ARTICLE: Top 6 tracks – Big Daddy Kane

Top 6 tracks – Big Daddy Kane

Big Daddy Kane

Kane is one of the top 5 emcees of all time. Depending on my mood, he’ll often be in the number one spot, and although I’ll be the first to admit that the R has skills, I still find it amazing that peeps hold Rakim in such reverence but somehow often put Kane on a pedestal below. Although both of them have their skills and very little weaknesses, it could be argued that Kane’s catalogue more than matches that of Rakim. Over the years, I don’t think its in dispute either that Rakim has certainly fallen much further in terms out quality of output than Kane.

This is not an anti-Rakim article by the way – Rakim gets and deserves his props. Kane also gets and deserves his props. However, when we talk of truly great emcees, I feel that too many heads automatically plonk Ra at the top of their lists, and THEN try to put everyone else in order underneath. Its not nearly as clear-cut as that, and here’s six reasons why Kane makes a great number one pick.

1) Raw (Remix)
With the original version dropping as a single, and as a track on the “Colors” soundtrack, the buzz was already amazing. Although Marley didn’t really do THAT much extra work on it, the little he did though pushed an already incredible track to a whole ‘nother level. The extra scratches (including the infamous accidental bass scratch) complimented Kane’s rhymes perfectly, and the familiar breakbeat has been used by many before and since with nowhere near the same quality. Kane here is hungry – a complete beast on the mic…

“I appear right here, and scare and dare, a mere musketeer
That would dare to compare, I do declare
Getting busy is where it’s at
But what you’re saying, you wouldn’t get a point for that
Cause you’re a featherweight, and your rhymes you carry light
But I drop bass just like Barry White
So how could you think that you pose a threat?
You say you’re rocking, how many shows you get?
All your vocals go local on the M-I-C
Mines go a great distance, like AT&T
I’m now new to this, I’m true to this, nothing you can do to this
Fuck around with Kane and come out black and blue for this”

2) Ain’t No Half Steppin’
Many state this as their favorite Kane track. Its understandable really, as this one cut embodies all Kane’s qualities – the smooth unflappable manner, the rich vocal tone, the lyrical skill… all laid out over an Emotions ‘Blind Alley’ loop and the intro to ‘UFO’. Again its a simple, straightforward beat, and again Kane uses its simplicity in his favor, offering handy advice and a friendly warning to rival emcees without ever being in danger of becoming overshadowed by the supporting loops…

“I stop and stand strong over MC €™s
And devour with the power of Hercules
Or Samson, but I go further the length
Cause you could scalp my cameo and I €™ll still have strength
And no, that €™s not a myth, and if you try to riff
Or get with, the man with the given gift of gab
Your vocab, I €™ll only ignore
Be sleeping on your rhymes till I start to snore
You can €™t awake me, or even make me
Fear you, son, cause you can €™t do me none”

3) Just Rhymin’ With Biz
This might well be the first track where others disagree with the choice, but I think that ‘Just Rhymin’ is another track that perfectly illustrates how ill Kane was (and is) on the mic. Here Marley drops the James Brown sample on us, as Kane and Biz Markie clown on the mic. I say clown, as this definitely sounds like one of those tracks which came about during downtime from recording ‘real’ album cuts – it’s really little more than a freestyle in actuality. Perhaps because of the relaxed atmosphere, Kane flows confidently and unstoppably, quickly ensuring that Biz doesn’t get back on the mic after his little intro rhyme, and dropping quotable after quotable. (This record has been responsible for so many other artists’ hooks its scary.)

“Could I be weak, why I €™m rather unique
I got style, flavor, grace, and plus a different technique
That I be using and not many can manage
So a brother like me, I do damage
Just by picking up the mic to go solo
I cold turn a party on out, and oh yo
I get physical, mystical, very artistical
Giving party people something funky to listen to
That €™s why the other MC €™s can €™t swing long
I stomp them out just like I was King Kong
Stepping on roaches, I get ferocious
I go on and on and on and
Until the bright Shirley Murdock morning
Cause I €™m a pimp, hear the primp, yes the emp-
Eror, bringing much terror in your era
I ready, willing and I €™m able, so bust a move
Never use a barbershop I got my homeboy Smooth
Cooling out with the clippers right around the way
To keep my fresh Cameo cut every day
Like that y €™all, it €™s like that y €™all
It €™s like thata-the-that, it €™s like that y €™all
Cause I €™m the prosecutor taking a stand
And, I €™m cross-examining you my man
The judge and jury, releasing my fury
The verdict that I reach for you is rather blurry
You see, the name Kane is superior to many people
It means King Asiatic Nobody €™s Equal
I hate to brag, but damn I €™m good
And if mics were a gun, I €™d be Clint Eastwood
And if rap was a game, I €™d be MVP
Most Valuable Poet on the M-I-C
Or if rap was a school, I €™d be the principal
Aw fuck it, the Kane is invincible

4) Mortal Combat
Taken from Kane’s solophore LP “Its A Big Daddy Thing”, ‘Mortal Combat’ surprises by not only showing Kane’s skills on the mic, but also on the boards. Yes, there might well not be much work involved in hooking up the George McCrae sample, but coupling this with the ‘Funky Drummer’ loop and the Kool Moe Dee vocal on the hook to produce the ominous undertone running through the track is genius. Kane again drops the braggadocio rhymes as only he can, throwing jabs at rivals, and warning them now to touch his crown…

“The kiss of death on a rap pick
Then you get a slap quick, so guard it with Chapstick
In other words, protect and hold your own
It only takes one punch to get head flown
Fists of fury, suckers get buried
Cause the Kane got more spice than curry
I am the flavor down on paper
And nothing could save ya, from catchin the vapors
Rhymes that’ll sting your face like a quick jab
And I’m rubbin em in just like Vicks say I’m
captivatin, dominatin, innovatin, illustratin, fascinatin
Motivatin, elevatin, terminatin, mutilatin
Rhymes they’re worth their weight in
gold, bold, never sold to a bidder
That claim to glitter, you’re so bitter like kitty litter
As for damage, don’t tell me what another do
Cause I quote that I’m R-A-W
So make room, cause fighters are doomed
Try to consume, and make your own tune
A grave from a casket, a tisket a tasket
You’re rhymes out of basket, boy you get your ass kicked”

5) How U Get A Record Deal?
Musically and lyrically superb, the first single from Kane’s ‘comeback’ album, instantly catapulted him back into the arena as if he had never left. Struggling to balance his image between lyricist and lover on the patchy ‘A Taste Of Chocolate’ and the downright awful ‘Prince Of Darkness’ left Kane written off in many people’s minds as a rap Barry White. After taking two years out, Kane reappeared with the criminally slept on “Looks Like A Job For…” On this album, Kane’s sounds were slightly updated, with Marley being usurped as main producer by the Trackmasters and Easy Mo Bee, but the lyrical intensity had not diminished. The title track set the scene perfectly, before ‘Record Deal’ took over, with Kane quizzing weak rappers on how exactly they did manage to get signed, and answering critics who called him a soft sellout for his appearance in Madonna’s ‘Sex’ book…

“On the Black Caesar tip,
My dialogue is just like a frank inside of a supermarket – raw dog
I’m the untouchable, never to be took out
A sexy mother – ooh child, Prince look out!
I’m keepin girls of all shades on my trail
From a Sister Act down to a Single White Female
Cause when I hit the skins they all say, “Damn Kane,
You knock out the Bush like a presidential campaign”
But if you think that lickin’ toes makes me weak
You better treat me like Freddy Kreuger – don’t sleep
I write raps, ready to rip and rock real rough rhymes
Run in rugged and raw, rapidly ruinin’ roaches
Point blank I spell murder to a bum
All you backwards rappers – redrum, redrum”

6) Very Special
This is where I lose many of you, I’ll bet. A funky, often recognisable beat… a killer hook… appealing to the ladies – THIS is the audio blueprint for a successful radio single, and succeeds where other Kane tracks in the same vein (‘Smooth Operator’ for example) failed; and while Kane did take flak for this, nowadays this would do serious damage to the charts. If you haven’t heard it, here’s what you get your for your money – Debra Laws’ song of the same name is at the core (beat and hook), as Kane and Spinderella trade niceties on the mic. Its happy feelgood music, and I have no problem in admitting that its one of my favorite joints on “Looks Like A Job For”. I’m not a homo either. Kane on the mic here provides no entries for the Hiphop quotable awards – instead line after cheesy line is better placed in the ‘Step Your Rap Game Up’ halls of fame. So while lyrically this is no match for any other song on this shortlist (or much of Kane’s discography), it still deserves its place as it shows Kane’s versatility as an artist.

“My, my, my, yes, I must admit
That I have never knew love like this before
And I adore everything about you
I do mean every part of
For meeting someone this beautiful, have mercy
I wanna kiss ya father
You’re the kinda girl I wanna get closer to
Become the most to you like love is supposed to do
Cuz I fell straight into your trap
And since they say love is blind
I’m the Ray Charles of rap
And I’m waiting for you to put me in your mix
Because ya got my nose open like a jar of Vicks”

Other shit that just missed my cut:
Another Victory, Young Gifted And Black, Its A Big Daddy Thing, The Beef Is On, Smooth Operator, The Wrath Of Kane, Lean On Me, Warm It Up Kane, Its Hard Being The Kane, Looks Like A Job For, Nuff Respect Due

Big Daddy Kane – Top 6
Raw (Remix)
Ain’t No Half Steppin’
Just Rhymin’ With Biz
Mortal Combat
How U Get A Record Deal?
Very Special
(download it here)

Of course others opinions will vary, but you all know that at the end of the day – I’m right. Feel free to argue your choices in the comments section.

12 Replies to “ARTICLE: Top 6 tracks – Big Daddy Kane”

  1. BTW, throw top 6 Rakim tracks vs. top 6 Kane tracks, I think Ra would take it easily, somethin’ like I Know You Got Soul, Lyrics of Fury, Follow The Leader, Microphone Fiend, Eric B. Is President, Paid In Full, I Ain’t No Joke, My Melody, Let The Rhythm Hit Em, Know The Ledge, any of those.

  2. EASILY? I don’t think it’d be anywhere near as one-sided as you think. And stop stealing my script ideas for the next few months. Although, after this post, top 6 Rakim is too obvious. I’m thinking top 6 Black Sheep, or top 6 NWA or something.

  3. It’s a tough one there man. I am from the old school and grew up when these guys first came up. It’s a tough choice between Rakim & Big Daddy Kane…both have different styles with great flows. I like them both almost equally, but I give Rakim a very slight edge. These 2 are in my top 5 of all time MC’s. Nice post it should open some good discussion.

  4. Which is better is a moot point really as I’m sure you’d be the first to admit but which fell off farther is a more worthwhile debate.

    You say Rakim fell off more but I listen to “It’s been a long time” and “New York” regularly wheras I haven’t touched that “Veteranz Day” LP for some years.

  5. that may be so my furry friend, but 18th Letter was Rakim’s ‘comeback’ album and Looks Like A Job For… was Kane’s… and I play Kane’s more than Rakim’s… these are the 2 best comparisons in ‘who came back better’ as they were prob the last time either could afford to pay enough for decent beats…

    oh and we all know Rakim fell off harder…

    Kane cameos in Madonna’s book feeling on Naomi Campbell’s tits, while Rakim cameo’s in Truth Hurts video and… just looks like a tit…

  6. Kane’s underwear in the Madonna book is definitely a lot worse than anything Rakim has worn in public. Plus I reckon Rakim allways wears socks, the same cannot be said for Kane.

  7. I don’t know… coincidentally I saw an old episode of Live At The Apollo 2 nights ago, and Ra was rocking some stonewashed jeans with rips all the way down them (think Kid N Play), and a necklace that was less truck jewelry and more Ratners. I bet the scamp was wearing tight green speedos underneath too (not that I was anxious to see mind you.)

    And as we all know wearing silly underwear to get in Madonna and Naomi’s underwear is a Hiphop element. Green speedoes is not.

    the end

  8. rakim is kanes father nah mean,kane got his style from rakim thats what kills me about you jiggas yyou all think these 80s heads are different,their stlye came from one source and thats rakim.all ideas came from rakim,all rappers that have been hot since rakim came out owe their paper to rakim,rakim should be a trillionaire by now from how many people bit off the shit he created,man stop frontin and give rakim his props for coming up with the god flow in hip hop,ask 50cent whos god he know the ledge trust me

  9. “kane got his style from rakim”

    Yes, because they sound identical of course. What a load of complete bollocks. The whole reason that they sit at 1 and 2 on most people’s list, and that people find it so hard to split them is that they sound COMPLETELY DIFFERENT while coming off dope.


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