Big Daddy Kane Rips A Freestyle At His Tiny Desk Concert (Video)

This June will mark 30 years since the release of Big Daddy Kane’s solo debut album, Long Live the Kane. It’s an apt title for an MC whose entire solo career is based on a discography that paused with 1998’s Veteranz Day but who has never faded from prominence. Despite his not releasing new material of his own, he continues to thrive with Hip-Hop relevance, spending the previous decade doing guest spots with artists like The Game, Masta Ace and Joell Ortiz. As a performer, he remains one of the busiest of his generation, frequently touring as well as appearing on stage at festivals and other events featuring Rap royalty. Along with legends like Rakim, B.D.K. has proven that, with prodigious skill and energy, there’s no such thing as “falling off.”

Now, BDK has joined the ranks of contemporary Rap royalty like The Roots, Rapsody and Chance The Rapper as the subject of an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. He brings with him the old-school energy fans flock to see at his shows, managing to operate the small space around him into a smooth party reminiscent of 1980s New York City stoops. Joined by musicians Matt Lambert, Benjamin Geis, Judson Nelson and John Williams, the MC born Antonio Hardy kicks off the set with It’s a Big Daddy Thing‘s “Smooth Operator.” He shows off some of his finely honed gifts as a master of ceremony by engaging the crowd, asking if there are any smooth operators in the audience. The handful of folks in the building oblige and kick off a call-and-response that transforms the intimate room into a straight party. Of course, he gives the musicians ample time to show off their solos.

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Elsewhere in the nearly 20 minute performance, King Asiatic hits ’em off with “Raw” from his aforementioned debut, followed by “Ain’t No Half Steppin’.'” The four-song set is closed with a surprise freestyle in which he rips “Y’all defenseless against this” and shows off his signature razor-sharp delivery.

As NPR states, “it’s important to us here at Tiny Desk to continue to make room for the legends who laid the foundation before the whole world became hip.”

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#BonusBeat: Kane performs a rendition of “The Symphony” joined by verses from Kool G Rap, Craig G, Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch, Royce 5’9, Freeway, Smif-n-Wessun, and J Period at the 2016 New York City Roots Picnic:

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