Big Daddy Kane’s Bed Stuy Is Gone, Gentrification Is “Erasing History”


Guru once rhymed about the importance of how a rapper’s voice sounds. If ever there were a rapper whose voice was tailor made for hooking listeners before they even heard the entire couplet, it would be Big Daddy Kane’s. Kane’s baritone was smooth enough to talk your girl out from under you but still raw enough to sock you in the gut with the cold wordplay.

He’s performing at Herbert Von King Park in his old Bed Stuy hood for Summer Stage at 7 p.m. today. We talked to the legendary rapper about how the neighborhood has changed since he grew up.

Good to see you back in Brooklyn. I like that you’re always performing in BK.
Yeah? Thank you.

What part of Brooklyn are you from?
I’m from Bed Stuy. Bedford Stuyvesant. Lewis Avenue between Lafayette and Van Buren.

What was it like for you growing up there?
It was what it was. But for the most part I had fun. It was fun. There was always something going on especially in the summer. We’d be at Marcy Pool. There were a lot of block parties, Mike Music block parties…

Where’d you go to high school? Were you already famous in high school?
Sarah J. Hale. I was messing with Biz in high school for sure. The year I was graduating was the year he dropped Make The Music… After high school I was planning on going to Adelphi College. I wasn’t completely sure about the [music] yet. Then they signed me so I ended up pursuing music.

Were you still Big Daddy Kane back then?
I was MC Kane at the time.

How’d you get the name “Kane” then?
[Laughs] Kane really just came from, when I was young, some of the kids used to tease me a bit because they couldn’t mess with me. Because they couldn’t [get to me] they called me “Kane” from Kung Fu.

You also must’ve whooped some ass to get that nickname. In Bed Stuy no less. How do you feel about the way The Stuy’s changing?
Changing? It’s not changing. It’s already completely changed. I’m not a big fan of a lot of that. I feel like they’re erasing history. If you renovate apartments and if you have nicer stores that’s cool. But when you get rid of historic places or things that mean a lot to the people from there I think that’s wrong. I can’t take my kids back and show them certain things because they’re gone.

True. Since we’re on the topic of old Brooklyn I always wanted to ask you who Dog, Pig and Hawk other guys you shouted out were? I heard they were some Brooklyn gangsters or something.
Those are some East New York cats. They were brothers I used to see in a lot of different places I would be up in and because of that I had a lot of respect for them. When I got on I tried to bring on them on the road and show them some love. They were just some good dudes from the streets that I knew.

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