A fairly modest showing at the Opium Rooms could perhaps have been down to it being one of the coldest Tuesday nights of the year so far. However, that clearly didn’t faze Big Daddy Kane, even though he is one of the most highly regarded rappers that has been releasing music since the late 80’s. Modesty is always admirable and it is something Kane clearly feels is important.
There is a reason he is one of hip hop’s pioneers and proves just that throughout the entire set. Big Daddy Kane doesn’t have new material to debut and sticks firmly with the classics. Unlike many other artists, he is incredibly clear and concise on the microphone. Every word is heard by the crowd and it’s clear that he has no hype-man because it would detract from how good he actually is. For him that would be an unnecessary addition when you have the talent for rhyming that dates back to before many of the people in the crowd, including myself, were born.
A staple of many hip hop gigs is the shout out the artists that are no longer with us. The DJ mixes things up nicely by looping They Reminisce Over You by Pete Rock & CL Smooth and cutting in Gang Starr, J Dilla and Big L between. It’s a nice touch on what can usually feel like a stale routine and it injects some more life into the audience, whom Kane has no problem getting up close and personal with. He gives it his all for over an hour and you’d believe he’s playing to a packed room full of people. Small gigs like this one only solidify his status as one of the best to ever do it and that humility goes a long way.