It was a nostalgic old-school party when hip hop legend Big Daddy Kane graced the stage of the Howard Theater on Friday, June 16th, 2017. Kane has always been in my top five lyricists. BDK showcased charisma on the stage. Not to mention a connection with his audience that other rappers I’ve seen live don’t even come close to matching.
Backed by his live band “Las Supper,” Kane rocked the stage, showcasing hits from his catalog through a ninety-minute set. Given that I’m getting up in my age, I’m not big on the standing room only shows, and that’s what the Kane show was. However, as I walked into the Howard Theatre with one of my best friends and uncle, the venue wasn’t overly crowded. Which made the experience of seeing Kane all the more enjoyable.
There was no opening act; instead, the crowd was treated to Kane’s DJ, who got the party started with an old school hip hop
set. The diverse audience of thirty plus & up were all dancing as the DJ played hits from Boogie Down Productions, Kid “N” Play, and others from the Golden Age of Hip Hop. Kane took the stage at 8:20 and was greeted by thunderous applause.
Before Kane started his set, he mentioned he had visited the “National Museum of African American History and Culture.” When you go, make time to visit the fifth floor where there is an exhibit dedicated to him. Kane opened up his set with “Set It Off” from his debut album Long Live the Kane; from there, it was hit after hit, from Kane’s catalog. One particular highlight was hearing the still classic “Smooth Operator.”
During the performance of “Smooth Operator when Kane rapped, “So just play Marvin Gaye and Let’s Get It On,” the band transitioned into Gaye’s classic slow jam “Let’s Get On.” The transition and mixing of the two songs came across effortlessly. It was very apparent by the women’s response in attendance why Kane was seen as one of hip hop’s first sex symbols. The great thing about the golden age of Hip Hop (when Kane was in his prime) was the music had substance and, for the most part, was clean and profanity-free. There wasn’t any profanity in Kane’s show. I can honestly say Kane gave a better performance than the last two hip hop shows I attended.
I attend numerous concerts yearly. The majority of the hip hop shows I partake in always have the talent either backed by a DJ or a track. This wasn’t the case Big Daddy Kane. I haven’t seen any other rapper’s direct their band while they are performing. That in itself showed that Kane still respects the craft of LIVE performance, and if it has an audience of 500 or 5,000, he’s going to give you his all.
Kane might be 49 years young, but his performance at the Howard Theater showed that he can still get the job done when it comes to his live performances.
Final Grade A