Brooklyn-bred hip-hop duo Smif-N-Wessun – consisting of partners in rhyme, Steele and Tek – illuminated the Tiny Desk with their signature, 80-proof poetry: straight, no chaser. Their music, inspired by their gritty and pre-gentrified Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville neighborhoods, offers the vocabulary of veterans who survived the grimy streets. These original members of the Duck Down Records group Boot Camp Click represent quintessential ’90s true-school hip-hop from the bedrock, when Timberland boots were standard issue. Backing Steele and Tek for the first time is D.C.’s own Black Alley band. Continue reading →
Feb. 19, 2018 | Abby O’Neill — One of the greatest to ever bless the mic, Big Daddy Kane treated Tiny Desk to an office block party in the true essence of hip-hop. He performed a short set of classics, including “Smooth Operator,” “Ain’t No Half Steppin’,” “Raw” and a bonus freestyle. Through his warm, engaging and devilishly self-effacing style, the pioneer used an interlude between songs to address the intergenerational divisiveness defining rap today and the importance of fans of all ages supporting whatever they like, while “focusing on what’s positive and keeping that in the spotlight.” Continue reading →
Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap go back together more than 30 years. Since the mid-1980s, these two New York City lyricists were some of the most legendary components in Marley Marl’s Juice Crew. In 1986, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo let the world hear something special with “It’s A Demo.” One year later, on the same Cold Chillin’ Records imprint, Kane followed with “Get Into It” and “Raw.” Continue reading →
Black Thought recruits Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Craig G, Royce 5 9, Pharoahe Monch, Freeway and Smiff N Wessun to perform DJ Marley Marl’s The Symphony, during his live mixtape with J. Period at the 2016 Roots Picnic in New York City.