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Big Daddy Kane, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Caz, Rakim, Roxanne Shante

Big Daddy Kane on stage at the celebration of 40 Years of Hip-Hop at Central Park Summerstage Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411 Networks Big Daddy Kane on stage at the celebration of 40 Years of Hip-Hop at Central Park Summerstage

WATCH VIDEO: Rap pioneers come together for a celebration of 40 years of Hip-Hop culture at Central Park Summerstage

On a blazing hot day in August, What's The 411TV's correspondent Cristina Twitty could care less about the heat, as she basked in the glory with other hip-hop heads celebrating 40 Years of Hip-Hop Culture at Central Park Summerstage.

Cristina came to 40 Years of Hip-Hop Culture at Central Park Summerstage to speak specifically with Big Daddy Kane, but as it turned out, there were more than enough people willing to talk about hip-hop and its pioneering artists.

"I kinda got wind of this this week," admitted Jay Crush of Zulu Nation and hip-hop aficionado. "I actually came here to promote this (pointing to a CD), which is going to be a big banger. From what I know Rakim and Big Daddy Kane are going to be here, so basically that's who I came to see."

"Today is really momentous," said Erika Elliott, Events Director, Central Park Summerstage. "Hip-hop culture has been super important in my career and life personally and to be able to work with someone like Herc to bring his vision into Central Park and SummerStage is kind of like a big moment in my life."

The love in the audience couldn't compare to the love onstage. A visibly emotional Kool Herc, the Father of Hip-Hop, praised Rakim because he always remembers to pay homage to Herc and the legendary DJ, Red Alert.

"...Big ups to Kool Herc for starting this...and you saw Red Alert and said big ups to Red Alert," Herc said to Rakim, as the crowd applauded. "Nobody did that in this business...I love you man, you don't forget where you come from."

Rakim responded with a big man hug.

Grandmaster Caz, a pioneering hip-hop MC and DJ, proudly took credit for spawning Rakim and Big Daddy Kane and by extension all the Jay Zs (rappers who came later and benefited by the pioneers).

When asked by Cristina who he came to see perform and touch the stage, Caz responded, "Of course the god Rakim and my son, Big Daddy Kane. Alright, those are my direct influences, (my influences) go to straight to them, you know what I mean. They are the people who eventually led to the Jay Zs and when you follow the rap lineages, it all traces back to me."

Fan Jason Jacobs echoed Grandmaster Caz's sentiment, as he told Cristina who he was there to see.

"Big Daddy Kane all the way, Little Rakim, as well," Jason said.

Jason further explained why he loves these artists, "It takes me back to my childhood, man; pure hip-hop, great lyricism, and just awesome beats and a good time."

And, a display of that pure old school hip-hop with great lyricism, awesome beats and a good time came right on time when two hip-hop pioneering MCs took the stage, Big Daddy Kane and Rodney C.

Next, Cristina met up with the man of the hour, Big Daddy Kane.

"I am here with a pioneer in hip-hop, legendary MC, Grammy award-winning Big Daddy Kane, how are you?," Cristina says as she introduces Big Daddy Kane.

"Oh, no, keep on selling it, baby, I like that, keep on selling it," Kane responded with a laugh.

They talked about Big Daddy Kane's longevity in hip-hop; his sold out "Ladies Only" concerts at the Apollo Theatre; and his musical influences from James Brown; Marvin Gaye; Barry White; Teddy Pendergrass; and Al Green.

When Cristina asked Kane if he still has a close relationship with Biz Markie and Roxanne Shante from the Juice Crew, Kane perked up.

"Yea, I just saw Shante and her crazy self, walking around in a Louis Vuitton shirt and a big Afro wig; man, that's my girl for life," Kane said with a chuckle. "She was very supportive and helpful in the beginning stages of my career. Plus, you know, Biz Markie was the one who brought me into the industry. Shout out to everybody else in the Juice Crew: M.C. Shan; Kool G. Rap; Master Ace; Craig G; everybody."

Speaking of Roxanne Shante, the audience loved her; as they participated in call and response with her rhymes.

Lastly, Cristina ran into AJ Calloway, former host of BET's 106th and Park. You know Cristina had to find out who AJ came to see.

"Everybody that has been on that stage so far is a hip-hop legend and I came to see everybody, from Soul Sonic Force to Kool Herc to Big Daddy..., everybody," said AJ trying to be politically correct.

AJ also refused to pick a favorite album or a favorite artist.

"So what does it mean to be here at the 40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Culture," asked Cristina.

"I owe everything to hip-hop, so I had to come here to tip my hat, stand to the side and watch my heroes on stage," AJ added.

"I actually enjoy that hip-hop more than the ... hip-hop now and I'd love to see hip-hop go back to its roots," he continued.

What do you think is missing from hip-hop now?

"Substance," replied AJ.

 

Editor's note: Dr. Dre of hip-hop duo, Ed Lover and Dr. Dre fame, makes an appearance in the opening video montage

Videography by Alexis Williams