Big Daddy Kane Reminisces On Mentoring Jay-Z

During TVOne's "Unsung," Big Daddy Kane recalls helping out a young Jay-Z during his 1990 "Chocolate City" tour.

Big Daddy Kane may not be a household name to those who don’t bother familiarizing themselves with Hip Hop’s past, but a direct line can be drawn between Kane and emcees from a later era such as Jay-Z, 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. The connection began in 1990, when Kane featured Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Digital Underground, 3rd Bass and Jay-Z on his “Chocolate City” nationwide tour. For some, the tour provided both valuable exposure and a chance to get some tutelage.

“I would do half the show, and then I’d let Jay-Z rhyme while I went in the back and changed outfits,” Kane explained during TVOne’s “Unsung” profile. “Then I’d go back and finish the show.”

That would most likely be an understatement, as Kane’s younger brother, Little Daddy Shane added that Kane also helped Jay with his flow and securing studio time.

“I think he was considering starting his own label and might’ve had me in mind for a slot,” Jay-Z wrote in his memoir/lyric book Decoded. “I’m not sure, and nothing like that ever materialized. But I got an invaluable education watching him perform…even today I use some of the ideas I picked up back then about pacing and performance in my own live show.”

During the “Chocolate City” era, 2Pac was a roadie for Digital Underground, while Naughty By Nature held down the same duties for Queen Latifah’s camp. Mister Cee, who was Kane’s DJ at the time would ultimately end up mentoring fellow Brooklyn emcee Notorious B.I.G. during his early years as well as getting a few production credits on songs on which Biggie appeared.

RELATED: Big Daddy Kane To Be Featured On TV One’s “Unsung”

41 Comments

  • Nico 3

    Anonymous- It's a blog, not real life, yet sadly you post under different names all the time, so one could easily assume that you my friend are the one taking all this way too seriously. As far as Kane, what genre did he invent exactly? This will be fun for you. If Kane was really Jay's mentor, after Jay put himself on, why didn't he help put Kane on, properly? Dash was behind all those early Jay albums, starting with Reasonable Doubt. To me, that's a mentor, at least from a business standpoint. Now go cry if you have too, cause I know all of your dueling personalities are going to be responding in about an hour.

  • mgruppe.com

    BY ALL THE LOVE AND RESPECT I HAVE FOR KING ASIATIC - HE LOST IT ALL WHEN HE DID THAT "CHOCOLATE-LOVER-BLAH-BARRY-WHITE-BLAH-SHIT". "LONG LIVE THE KANE" & "ITS A BIG DADDY THING" ARE UNFUCKABLE CLASSIC-ALBUMS BUT HE NEVER HAD THE MINDSET TO TAKE OVER THE RAPSCENE LIKE SOME FOOLS WITH LESS TALENT DID! A GOOD ALBUM WITH A CLEAR CONCEPT WOULD BE SOME COOL SHIT FOR A FAN TO BUY IN 2011 BUT YOUNG KIDS WANNA HEAR SHIT ABOUT SMOKING WEED, FUCKING BITCHES AND GETTIN MONEY! TRUE LYRICISM IS IRRELEVANT IN HIP-HOP CAUSE MONEY IS MADE WITH FASTFOODSHIT. THE UNDERGROUND CUISINE LIVES IN THE MIXTAPE-SCENE WHICH BRINGS NO CASH FOR EMCEES.

  • Nico 3

    But DU's style wasn't anything like what Pac ever did. It would have been one thing if Pac came out and was just "hamming it up" like they used too, but he was all angry and violent. As for the definition of a mentor... has it dawned on people that today's superstars have to pay homage to the old guys? Not saying Kane couldn't have inspired Jay, especially at the time and with Jay being young and hungry. But Kane's career never really went anywhere, so to pretend he was able to show Jay the ropes that much back then? Total foolishness. If anything, in those early years, Damon Dash was the guy. His mistake was just not anticipating the day Jay wouldn't need him anymore.

    • Anonymous

      Been waitin for Kane to make a comeback for years. When you already built a legacy and have the talent it's only a matter of time. The old rumor about ten years ago was a colabo with KRS with premier on the boards, but never came to be Wish I could of heard those infamous telephone calls between G Rap and Kane back in the day, going in after each other for hours. Kane is no doubt one of the best rappers literally in the history of rap. One of those you could say brought more too the game, than your average legend or platinum rapper of today. Take away all the politics and over commercailsm in the game, KANE comes in no less than top 5

    • Anonymous

      Dame dash? huh? You comment like your taking this post personal? Cant change history just cause your 20+ yrs late! like what is your point anyway? This is fuckin KANE man! He inspired jay z 100000%! FACT, PERIOD! pac, biggie, cube eminem Nas etc etc etc etc! Its KANE! You wouldnt had the 90s or the golden era without cats like Kane & rakim in the 80s! sorry you dont like it! same with cats like LL cool J! These were the 1st MCs doing it like them, not the 50th... we got to feel AMAZEMENT from hip hop thats why we still hang on to it so much, yall dont have that, and you hate our love & respect for the art...you dont get it...YOU hear shit from 1987 in 2011 all nonchalant like your not impressed but you wouldnt be so cocky in the 80s! everybody wasnt trying to get on or make beats or knew breaks or sampling or drum kits or punchlines! not like there was the internet to hide behind or an over saturated market like today! Half you cats dont even belong conversating about hip hop or black culture no way. TOTALLY different mentality back then. TOTALLY! Hands down top 3 GOAT weather you get it or not!! you or no opinionated internet guy is changing nothing! MY GOAT ALWAYS starts with Rakim allah...Big Daddy Kane...EVERYTIME... furthermore you knock the OGs for who...drake an the other 5 rappers your stuck on? nigga pleeeease *odb voice* #THISERASUX

  • Anonymous

    your gimmick is primitive an effort that you wont win with its so limited before i make your body start to hemorrhage

  • buckeyewu

    Kane is in my top 10 of all time. Jay is in my top 20. Both are legends.

  • GLOCKWORK

    Heard motherfuckers sayin' they made Hov/ made Hov say, OK so, make another Hov

  • jdanielsdesigns.com

    Shots to King Asiatic Nobody's Equal the legend. In the past it was all about putting the borough on KANE influenced BIG with his laid back, lyrical player style, and BIG influenced JAY. Just Jay was lucky enough to get mentored by two legends at the same time, Its just really messed Jay can't do the same now for the Stuy. P.S. Bleek doesn't count "Now some of these new rappers got their caps flipped backwards/ Wit their fingers intertwined in some gang-sign madness/ I got an exam, let's see if y'all pass it/ Let's see who can quote a Daddy Kane line the fastest" NAS-Carry on Tradition

  • Anonymous

    BKD lookin like ODB nowadays

  • Anonymous

    One of the best to do it. I wish we heard more from BDK these days.

  • @las

    ...i heard, mf's saying they made Hov, ok, if that's right than, make another Hov... everybody who listens to hip hop has influences,...Jay Z is self made...just as Kanye is self made. Can't argue with consistency, only popularity. Jay is alot older than people usually associate, so his influences are really old school. Older than BDK.

  • Tha_Real

    Some dudes need to take some notes from Kane instead of being a scrub. Oh, damn I forgot Kane actually has a serious catalog and influence in hip-hop history, not some dumb ass Hawaiin Sophie shit to look back on. Kane don't have to look for somebody to blame for any failures.

  • Hawaiin Sophie

    Jaz need to take some notes from Kane instead of being a scrub. Oh, damn I forgot Kane actually has a serious catalog and influence in hip-hop history, not some dumb ass Hawaiin Sophie shit to look back on. Kane don't have to look for somebody to blame for any failures.

  • Hawaiin Sophie

    Jaz-O need to take some notes from Kane instead of being a scrub. Oh, damn I forgot...Kane actually has a serious catalog and influence in hip-hop history, not some dumb ass Hawaiin Sophie shit to look back on. Kane don't have to look for somebody to blame for any failures.

  • carl.m

    I'm still bumping, "Platinum Plus" Big L f. Big Daddy Kane "2000" it's still a monster to this very day!

    • dmize-one

      that was a dope ass track.. man, big l could spit his ass off.. its a shame his life got cut short right when he was about to low... rip

  • jack

    Kane is still that nigga when it comes to the flow Jay and Biggie are absolutely his stans....No pun really intended!

  • Darren

    Hell to the f### yea!!! I just got a brand New CAMARO CONVERTIBLE. THESE MFS AT 877-647-1477 COMPLETELY KILLED ALL THE ISSH ON MY CREDIT REPORTS. ALL OF THAT SHEEET IS GONE, AND I'M A NEW CLEAN MAN. MY BOY WAS REALLY BAD TOO WITH HIS CREDIT HISTORY, BUT THEY GOT HIM CLEAN TOO IN 3 MONTHS. CALL THEM UP AND GET ALL YOUR ISH CLEANED TOO FOR 45 BUCKS. THEY ARE DOPE!!!!

  • Open

    Mr Cee mentored Biggie??? Hmmmm.....

  • Darren

    Hell to the f### yea!!! I just got a brand New CAMARO CONVERTIBLE. THESE MFS AT 877-647-1477 COMPLETELY KILLED ALL THE ISSH ON MY CREDIT REPORTS. ALL OF THAT SHEEET IS GONE, AND I'M A NEW CLEAN MAN. MY BOY WAS REALLY BAD TOO WITH HIS CREDIT HISTORY, BUT THEY GOT HIM CLEAN TOO IN 3 MONTHS. CALL THEM UP AND GET ALL YOUR ISH CLEANED TOO FOR 45 BUCKS. THEY ARE AMAZING.

  • comachonvargas

    Jay: 'he had me in mind for a slot, but it never materialized' Kane: 'I thought about bringing Jay on, but no one wants to hear him rhyming like the FU-SCHNIKENS' Jay: 'THANK GOD for Illmatic and It Was Written... looks like I got a new style that people are feeling... oh and my Annie remake really helped'

  • Nico 3

    Alot of rappers like to give props to the "old guys", which is cool, but mentoring might be the wrong word. Did 2pac credit Digital Underground for making him into the rapper he was? Of course not. Someone can help expose you, but it's your talent and drive that ultimately determine where you go, and how far.

    • LOL @ these comments

      And I'm not even laughing, it's GREAT to see some comments with intelligence on here

    • RichFromNY

      actually, yes...Pac did give DU mentoring credit and gave them thanks for giving him his shot and a the opportunity to learn the business as he developed his art...that's the difference between hip-hop artist then and rappers now...rappers these days ain't trying to bring a youngin' along...everything is for self....once they get a piece of that shine it's all about fuck the world...you can trend out the quality of hip-hop and watch the line drop as rappers became more greedy....

    • dre

      Kane's mentoring is what allowed Jay-z to have exposure on what the game was all about and in-turn gave jay his foot in the door with some valuable experience to work off of. but it also isnt fair to say that jay is who he is today because of Big Daddy Kane. there has to be a line drawn sometime during jays careers where he came into his own and navigated himself to what he is today, an undeniable all-time great. He himself grinded to be this icon and no one else. but i do think that the video did a good job of not mixing the two times, they only speak on how Kanes influences helped jay-z in the beginning of his career

    • LOL @ these comments

      and you "new guys" never want to give credit when it's due. "Jay-Z wrote in his memoir/lyric book Decoded. “But I got an invaluable education watching him perform…even today I use some of the ideas I picked up back then about pacing and performance in my own live show.” men·tor a : a trusted counselor or guide b : tutor, coach now sit there and try to explain how mentor isn't a right word for what Kane did for Jay

    • GLOCKWORK

      Truth right there.

  • Real2Real

    Long Live The Kane!

  • Nathan Harvey Malcolm

    crazy cool

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