Big Daddy Kane’s Tiny Desk Concert Is Chock Full Of Pioneering Rap Classics

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NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series has been doing a magnificent job of both giving shine to up-and-coming new jacks and paying homage to musical pioneers and icons. The latest entry finds Tiny Desk doing the latter with a performance from rap legend Big Daddy Kane that turns out to be as informative as it in entertaining.

While many old-school rap veterans have made it a point to berate and demean their younger counterparts and successors, Kane instead encourages fans to seek out the best of what they like, saying, “Whatever form of hip-hop you like, love it. Keep it going, keep it strong and make sure it’s positive,” he said. “If you love hip-hop, just stay focused and keep on supporting it.” His ideal outcome for rap fans includes “focusing on what’s positive and try[ing] to keep that in the spotlight.”

He runs through a host of his classic party-rocking singles, including “Raw,” “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’,” and “Smooth Operator,” concluding with a virtuoso display of his improvisational mastery with a stunning freestyle. At 49 years old, he continues to show and prove that hip-hop isn’t just a young man’s sport, hanging with the best and proving why rappers’ rappers from Nas to Black Thought count him among the pantheon of the Greatest Of All Time.

Thanks, NPR, for showing a legend some love while he’s still around to enjoy it. Now, can we pretty please get a Rakim Tiny Desk, too?