The term legend embodies the personification of a character bigger than life, one that shaped minds, altered times and left a mark of existence never to be forgotten. In regards to the Hip-Hop culture, Big Daddy Kane embodies all of these characteristics and much more. Juice Crew member, Golden era representative, and the first baller of Hip-Hop, Big Daddy Kane's legacy runs deep through the hollowed halls of Hip Hop history. Kane was one of the few emcees that influenced a generation and shaped the image of what a true emcee is all about. Along with others (mainly Rakim), Kane molded the formula or blueprint for every future emcee to follow.
Every emcee in the industry today owes a debt of gratitude to Kane, for it is his style (among others) that 90% of the emcee's out today are using. The pimp/player persona, the extravagant lifestyle, his unique style of flipping words like it was nothing, his smooth flow and remarkable lyricism; it was all Kane's long before a slew of imitators would latch onto the style and make it their own. Long before Shawn Carter was Jigga, long before Biggie was the king of New York, long before Ja Rule was winning the hearts of ladies all across the country, long before Fabolous was spitting metaphors and punch lines, long before all of that Kane stood. Quite simply the mold of emcee you see today is an exact duplicate of what Kane was in '88.
In 1988, Kane dropped the timeless debut album "Long Live The Kane", which featured such classic joints as "Raw," "Set It Off," "Ain't No Half Steppin" and "Just Rhymin' With Biz." One year later, Big Daddy Kane would again set the Hip Hop world on fire and engulf the culture with more of his smooth persona, ridiculous wordplay, timeless flow and sick lyrics, all of which would never be duplicated again. With the classic "Long Live The Kane" under his belt, "It's A Big Daddy Thing" built on the same success and took it to the next level. The album was vintage, raw Big Daddy Kane at his finest.
Filled with nothing but classic joints, "Long Live The Kane" is still as monumental and mind-blowing as it was in '88. We all remember the classic bragging tales of "Smooth Operator," the pimped out/player anthem of "Pimpin' Ain't Easy," and the energetic, lyrical barrage of "Warm It Up Kane" as it was yesterday. Of course the legendary Juice Crew leader Marley Marl puts forth some of his finest production work with "Rap Summary (Lean On Me Remix)" and the classic "Young, Gifted And Black," which is one of my personal all time favorite Marley beats.
Showing his versatility on "Children R The Future," Kane shows he's much more than your average battle emcee, and is able to touch on a variety of topics like the socially uplifting "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now." Where Kane strongly proclaims, "I just wanna get my point across Cause it's time to organize and open your eyes. Realize, we on the rise to the climax, time to take charge. Whoever said we can't live large? To seek out fortune without distortion and stop livin for just a small portion. There is a move to make; we gotta take a chance to break all chains. Become awake, Cause this is the new way, to be proud and brave and I ain't goin out like a slave. In eighty-nine, I'm livin like a champ. Step out my face, talkin bout a food stamp. Child please, put it at ease. Freeze, it's time to get paid in times like these. We can't take shorts or take a loss, So take it from the Kane and go for yours."
However, Kane's versatility doesn't stop their, want storytelling? "Calling Mr. Welfare" is the Easy Mo Bee produced track that features Kane ripping the track to shreds with his unique wordplay and superb storytelling ability. But what we all know and love Kane for is none other than his precise lyricism and extraordinary flow. "It's A Big Daddy Thing", "Another Victory," "Mortal Combat," and the live version of "Wrath Of Kane" are all vintage, raw, on the edge of your seat rides through the lyrical side of Big Daddy Kane. Want proof that Kane is one of the best lyricist every to grace a mic, look no further than these tracks.
As with any music, some albums always remain as innovative and fresh as they were when they were first released. "It's A Big Daddy Thing" was able to capture the essence of Hip Hop when it was released in '89 and it still able to accomplish that same task 13 years later. With a new generation of Hip-Hop listeners becoming more and more concerned with "what's popular today", most don't realize the impact of Big Daddy Kane. Even though most do not realize Kane's impact, it is there. It's present in every line, every metaphor, every flipped word, every pimp persona and every player's tale. Kane's presence is everywhere; it's just up to you to see it.