, [if] it’s a hip-hop beef, rather than trying to go at this person on a physical level, it might be more productive and more lucrative to get at this person on a musical level. I mean, if it’s that personal, then put up some money. If you don’t want to lose money make it a pay-per-view event. That way we all win; even the losers leave with money.”
To counter-balance the negative, there will always be more positive when it comes to hip-hop. This raw MC recognizes there have been many good things to happen to hip-hop as well. “…The positive thing that happened was the release of the ‘Notorious’ movie. I really enjoyed seeing that. I checked for that and was happy to see the success of that,” a resilient smile displays his pleasure. Hopefully audiences will embrace “BDK,” as they did “Notorious.”
Everything from seeing Big Daddy Kane rhyming on a rooftop, to the introduction of the Retro Kidz, that late ’80s, early ’90s nostalgia will be rekindled while viewing “BDK. “Throughout this concise documentary, the audience is reminded why Big Daddy Kane is nobody’s equal. Persuading an entire culture to rock velour suits, to floss four-finger rings and to sport high-top fades, this trend-setter definitely impacted hip-hop.
Now he laughs about some of those edgy fashions, “The Retro Kidz, those kids [who] today walk around with the gold chains and the flat tops. Watching them made me realize how ridiculous I looked with that haircut back in the ’80s,” the legendary rap says with a sincere smile.
Although he may have stepped away from the mic, it will always wear his unique fingerprints. “BDK” is a testament of the geniuses that is Big Daddy Kane.