I Told The World My Story; Then Hip-Hop Showed Me the World
By Big Daddy Kane
Mic Drop is a recurring series featuring the thoughts and opinions of some of the biggest voices in classic Hip-Hop. Raw, uncut — and in their own words — these are the gems you've always wanted.
Coming into the music industry as a Hip-Hop artist, I had the chance to tell the world my story.
"This is what I've seen in my hood. This is what I've seen in my childhood. This is what I've seen in my journey to get here." And after that, the world was able to tell me their story. "Hey brother, I'm such-and-such years old and I'm a fan of your music."
I had the opportunity to see white guys reciting my lyrics. I'm hearing women telling me they're attracted to me. Learning their story, now I'm able to go back into the studio with a broader mindset: I need to do something for the ladies; I need to do something that's a little more multicultural so that everybody can appreciate this. I need to do something for the older generation that hated on Hip-Hop but now likes it because of me.
We have massive fans and we want to please them all. I have male fans and I have female fans. I have Black, white, Latino, Asian fans. I have United States fans, European fans, Brazilian fans, African fans. I have a large fanbase, and you want to do something creative that caters to all of them. That's my view.
After It's A Big Daddy Thing, me and Cold Chillin' founder Tyrone "Fly Ty" Williams, we had some disagreements as far as music and creativity. But, we managed to fix that. Me and Ty was on the same page, finally. But then, Benny Medina, from Warner Brothers—he had different views. And Warner Brothers was in control. Cold Chillin' wasn't in control, Warner Brothers was in control. That's where the final decision came from. Me and Benny just didn't see eye-to-eye, creatively. I wanted commercial success, but I wanted it on my terms. I didn't want to try and be like Hammer. I didn't want to try and be like LL. I felt like I was being molded into someone that already existed.
I was rushing product so I could hurry up and finish this Warner Brothers agreement.
If you're not in sync with your label, then it's going to be a bad situation, plain and simple. Regardless of how much great music you make, if the label is not supporting or if they feel like "This is not the single" and they prefer something else, it's going to be a bad marriage and very unsuccessful. There could even be a situation where they put a whole bunch of money and promotion behind a single; but it's not the song that you want to do. So your enthusiasm is not there. You can't be productive because that's not where you want to go.
With Looks Like A Job For, that was me listening to the streets. The streets are like "Kane fell off. He's on some R&B stuff."
So I'm listening and I was like, let me get back on my one-two. And I gathered all the best producers of that time period: Large Professor, Trackmasters, Easy Mo Bee. They gave me great music and we did the album—and it didn't take off. And I sat there for about a year maybe, blaming them. I was saying they gave me their B-list beats.
But then, I'm listening to a Method Man song and a Nas song and how they're flowing behind the beat. That's when I realized the producers wasn't the problem—I was the problem. I tried to correct that, hanging around in the hood, around the young cats, in the cypher, spitting rhymes with them. Just catching that vibe.
I'm laughing like "Oh OK, all these dudes is high as hell, that's why they're flowing so goddam slow!" I don't smoke, but I can dig the flow! I think I was in my pocket with Veteranz Day but we just didn't have the finances to get the album out there to the masses.
I love what I hear from J. Cole. I love what I hear from Rapsody. Logic. Jay Electronica. There are several artists that I think are amazing and super lyrical. And there are songs; I love the Migos style and their swag. I love the way they dress and I love the energy that they have as a group.
Honestly, there's a lot of Georgia emcees that I love. OutKast, their music is amazing. Three Stacks is one of the greatest lyricists. And on the real, I think that Cee-Lo Green is a lyrical problem. Just on that "Decisions, Decisions" he did with Goodie Mob back on Soul Assassins and the "Lookin' At Us" joint with Black Rob. Cee-Lo is a problem. Back in the day, when Silk Tymes Leather was out, those girls were amazing. And Jermaine Dupri was giving them great music.
You have to be able to connect. Across regions and genres and generations.
Here's the million dollar question: what was it that I did to make Patti LaBelle want to work with Big Daddy Kane? To make Barry White want to work with Big Daddy Kane? To make Quincy Jones want to work with Big Daddy Kane? To make Madonna want to work with Big Daddy Kane?