Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 13: Big Daddy Kane - Long Live The Kane (1988)

Today's session is shaping up to be a very good one. This is the debut from the legendary Big Daddy Kane, and much like Rakim did the previous year with the classic "Paid In Full" album, Kane changed things up a bit, not only being on his way to becoming hip hop's second sex symbol (#1 would be LL Cool J),  but he effectively balanced a rugged yet smooth style on the mic, impressive wordplay, and an intricate flow. This intro may be brief, but it greatly sums things up going into this classic. So, session 13 is in full effect!

Release date: June 21, 1988

All songs produced by Marley Marl

1. Long Live The Kane

Completely by passing the immediate thought that a song like this should close the album, Kane comes right out the gate not only with a DOPE opening statement, but he was already saying, in so many words, his legacy was already set. True words too. Marley Marl also did a great job integrating the Meters and James Brown samples for one of his dopest beats.
Grade- A+

2. Raw [Remix]

"Here I am, R-A-W/A terrorist, here to bring trouble to/Phony MCs I move on and seize/I just conquer and stomp another rapper wit ease!"

"I'm genuine like gucci, raw like sushi"

5:48 of pure rawness as the title suggests, and even with this classic approaching 6 minutes, it NEVER gets old or tiresome. Classic right here.
Grade- A+

3. Set It Off

"I keep the crowd loud when you're hype/Do damage on stage and injure the mic"

That line is one of MANY quotable lines, so many that I'd essentially have to post all the lyrics, because that's how GREAT it is. Kane lyrically holds nothing back on this one, another track where Marley Marl nicely sampled an old school song and flipped it into a break beat form (Grady Tate's "Be Black Baby"). Classic.
Grade- A+

4. The Day You're Mine

Let the record show that Kane was the second MC after LL Cool J to make a hip hop ballad. Now, no disrespect intended, but Kane couldn't sing a lick, lol, however, lyrically this was on point and I bet the females loved this one.
Grade- B+

5. On The Bugged Tip
Additional Vocals By: Scoob Lover   

Utilizing the Grand Wizard Theodore instrumental "Down By Law," along with the cuttin and scratchin provided by DJ Mister Cee, Kane and Scoob Lover bring a fun, freestyle vibe to this one, including a memorable spot towards the end by Kane, which he would later use on this album.
Grade- A

6. Ain't No Half Steppin

"Rappers steppin to me, they wanna get some/But I'm the Kane, so yo, you know the outcome"

"The B-I-G D-A-double D-Y K-A-N-E/Dramatic, asiatic, not like many/I'm different, so don't compare to another/Cause they can't hang, word to the mutha"

Wow, do I even have to go into how GREAT this song still is after all these years. This is one of Kane's best and most memorable songs, as well as one of Marley Marl's best tracks, thanks to another creatively utilized sample (The Emotions' "Blind Alley). Classic material.
Grade- A+

7. I'll Take You There

Sample check

The Staples Singers' classic "I'll Take You There", again sampled nicely by Marley Marl, is the backdrop for Kane's song of positive uplifting, and he would do more of this, as I'll highlight when we get to 1989.
Grade- A+

8. Just Rhymin With Biz
Additional Vocals By: Biz Markie

Although Biz Markie's intro is good, the REAL star of this show, obviously, is Kane, and in addition to what he already delivered previously on "The Bugged Tip" , he drops more dope lyrics in a freestyle form. It's quite memorable and it contains some of his most sampled audiobytes.
Grade- A+

9. Mister Cee's Master Plan

Although Kane spits a verse at the beginning, this is more or less a showcase of Mister Cee's skills on the turntables. Very good all around, along with the multiple classic samples used.
Grade- A

10. Word To The Mother (Land)

It's all about justice, peace and equality; a hell of a way to close this album.
Grade- A+

As far as I'm concerned, this is Kane's best album right here. There's no question that it still holds up today, featuring possibly his most refined work, especially on a lyrical level. That will be challenged when we get to 1989 and the "It's A Big Daddy Thing" album. The production was outstanding, Kane's style and words were second to none, and the result was one of the best albums (debut and/or otherwise) of 1988, and it was a success, becoming certified Gold in 1989.

Final Grade- A+

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