New York City has a lost a legendary member of its hip hip community. On the morning of February 3 it was announced that DJ Big Kap, real name Keith Carter, had died in the city at the age of 45. He’s best known for helping to launch the career of Biggie Smalls in the 1990s as well as working with a veritable who’s who of NYC rap acts.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. No Cause of Death Has Been Made Public; He Was Due to Perform on the Day He Died
No cause of death has been made public. According to his Facebook page, his last gig was in November 2015. On that page he’s describes as, “One of the most respected and well known dj’s to ever step on the scene from Biggie to Shade45 BIG KAP is a true legend and pioneer in the hiphop game.” The famed DJ was due to play a show on February 3, the day his death was announced, according to his Instagram page.
2. His 1999 Album ‘The Tunnel’ Was Described as ‘Like Unprotected Sex…It May Sound Good But It’s F**cking Dangerous’
Big Kap is possibly best remembered for his 1999 album “The Tunnel” with Funkmaster Flex. It featured posthumous contributions from Biggie Smalls and 2Pac as well verses from Dr. Dre, Nas, Eminem and Jay-Z. According to MTV, the album debuted at 35 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, shifting nearly 100,000 copies in its first week. He described the album to the network saying, “We play worldwide hip-hop in the Tunnel, whether it’s West Coast, Dirty South, Miami, New Orleans, wherever it’s coming from. If it’s good and we like it, we play it, no matter where it’s from…We didn’t want to short ourselves on artists, so we put our heads together and went for what we like and the people we like”
The album was named for the legendary nightclub The Tunnel, where Kap and Flex used to spin records on Sunday nights.
Rapper Pain in the da Ass described the album as “like unprotected sex…It may sound good, but it’s f**king dangerous.”
3. A 1995 Video Clip of Biggie Smalls Freaking Out at Big Kap Went Viral in 2011
In 2011, a video of DJ Big Kap from 1995 went viral. The clip shows Big Kap messing up during a Biggie Smalls performance and the legendary rapper storming off stage. According to Miss Info, Kap was hugely embarrassed by the incident and went backstage to apologize to Big “only to find Biggie chilling with a bunch of chicks, laughing. Apparently, he just made a scene so the audience wouldn’t think it was him messing up.” Kap elaborated on the full story in a 2011 interview with the Fader, saying:
I’m throwing the records and it’s like, alright, cool we’re going through it. But it’s so hot the heat is actually warping the records. The records is melting!
So the records are warping right before me and it’s just like woooommp… So, I go to Big’s room, and I knock on the door. And then he opens the door laughing! And he got a bunch of girls in the room!
I’m bashful and I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m sorry, I apologize for all that.’ Man, I knew! I saw those records. I knew it was the sun and all that. But I couldn’t let them think that it was me out there messing up!
Later in 2011, the Fader produced an article of first-hand accounts about working with Biggie Smalls. Big Kap told the magazine:
Me and Big, we developed a good friendship. They call me the Supreme Bigga Figga Big Kap. I got that from Big. Big used to have this rhyme he used to say all the time, like, “Yo, Supreme Bigga Figga, ta da da, something something.”
And I was like, Yo, that’s hot! And he was like “Yo, you can have that.” Big was a funny, funny character. Like, he was a comedian! He never really called me Kap. He used to call me by my real name Keith Carter. He’d be like, “Yo, Keith Carter, Whattup?”
4. Among the Many Tributes, Members of the Wu-Tang Clan Said, ‘All Praises Due. One Love.’
His death has resulted in an outpouring of emotion from some of the world’s most respected hip hop artists. On their Facebook page, the Wu-Tang Clan wrote, “RIP BigKap. A Hip Hop Veteran Gone.
All Praises Due. One Love.” Meanwhile the mourning was also palpable on Twitter and Instagram:
Rest in peace to my brother Big Kap. The first NY DJ to give me props and a personal friend. I'll missing smoking blunts with you fam.—
DJ Vlad – VladTV.com (@djvlad) February 03, 2016
5. A the Height of the His Career, Big Kap Was Considered One of the Top 8 DJs in New York City
During his career, Big Kap was a member of The Flip Squad. They were a group of New York City’s most renowned DJs, including Funxmaster Flex, Frankie Cutglass and Mark Ronson.