Q&A: Big Daddy Kane—Icon in an Iconic Shoe

B walker shoes bdk-closet“It’s the Queens New Yorker with a bulletproof parka/In ’84, it was Calvins and British Walkers…”—Kool G Rap, “Money on the Brain”

As an emcee, Big Daddy Kane has solidified his status as a legend; he had the rhymes, the looks, the image, the haircut and the style. In an era of fat gold chains and Adidas track suits, Kane was debonair in silk. While many preferred Bally’s or shell top Adidas, Kane was rocking British Walkers. So, it’s only natural when the shoe of choice for ‘80s emcees and hustlers was rebranded by Lakeview Apparel Group, they reached out to Kane to partner on a limited edition shoe (the BDK Limited Edition) to coincide with the brand’s return. SoulTrain.com recently sat down the B-I-G D-A-Double D-Y K-A-N-E to discuss the shoe, hip-hop’s fashion evolution, and where he’s headed musically.

SoulTrain.com: Tell me about your involvement with the British Walker shoe.

B Walker Shoes bdk-pink-couchBig Daddy Kane: Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, I used to love British Walkers; I remember having the navy blue with the light blue stripe. I remember seeing cats rocking the burgundy with the gray strip, I used to love them. So, it was natural to get involved when Lakeview Apparel Group reached out to me and told me they were reviving the British Walker line and wanted me to design a shoe. I was sent a few samples of what was going to be released and based on those, I put together looks that I liked. It was as simple as changing a buckle to a tassel or creating a color scheme.

SoulTrain.com: Why is it important you to be on board with the brand’s revival?

Big Daddy Kane: It’s important to me because I’ve always been a big British Walker fan and a shoe like this is a part of hip-hop culture; when you think hip-hop, most folks think b-boy and Puma, Pro-Ked, Adidas.  But we also wore British Walkers, Playboys and Clark Wallabees. British Walkers being revived is a great thing; it’s a comfortable shoe, comes in cool colors and was one of my favorite shoes back in the day.

SoulTrain.com: What are your expectations for the BDK Limited Edition?

Big Daddy Kane: I would expect for people who are into hip-hop and who are collectors will purchase the shoe. Hopefully, it’s a successful release so other artists can get involved. I would love to see a Ghostface Killah design, a Slick Rick design, Biz Markie, and other artists I know that can appreciate the shoe and the history of the brand.

SoulTrain.com: From a fashion standpoint, you’ve always been at the cutting edge when it came to hip-hop.  Can you talk to me about hip-hop’s fashion evolution through the years?

Big Daddy Kane: Hip-hop has definitely evolved fashion-wise, with artists like Kanye and Jay-Z doing deals with major fashion houses; it has grown to be inclusive of contemporary fashion. Back in the day, the b-boy look was dominant, you know—Adidas track suits, Pumas with the fat laces, Kangol hats, Cazal glasses. But now, Italian suits, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and all of that has become part of hip-hop fashion. I would like to see more African American designers being supported by the hip-hop community, the way we had Karl Kani, FUBU and those brands.

SoulTrain.com: What do you have going on musically?

Big Daddy Kane: Mostly I’m just touring. I’m on the new Saigon track “One Foot in the Door,” and I’m going to working with Logic pretty soon. But that’s pretty much it for the time being. I just finished filming a movie with Keanu Reeves and Mira Sorvino called Daughter of God. Also, there’s a possibility of another project with Las Supper (a follow-up to 2013’s Back to the Future), but we just have to get the schedules right and see if we can make that happen, because I would love to do that.

SoulTrain.com: What are you listening to these days?

Big Daddy Kane: A bunch of old stuff, David Ruffin and stuff like that.

SoulTrain.com: Is there anything else you want to touch on?

Big Daddy Kane: The BDK Limited is available exclusively online at bwalkershoes.com. Each shoe comes with a shoe kit (suede brush, cloth and shoe polish) and certificate of authenticity. Also, anyone wanting to catch the upcoming concerts can find the schedule at BigDaddyKane.com and you can find me on Twitter @bigdaddykane and as Official Big Daddy Kane on Facebook and Instagram.

The entire line of British Walker shoes can be purchased at www.Bwalkershoes.com.

–Al-Lateef Farmer

Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find Al-Lateef Farmer; Black man, husband, social documentarian, and slinger of Soul by the pound. His brand of social commentary, rooted in independent thought can be found Twitter @wrldacrdng2teef and www.TheWorldAccording2Teef.com.

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