The Big Daddy Kane Story
As was previously stated Big Daddy Kane is by far my favorite rapper of all time. This however does not mean that I cannot be objective when this topic is brought up. My top five rappers of all time have always included Kane, Biggie & Jay-Z the other two spots are often interchangeable. The top three however will never be excluded in any such list as far as I’m concerned.
The year was 1988, well really the summer of 88. This summer turned out to be one of those memorable summers that I never forgot. It was the summer I fully discovered rap music as a bona fide fan. Before hand I listened to Run DMC, I tried to write graffiti on my homework paper. I sort of kind of remembered Beat Street, Krush Groove & Breakin’ but none of it really resonated with me. Mainly because I was too young to understand this new and burgeoning art form. That is until the summer of 88 and the one song that changed my life.
“Ain’t No Half-Stepping” when I heard it for the first time I was floored, the hottest thing I heard in a long time. My uncle told me it was a new rapper named Big Daddy Kane. Initially I thought what a weird name, it felt too epic. Didn’t matter I was hooked. I spent all day and night rewinding the song trying to memorize the lyrics especially the tongue twisters. “I appear right here and scare and dare A mere musketeer that would dare to compare Put him in the rear, back there where he can’t see clear Get a beer, idea or near stare, yeah!”. Biggie said it best “I used to let my tape rock until my tape popped” that’s what happened to me. I remember going to block parties that summer and Big Daddy Kane & his music was everywhere on every car radio, every boom box and walkman of the day. When his album dropped I had to have it, I knew it would be hot. It seems as if I already heard the whole thing anyway since most of the songs on it were already in heavy rotation on the radio.
Set It Off, RAW, Just Rhyming Wit Biz and even though it wasn’t on the album Wrath of Kane was burning up the streets that summer. The man was on fire I predicted his continued success in the future to most of my family and friends. The next summer, 1989 was more of the same. Kane’s sophomore album “It’s A Big Daddy Thing” was released towards the end of the summer. But during the summer months of June, July & August “Smooth Operator” dominated the radio and the charts eventually rising to #1 on the rap & hip hop charts. BDK followed up the success of that single with a real bouncy up-tempo club inspired tune called “Warm it Up Kane”. Where he coined the phrase “who’s flat top ruled in 89!”. Young, Gifted & Black, I Get The Job Done, and also the song “Lean On Me” (from the motion picture of the same name) was released and blew up as well. It seemed as if his only real threat to the hip hop throne was Rakim who as we know was also tearing up the hip hop scene as well. But BDK’s stock was only rising with no apparent end in sight, I hoped.
Then came the fall of 1990, BDK released his third album “A Taste of Chocolate”. The album lacked the street and lyrically driven material of Kane’s first two offerings. There was some slight slippage on the song quality. Don’t get me wrong I loved “Cause I Can Do it Right” which I felt was more like a remix to “Smooth Operator”. But almost everything after that lacked the punch that I as his number one fan was accustomed to. I found myself fighting off all of the critics who said that Kane had fell off. They said he crossed over and sort of turned pop. The first thing that jumped out on me was the album cover, I didn’t understand it it didn’t seem hip hop. That album started the decline in Kane’s career.
After that he released 4 more albums “Prince of Darkness, Looks Like a Job For…, Daddy’s Home & Veteranz Day” in succession. Kane never really returned back to form after his second album. I noticed the slippage and hit it me kind of hard because people knew how I felt about him as a artist. He scored only minor hits after the release of his second album.
Its safe to say that BDK didn’t fully max out his potential as a artist for main stream hip hoppers but I felt like there is too much great material to deny this man his proper place in hip hop. This man was responsible for some of the biggest songs in hip hop history as a writer. He also provided the blueprint for many artists who arrived after him (I.E Notorious B.I.G , Jay-Z) just to name a few. As far as lyrics are concerned…huh a beast. This man had punch lines on standby and he blended them very cleverly with a smooth yet hip hop approach. I co sign this man as one of the greatest to ever do it, if not the greatest of all time. (Stay tuned for Part 3of 3)