IT'S an image that’s burned in my brain.
Madonna, naked and entangled in an interracial love sandwich with Naomi Campbell and the man that sat before me at the opening of urban-wear store, The Black Sheep.
The man in question was Grammy award winning 80s rap legend and ‘smooth operator’, Big Daddy Kane.
Big Daddy Kane entered the The Black Sheep store in the way I expect a legendary rapper should; he waded through crowd, grabbed the mic, ordered the DJ to keep the song on loop, wowed with an impromptu off-the-top freestyle, to then casually partake in a live Q&A on a white chaise-longue. Slick, in a word.
Huddled in a crowd of Red Stripe sipping hip-hop lovers in the smart new shop in the Northern Quarter, ceasing a one-time chance, I sheepishly asked Big Daddy Kane why he dared to go nude twenty one years ago.
“There’s no real story behind it. Me, Madonna and Color Me Bad were on a promotional tour visiting children in hospitals – that’s how we met – and afterwards she said I’m doing this book would you like to be in it for a few photos? I was like yeah. Then she said it was mainly going to be nude photos and I said yeah even better.”
Posing with his signature high-top fade, the risqué images formed part of Madonna’s 1992 coffee-table Sex Book (it also featured Ice, Ice Baby rapper, Vanilla Ice copping a feel), he even posed nude in a landmark edition of ‘PlayGirl’ back in 1991, yet the images are merely pleasurable collectables from Big Daddy Kane’s successful career. Big Daddy Kane is far more rap royalty than a 80s pretty-boy MC.
Hailed as one of the forefathers of Hip-Hop, Big Daddy Kane, who has worked with Barry White and Patti La Belle, is also known as giving a major helping hand to Jay-Z’s early career back in the early 90s.
Now 44, Big Daddy Kane is touring again and stopped by Manchester to meet and perform for fans of the 'golden era of hip-hop'.
Brought to Manchester by hip-hop promoters, Will Not Be Televised, Big Daddy Kane entered the The Black Sheep store in the way I expect every legendary rapper should; he waded through crowd, grabbed the mic, ordered the DJ to keep the song on loop, wowed with an impromptu off-the-top freestyle, to then casually partake in a live Q&A on a white chaise-longue. Slick, in a word.
Calm and composed with an enviable swagger, speaking to host Mark Jorgenson, who described himself as comparatively “cool as a visible verrucca”, the two talked Big Daddy Kane’s new release with fusion band ‘Las Supper’, his legacy and a “boyish face Jay-Z”.
“This something I’ve never done for money. This is something I’ve always done just to prove that I’m a dope MC and give people good music. When people say Kane is my favourite rapper or I got into rap ‘cause of Kane. I feel honoured. Well and truly honoured. That’s the type of love you expect in return for what you do?”
Big Daddy Kane received an abundance of love at The Black Sheep. Packed corner to corner with the city’s biggest hip-hop fans, talented MCs and DJs J-Man, Dr Syntax, Shotty Horroh, Mark XTC and Fingerfood also proudly represented for Manchester in front of one of their music idols.
It was a fitting launch for the The Black Sheep, a brand closely linked to Hip-Hop culture and is a consistent champion of 80s and 90s fashion. The new store, perfectly situated on Church Street across from Afflecks Palace, sells funky caps, trainers and t-shirts, and is bound to attract the city’s cool kids - a swarm of tattooed bearded men, a colourful array of ladies in beanie hats and dudes that like to match their quirky trainers with their skateboards.
The Black Sheep is now open on Church Street, The Northern Quarter, Manchester City Centre.
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