Hip-hop legend Big Daddy Kane on bridging the generation gap

October 1, 2017

Grammy Award-winning hip-hop legend Antonio Hardy, known by stage name Big Daddy Kane, is coming to the Charleston Music Hall Monday for “Arting with Hip-Hop,” a performance to benefit North Charleston nonprofit The Medi.

The iconic lyricist and artist began his career in 1986 with rap collective Juice Crew. “Ain’t No Half Steppin,” “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy,” and “Warm it Up Kane” are among his noted early works.

He has since released seven albums and collaborated with a variety of talents, from Jay-Z to Barry White. During his lengthy career, Hardy has seen the evolution of hip-hop from its original golden days to current artists on whom Big Daddy Kane has been an influence.

“Back in the ’80s, hip-hop was something that was real new,” says Hardy. “Culture flow, street battles and competitions in nightclubs were a major part. Now, hip-hop is a major genre on the radio like rock and pop.”

Among his current favorite hip-hop artists are Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Logic, who are all known for their attention to lyricism.

“Even with new artists, I always search for talent that has something unique,” says Hardy. “A lot of artists are on the radio and there are even more all over social media, but I always search for new, unique talent. And there’s a whole lot now who just don’t get the recognition because it’s more underground ... You’ve got to keep in mind, too, back in the day, we had a total of around 100 rap artists. Now there’s as many rap artists as there are fans.”

With the rise in numbers of new hip-hop artists, Hardy has noticed a wedge growing between his generation and the younger one.

“I think that the gap ... needs to close,” he says. “They should be closer to one another, and the younger generation should be able to learn from the generation before them while the older generation should be willing to be open to the younger generation, to keep the music alive.”

Much like there is a disconnect between hip-hop generations, there is a disconnect between generations of the community at large, according to The Medi executive director Garcia Williams.

“We, too, want to bridge the gap between old school and new school, the bridge between a generation who may not be aware of some of the needs that exist for others in health care. Music is one way to help raise awareness and energize young people to make their own message that can carry past the music.”

According to its website, The Medi Community Resource Center is a virtual support center dedicated to helping social service organizations develop a culture of collaboration through education and use of technology. Its goal is to connect the community to social services.

The “Arting with Hip-Hop” show will be 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Music Hall starring Big Daddy Kane along with host Courtnay “The Poet,” DJ KUB, Merlot Moments with Langston Hughes III and Four20s featuring J-Vive and Jermaine Holmes. This is the second show in a series of Medi Mondays sponsored by the resource center.

VIP tickets for the event include a special reception starting at 6 p.m. Doors for everyone else open at 7 p.m. Special student ticket pricing also is available in advance by visiting the website at www.themedi.org.