Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Big Daddy Kane Project: The Smoothest Operator





King Asiatic Nobody's Equal, yes indeed. My #8 favorite MC of all time, Big Daddy Kane, one of the nicest MCs to ever pick up a mic, is finally getting the "project treatment". Said project will cover all of his studio albums from his 1988 debut, "Long Live The Kane" to 1998's "Veteranz Day". I'll be discussing Kane's highlights as well as the unfortunate lowlights of his career and all things related. How does his discography compare to those of his peers? We shall find out! The first two parts of this project will be taken verbatim from the Nostalgia sessions covering them.




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.
*5 out of 5*




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.
*5 out of 5*




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.
*5 out of 5*



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.
 *4 out of 5*


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.
*5 out of 5*



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.
*5 out of 5*



7. "I'll Take You There"
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 heading into his second album.  
*5 out of 5*
 


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.
*5 out of 5*


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.  
 *5 out of 5*

 


10. "Word To The Mother(Land)"

It's all about justice, peace and equality, and a hell of a way to close this album.  
*5 out of 5*



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. 
 
 *5 stars*




Release date: September 12, 1989



1. "It's A Big Daddy Thing"
Produced By Prince Paul

Much like his debut, Kane starts this with a dope, apply titled opener (it's only fitting that it would be the title track). This one is a little more fast paced than "Long Live The Kane", but just as dope if not better, especially on the lyrical end.
*5 out of 5*



2. "Another Victory"
Produced By Easy Mo Bee

Yes indeed, the (still) underrated Easy Mo Bee was behind the boards in 89, providing Kane with this hype piece of work. While telling the competition that if you step to him, it's just another victory under his belt, he was also telling em' don't even bother to step up, no doubt (nothing wrong with being competitive). In a truly nice touch, I liked how he gave shout outs to fellow artists Kid N Play, LL Cool J, Stetsasonic, EPMD, Public Enemy, BDP, and Salt N Pepa towards the end. One thing Kane did well was promote unity.
*5 out of 5*


3. "Mortal Combat"
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

"Just slow down, you don't wanna throw down/I get busy, get ya dizzy like a merry-go-round"


Those were just two of many dope, quotable lines in this Kane produced banger. "Mortal Combat" was the right title for this track, mainly because of the aggressive way he was "kicking" the rhymes.
*5 out of 5*


4. "Children R The Future"
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

Ok, I've always liked this one. Lyrically it's on point and the title was a pretty accurate statement (then and now), however, the ONLY issue I had with this was the beat. It's not wack by any means, but it didn't quite vibe with the subject of the song. It's still very good though.
*4 out of 5*

5. "Young, Gifted & Black"
Produced By Marley Marl

"Rappers I replace, rub out, and erase/Competition you must be on freebase"

Over one of Marley Marl's finest beats ever, Kane comes with one of his most lyrically sharp performances ever. It was short, sweet, and straight to the point, no nonsense. The title of this classic says it all and of course, it STILL holds up today.
*5 out of 5*
 
  


6. "Smooth Operator"
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

"Genuine for 89". Absolutely. This remains one of the smoothest songs I've ever heard and only Kane could've made a song like this work, successfully blending extreme confidence and swag before there was such a thing. Oh yeah, legend has it that this classic was part of some "friendly competition" between Kane and fellow MC Rakim (you ever noticed the "I'm so smooth" hook, which was from Rakim's "Put Your Hands Together"). Either way, another one of Kane's finest moments.
*5 out of 5*



7. "Calling Mr. Welfare"
Additional Vocals By DJ Red Alert
Produced By Easy Mo Bee
"There's no type of path to follow/It's all about a dollar, fuck being a scholar"



That one line describes this hilarious, but informative song. Simply put, pushers, dope dealers, pimps, and the like could be enjoying the lavish life one moment, but when reality sets in, you got no choice but to suck up your pride and call for assistance, hence the title Mr. Welfare. I also can't forget how funny Red Alert was throughout this song.
*5 out of 5*

8. "Wrath Of Kane (Live)"
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

Hot damn, this was an incredible live performance. Kane was on fire here with such grace, breath control, and energy. This one performance featured things you really don't see at live shows anymore: true crowd participation (the women in attendance definitely showed their love here) and attention. Wow.
*5 out of 5*
 

9. "I Get The Job Done" 
Produced By Teddy Riley
"A champ like Tyson, a captain like Kirk, no/Employee of the month cause yo I do work!"


This classic was hard enough for the fellas, but strictly made for the ladies. Mr. Riley provided Kane with the right musical atmosphere to get the job done, complete with the "New Jack Swing" era on the horizon.
*5 out of 5*
 


10. "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"
Produced By Prince Paul
Quite the "feel good" song right here. On display was the full uplifting of the Black community. We had come a long way as the 70s turned into the 80s and it was no turning back at that point. Plus, McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" was already a classic by 89 and I feel Kane was also paying homage to them by use of this sample. Great stuff here.
*5 out of 5*



11. "Pimpin' Ain't Easy"
Featuring Nice & Smooth, Scoob Lover, and Ant Live
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

This marked the debut of Greg Nice and Smooth B, better known as Nice & Smooth. This was a good song, and I'm sure they were going for laughs here. They succeeded, lol.
*4 out of 5*


12. "Big Daddy's Theme"
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

Just a smooth, "pimped out" instrumental.


13. "To Be Your Man"
Featuring Blue Magic and Chuck Stanley
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

Another one of the earlier "hip hop ballads", not necessarily a reprise of "The Day You're Mine" from his debut. Blue Magic and Mr. Stanley played the hook and background, Kane just (smooth) talked his way through this song (remember songs like this). Another one for the ladies.
*4 out of 5*


14. "The House That Cee Built"
Produced By Mister Cee

This was a true showcase of Mister Cee behind the boards and on the turntables.
*4 out of 5*


15. "On The Move"
Featuring Scoob Lover and Scrap Lover
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

This one served three purposes: to have fun, please/entertain the ladies, and showcase Scoob & Scrap Lover.
*4 out of 5*


16. "Warm It Up, Kane"
Produced By Big Daddy Kane

"Competition may find it spectacular/Scheme and fiend to take a bite like Dracula"


Another banger that followed the same pattern as the title track, "Mortal Combat", and "Another Victory", just to name a few, and it's just as dope. Kane said "he's deadly as Scarface, but bright as the Cosby Show". Nice lines.
*5 out of 5*



17. "Rap Summary (Lean On Me) Remix"
Produced By Marley Marl

I've always preferred the original version (which I will post below), but this remix is just as good, but not better though. Whether it's the original or remix, it always makes me think about (and want to watch) the classic movie "Lean On Me", and Kane's rendition was the perfect lead song for it. 
*5 out of 5*


Original version


The remix



These trips/sessions down memory lane are ALWAYS great, and as Kane said, "my oh my things ain't what they used to be", and he was dead on with that. This certified Gold album, his most successful album to date, still holds up today and I'll tell you one thing, it gives "Long Live The Kane" a run for its money, no question. Kane was one of the hottest MCs in all of hip hop at the time, enjoying lots of deserved success as the 1990s drew closer. Speaking of which, we would definitely see the "changing of the guard", so to speak, as the 90s emerged, and this would effectively impact Kane for the rest of his career. At this point, King Asiatic Nobody's Equal was on top of the world with an album that'll stand the test of time, just like his debut. 

*5 stars*

 


 After two straight classic albums in '88 and '89 respectively, Kane returned with album number three, "Taste Of Chocolate". Before I get to a small story, I want to comment on his career at this point, which was rapidly changing. It was clear to most fans that Kane was desiring mainstream/commercial acceptance, and while it definitely starts with this album, it carries over to album number four, which will be covered of course. Also, this may come as a surprise to most of you, but this was actually the first Kane album I ever heard. My dad gave me the cassette in '92 and I had this in the deck on a frequent basis back in the day. Furthermore, take a look at the album cover above. One of two things are apparent: either Kane was showing that he was still the smooth operator no matter how he posed or he was simply uninterested in the scene as 1990 emerged. Has time been kind to this album? We're about to find out now.


Release date: October 30, 1990


All songs produced by Big Daddy Kane, except where noted


1. "Taste Of Chocolate Intro"

"Here's another groove that I'm bringin to you kind of mellow."


Complete with samples driven by Sylvester ("Was It Something That I Said") and Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison", the latter of which was practically new at the time of this release, this intro starts things on quite the brief, but mellow note. I usually don't rate intros, but this one gets a solid "3 out of 5".


2. "Cause I Can Do It Right"

"Very kinky when it comes to hanky panky/A well known player, but not for the Yankees"


This joint was here was hype enough for the dancefloor, but strictly for the ladies in my view. I also liked how he threw back to the classic "I Get The Job Done" by saying his "take em from 8 to 80" line was only him kidding (you didn't think he was serious did you, lol). Good song.
*4 out of 5*



3. "It's Hard Being The Kane"
Produced By Prince Paul

Oh man did I ever rewind this Prince Paul produced banger over and over again back in the day! Lyrically, Kane is flamin hot throughout all three verses, never letting up for one second. An underrated, apply titled classic right here.
*5 out of 5*

 

  
4. "Who Am I"
Featuring Gamilah Shabazz

One word to describe this song is deep. As a new member of the Nation of Islam at this point, Kane has a verbal look at himself in the mirror, rapping from the perspective of a Black soul coming from Africa to the U.S. to the turmoil in the 60s all the way up to his rise to fame in the 80s. And paying close attention to the second verse, it's VERY interesting to not only hear him admit that he had to "make that change and rearrange, his whole rap format, no hardcore rap", but in terms of switching things up for more mainstream success, he sort of predicts this direction BEFORE it happens (you have to listen to it closely to get what he's saying). Ms. Shabazz, the daughter of the late, great Malcolm X ends the song on a good note.
*5 out of 5*



5. "Dance With The Devil"
Produced By Cool V

Man, Kane drops some serious knowledge on this one over a highly dope, Cool V produced track (for a long time I always thought this was a Marley Marl track, even while acknowledging Cool V credited in the album's insert, lol). Kane touches on everything from slavery, our communities, guns, war, the actions of our government, etc. Speaking of the government, you almost get the feeling that Kane was comparing the government to the devil, but in my view, the "devil" in this song is all the evils in the world, then and essentially now.
*5 out of 5*



6. "No Damn Good"
Produced By Prince Paul

Lol, I still trip on this song today. It's hilarious and dope all at the same time. Kane calls out Monique and Corey, and while their stories are similar in nature, the point Kane makes is simple: be true to others and yourself, otherwise, you're no damn good. Must be heard to be appreciated, no doubt.
*4 out of 5*



7. "All Of Me"
Featuring Barry White
Produced By Mister Cee

Well, the momentum this album was on comes to a screeching halt here, unfortunately. Now, I get what Kane was going for, complete with the Barry White guest spot, but this was about 2 minutes too long and ultimately served no purpose on this album, even though it was 100 percent for the ladies. Let's move on.
*1 out of 5*


8. "Keep 'Em On The Floor"
Featuring Barbara Weathers

 Another very good song tailor made for the dancefloor, plus an equally good way to bring the album back to its "regularly scheduled programming" after the prior song.
*4 out of 5*


9. "Mr. Pitiful"
Produced By Cool V

While Kane somewhat tells the story of how his career got started, why he decided to go the "Mr. Pitiful" route (describing himself I guess, lol) is beyond me. It kinda affects the song a little, with the final product, if you will, being decent, nothing more.
*3 out of 5*


10. "Put Your Weight On It"

Over three classic breakbeats courtesy of The Honey Drippers' "Impeach The President", Billy Squier's "The Big Beat" and Cerrone's "Rocket in the Pocket", Kane drops an ill freestyle with Mister Cee behind the boards, probably the first of its kind on record.
*4 out of 5*


11. "Big Daddy vs. Dolemite"
Produced By Andre Booth

Kane and Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore) do it old school style by playing the dozens, in a manner of speaking. While Kane does get in some very good lines and holds his own, overall he was no match for Dolemite line for line. I never had a problem with this, but it easily could've been left on the cutting room floor. Since it's not an actual song, it receives no rating.


12. "Down The Line"
Featuring Scoob Lover, Scrab Lover, Mister Cee, Little Daddy Shane and Ant Live
Produced By Andre Booth

This posse cut was more or less a showcase for all of the guests. Speaking of the guests, I wonder what happened to Scoob & Scrab, Little Daddy Shane and Ant Live. Good song though.
*3 out of 5*


13. "Taste Of Chocolate Exit"
 Kane closes the album by giving shoutouts.


 



Well, I can certainly say time has been kind to this album and it truly took me way back to when I bumped the cassette constantly as mentioned. Of course, it's nowhere near the level of "Long Live The Kane" and "It's A Big Daddy Thing" (it also didn't hit Gold like those albums did), but Kane still did a very good job with this release, even as you could see his career slowly but surely beginning to take a turn, and that will be clear on the next album, "Prince Of Darkness". "Taste Of Chocolate" has received a bad rap over the years, but I would recommend a revisit, especially if you haven't played it in a long time"


4 stars (up from my previous 3 star rating) 







After the (somewhat) lukewarm reception to the "Taste Of Chocolate" album, Kane returned the next year with "Prince Of Darkness", his fourth album, and if his desire for mainstream/commercial acceptance wasn't clear before, it was on full display leading up to this release and of course on the album itself. With hindsight being 20/20, Kane did himself no favors by appearing on the cover of Playgirl magazine in 91 (I wonder how he feels about this today). Needless to say, heads were not pleased with this or the direction of his career at this point, leading to claims of Kane selling out and falling off at the same time, which would follow him for the next few years. The key question here is how does this album now? We'll see if it has aged well or not.


Release date: October 29, 1991


 All songs produced by Kane, expect where noted



1. "Prince Of Darkness"

"Stop, hold up, pause, quit/Change the groove and funk it up a little bit!


 Quite the smooth opener here, featuring Kane doing more than embracing his complexion, also confirming that the "dark skinned brother" was the order of the day as far as the ladies were concerned in '91 (lol).
*4 out of 5*



2. "The Lover In You"
Produced by Kane and Michael Warner



 Take away the very obvious attempt at radio and TV exposure and the catering to the ladies (this was solely for them), and from there, if you accept this type of song for what it is/was, it's not that bad at all. My advice for the fellas is this: if you're unfortunately on your lady's bad side and nothing you've done has worked, if she's a hip hop fan especially, throw this joint on and see what happens.
*3 out of 5*


3. "Get Bizzy"

Kane does "get bizzy", still coming smooth over a dope beat with a nice sample courtesy of Curtis Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love". (I had to take off a few points for the obvious censoring towards the end.)
*3.5 out of 5*


4. "Ooh, Aah, Nah-Nah-Nah"

 Kane may have came with a slight party vibe here, but he sort of brings back the "88-89 Kane" for this one, complete with very good lyrics throughout and simply owning the beat with his sped up flow. I liked this one. (Check out the performance of this song on "In Living Color".)
*4 out of 5*



5. "Brother, Brother"
Featuring Little Daddy Shane

Oh man, not only do I really like the "brotherly love, back and forth vibe" displayed here via 4 bars a piece, but I also liked how Kane was able to use a "jeep beat" and along with the Barry White's "Playing Your Game, Baby" and Gwen McCrae's "Rockin Chair" samples. VERY good song.
*4 out of 5*



6. "Groove With It"
Produced by Michael Stokes



Every time I bump this one, I think about a personal favorite movie of mine, "Strictly Business", and it was part of that soundtrack as well. Yes, the commercial sound was in full effect, but it's still very good to these ears. This was also the second highest charting single of Kane's career after the classic "Smooth Operator".
*4 out of 5*




7. "I'm Not Ashamed"
Featuring Alyson Williams

 Well, the momentum comes to a screeching halt here with another one of Kane's "hip hop ballads". This is nowhere near the level of "To Be Your Man" or "The Day You're Mine", it was perhaps worse than "All Of Me", not to mention clocking in a 6:26, this was a lil too damn long, adding up to the album's worst song. Let's move on.
*1 out of 5*


8. "Trouble Man"
Produced by Mister Cee, Co-Produced by Kane and T.R. Love

 In what was the album's most introspective song, Kane talks about his struggles with fame, women and friendships. Speaking of the latter, it's sad when someone tries to start a rumor that another person has AIDS, smh. All in all, a good way for the album to bounce back after the previous song.
*4 out of 5*



9. "T.L.C."
Produced by Kane and Michael Warner

Another joint for the ladies. Not that good, but at this point in the album, we get the point already.
*2 out of 5*


10. "Float"

Although this song is relatively decent, you get the feeling that this has been done/heard before from Kane and done better.
*3 out of 5*


11. "Come On Down"
Featuring Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes

 I think it's safe to say that this is the best song on the album by far, featuring one of Busta's earliest verses, stealing the show in the process.
*4 out of 5*



12. "Death Sentence"

Kane may have been in more of a "ladies mode" for this album, but he could still come with lyrical heat, as evident by this appropriately titled song, clocking in at a brief 2:19.
*4 out of 5*


13. "Get Down"

 Decent song as Kane clearly wants to make you dance, nothing more or less. He also gives a shoutout to Jay-Z at the end, and keep in mind this was '91.
*3 out of 5*


14. "Raw '91"

This updated version of the classic from '88 is very good, but it lacks the spark that its predecessor had, even with Kane redoing some of the vocals. Respectively, there is a reason why the original "Raw" still bangs today and the '91 version is somewhat of a footnote in hip hop history.
*3.5 out of 5*



15. "D.J.s Get No Credit"
Featuring and produced by Mister Cee

 This was a rather odd, but entertaining choice to close the album. Cee lets out of his frustrations with the lack of attention he claims he didn't receive for being Kane's DJ.
*3 out of 5*



Well, this album was certainly heading into 3 star territory, but honestly, my ratings would necessitate a solid 3.5 star rating. While there is filler to be found here, the rest of the album is largely good, no major complaints about it after all these years. As mentioned in the opening words, Kane was going in a different direction and this decision didn't go over too well with the rapidly changing hip hop audience, plus the genre itself was going through its own changes as well. Compared to the previous three albums, "Prince Of Darkness" tanked on a critical and commercial level, leading to Kane taking a hiatus from the game for almost 2 years. How would he bounce back? This question will be answered as we head to album four.




 
Kane returns to the scene after a much deserved hiatus with his fourth album, "Looks Like A Job For..." The only true noteworthy thing that Kane did during this time, on a music level, was "Nuff Respect" for the soundtrack to the movie "Juice", and with the lukewarm response to the last album and hip hop constantly changing since his "glory days" of 88 and 89, we will answer the question of how he bounced back with this album.


Release date: May 25, 1993



1. "Looks Like A Job For..."
Produced by TrakMasterz

"Many people tried to say I fell off/He went R&B, now his rap is all soft/ But if you say that on stage, I'll prove you wrong/And wax that ass, rappin off a love song"


Yes indeed, and in addition to addressing those who thought he fell off, Kane is on a mission to show he hasn't lost one step with this opener, complete with the '93 sound in full force in terms of the production. (And yes, TrakMasterz, how it used to be spelled, was comprised of Tone and Poke).
*4 out of 5*



2. "How U Get A Record Deal?
Produced by TrakMasterz



"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 betta treat me like Freddy Krueger: don't sleep"

"Rappers get so quiet when I'm comin, that if they/Shitted a dictionary, you couldn't get a word from em"

"And to battle me you shouldn't even try/Cause with wings on your tongue, you still couldn't say nothin fly"


Oh man what an underrated gem this was. In my view, Kane was trying to actively get a deal for someone else, however, if you take his approach found here (dope rhymes over a dope beat, pull no punches, raw & uncut, etc), you too could get a record deal. This WORKED in 93, unfortunately it probably wouldn't do a thing today.
*5 out of 5*




3. "Chocolate City"
Featuring The Wolf Pack (Mister Cee, Scoob Lover, Scrap Lover, Lil' Daddy Shane and Laree Williams)
Produced by DJ Clash & Robert Brown

 This fast paced posse cut was very good, as Kane, Scoob and Scrap drop dope verses, plus it was much better than "Down The Line" from the "Taste Of Chocolate" album (likely due to Scoob, Scrap and Lil' Daddy sounding a bit more seasoned/polished).
*4 out of 5*


4. "Prelude"
Produced by Big Daddy Kane

Kane freestyles for 55 seconds.



5. "The Beef Is On"
Produced by Big Daddy Kane

Kane gets more aggressive than usual throughout this one, even throwing a brief story inside the second verse for good measure. Dope stuff here, with well timed samples courtesy of George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" and soundbytes from Ice Cube and Kool G Rap.
*4 out of 5*




6. "Stop Shammin"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

Kane clearly has no time for those who fake the funk, calling out people who forget where they came from, those who sell out their own race (specifically Blacks) and so called friends who change up their attitudes when someone they knew becomes famous, whereas previously they didn't want anything to do with them. Another dope song.
*5 out of 5*



7. "Brother Man, Brother Man"
Featuring Lil' Daddy Shane
Produced by Cool V

 Another dope cut between the two brothers. They seemed to be feeling it all around on this one, nothing wrong with that.
*4 out of 5*


8. "Rest In Peace"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

"I take em and shake em and bake em and ache em and break em/And rake em, you can't awake em from the comatose way I make em"

"Pickin up the microphone you shouldn't dare/It's like being on a stairmaster, climbin and going nowhere/You're perpetratin like you're ready and able/But couldn't rock a show, if the stage was a cradle"


This apply titled banger is a word of warning to the competition: this is your (lyrical) fate if you step to Kane. Kane was lyrically feeling it here (and all throughout this album). I also gotta compliment Mo Bee on the ill use of Harvey Averne's "Lullaby From Rosemary's Baby" in terms of the sample.
*4 out of 5* 



9. "Very Special"
Featuring Spinderella, Additional Vocals by Laree Williams and Karen Anderson
Produced by Big Daddy Kane




 Well, the strong momentum comes to a halt with this song (that's an unfortunate trend here isn't it), which wasn't actively bad, but just another one for the ladies, Kane's first and only single to crack the Top 40 of the Billboard 100 chart. I certainly do remember this one being played on the radio at the time, and it probably was the last time Kane graced the radio on a somewhat consistent basis unfortunately. Spinderella, Salt N Pepa's DJ, graced this one and did a good job.
 *3 out of 5*


10. "Here Comes Kane, Scoob and Scrap"
Featuring Scoob and Scrap Lover"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

These three men showcase their skills in a truly dope way, much like "Chocolate City". Scoob and Scrap more than held their own alongside Kane.
*4 out of 5*


11. "Niggaz Never Learn"
Produced by Large Professor

This was a good song, however, I feel that something was missing and can't quite put my finger on what it was. I get what Kane was going for, but still.
*3.5 out of 5*


12. "Give It To Me"
Produced by Mister Cee and Spark Boogie

This was another one for the ladies, and well, let's just say that if the ladies respond according(ly) to the song title, this song let's you know what to expect in return.
*3 out of 5*


13. "Nuff Respect (Remix)"
Produced by Hank Shocklee & Gary G. Wiz

This is the remix of the classic song from the "Juice" soundtrack as mentioned earlier. It's dope, but I prefer the original. What do you think?
*4 out of 5*

 "Original

 *Remix


14. "Finale"
Produced by Big Daddy Kane
 
Kane closes the album with some shoutouts.



 This album has aged pretty well overall. Of course it's not on the level of "Long Live The Kane" and "It's A Big Daddy Thing", however, it's tons better than "Prince Of Darkness" and it's slightly better than "Taste Of Chocolate", so in essence this was Kane's best work since '89. Not only was there a renewed focus on the lyrics (Kane really set out to prove he had not lost a step), the production helped out tremendously, and when you have the likes of Easy Mo Bee, TrakMasterz and Large Professor overseeing the majority of your production, that's a damn good thing. On the flipside, while "Very Special" had a respectable presence on the radio, this album fell under the proverbial radar in '93 (possibly even moreso than "Prince Of Darkness"), and with hip hop changing all the time, Kane almost seemed lost in the shuffle at this point, and this will be explored a little more on the next album, "Daddy's Home". A strong 4 star rating for "Looks Like A Job For..."





Release date: September 13, 1994

 
1. "Daddy's Home"
Produced by L.G.

"Mack man number one, you know how I move/You'd think that I be shavin my rhymes cause they be so smooth"

"Welcome to a new terrordome/When I come to roam you know daddy's home"


Decent opener here, even if Kane was a lil too smooth at times. In terms of setting the vibe for what's to come, it got the job done.
*3 out of 5*


2. "Brooklyn Style...Laid Out"
Featuring Big Scoob
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

 Another decent song featuring that familiar "94 sound" that long time fans will instantly recognize. I feel this more of a showcase for guest Big Scoob.
*3 out of 5*


3. "In The PJ's"
Featuring Big Scoob
Produced by Kane

Over a smooth beat courtesy of Teddy Pendergrass' classic "Close The Door", Kane shows love to the projects all over the country. (5 points deducted for inexplicably ending the song with a needless card game skit.)
*4.5 out of 5*



4. "Show & Prove"
Featuring Big Scoob, Sauce, Shyheim, J.Z. and Ol' Dirty Bastard
Produced by DJ Premier

Now this is a rather famous posse cut, complete with an interesting lineup. At this point, Shyheim had dropped his debut solo album, "AKA The Rugged Child", on the same day as Nas' "Illmatic" (4/19/1994), ODB was riding high with the Wu-Tang Clan and as far as I'm concerned, this song marked the officially recognized debuts of Sauce (better known as Sauce Money) and the man who would later be known as Jay-Z, one of Kane's proteges at the time. Great stuff here and all involved indeed "show & prove", the best song on the album.
*5 out of 5*



5. "Lyrical Gymnastics"
Produced by L.G.

Don't get me wrong, this song was good, however, considering the title, I feel it was a few years too late. Kane tries, but it's missing that spark that would've been present had a song like this dropped in 88 or 89. Also, I've always liked that Barry White sample "You're The One I Need".
*3.5 out of 5*


6. "That's How I Did 'Em"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

In somewhat of a story form, Kane talks about how he lyrically took out his competition in rather convincing fashion. Fast paced and dope.
*4 out of 5*



7. "Sex According To The Prince Of Darkness"
Produced by Da Rock

 Well, this was for the ladies as you would expect. It's not bad, but it's nothing we haven't heard before, especially from Kane.
*3 out of 5*


8. "3 Forties & A Bottle Of Moet"
Produced by Kane

A freestyle/skit for the most part, with Kane notably throwing shoutouts to Wu-Tang, LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, etc, in a "drunken form", lol.




9. "The Way It's Goin' Down"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

This joint was decent, nothing more. Let's keep it moving.
*3 out of 5*


10. "Somebody's Been Sleeping In My Bed"
Produced by Kane

Funny, apply titled song here. Kane all but talks about his wife and her cheating ways leading to a divorce at the end.
*3.5 out of 5*


11. "W.G.O.N.R.S."
Featuring Easy Dred and Junior P
Produced by Kane

This stands for "What Goin' On N Our Society". This is somewhat the opposite of "In The PJ's", but considering the content, it makes its points.
*3 out of 5*


12. "Let Yourself Go"
Produced by Kool T & Crush

I get what Kane was going for, but it seemed like he was trying a lil too hard on this one, especially during that second verse.
*2.5 out of 5*


13. "Don't Do It To Yourself"
Featuring Big Scoob
Produced by Kane

This was kind of an anti-climatic way to close the album, nothing more or less.
*3 out of 5*




Well, let's talk about the album first. It's essentially the tale of two: the first half is pretty damn good, but once we hit "Sex According To The Prince Of Darkness", the quality dips from there (lyrically it's up and down, production is hit or miss). I'm trying my best not to say that Kane was running out of things to talk about or he was almost desperately trying to fit in with how things were in hip hop circa 1994, but it was clear that things weren't the same any longer. Much like "Prince Of Darkness", this album unfortunately tanked on a critical and commercial level (I'm sure the album cover did Kane no favors), necessitating another hiatus from the game, which will be touched on when we get to "Veteranz Day". Also not doing this album any favors (again) was the fact that it was released on the same day as Biggie's "Ready To Die", and with Bad Boy Records beginning a hot streak at this point, the timing was simply not the best and I don't think anyone was checking for what Kane had to offer. 3 stars overall for "Daddy's Home".





(This would mark Kane's first album in 3 1/2 years since "Daddy's Home".)


Release date: April 28, 1998



1. "Intro"
 A 57 second instrumental leads us into.....


2. "Uncut, Pure"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

Bringing you that uncut pure, knocking at your door
About to give you more of the raw
Point yo' hands up to the sky, high
Get on down baby we keep it live  



Not only does the hook above truly define this highly dope song, but Kane sounds so (re)energized and inspired over the equally dope Mo Bee production (lyrics galore).
*5 out of 5*



3. "Entaprizin"
Produced by Kane

"We gots to strive to make hip hop survive/Brothers need to unify to keep the game alive"

"Fools, acting like they don't know the rules/Need to learn to listen when grown folks is droppin' jewels"




I've always liked this one right here. As a vet at this point, Kane shows love to fellow hip hop artists, present day 1998, encouraging them (and others) to strive for the best and keep hip hop going strong. I still trip out at the line "rappers like Craig Mack quench my thirst for comedy", lol.
*5 out of 5*



4. "Girl Talk (Interlude)"


5. "Change This Game Around"
Featuring Felicia Price
Produced by Kane

 Kane returns to "Prince Of Darkness" mode with a 98 vibe/twist, truly for the ladies right here but the fellas would dig it too.
*4 out of 5*


6. "La-La-Land"
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

"No time for timid fear, cause there ain't no limits here/Got the world in my hands you ain't even found the hemisphere"

"Not to contradict myself but see really/I'm untouchable but making sure you people feel me"


Unique song title aside, Kane comes "smoothly dope" on this one.
*4 out of 5*


7. "Ole Tyme Bluez (Interlude)"


8. "2 Da Good Tymz"
Featuring Mike Ransom
Produced by DJ III

 Over a nice, throwback sound, Kane toasts those who were responsible for helping to create memories from back in the day (and those familiar with my work know I really like songs like this).
*4 out of 5*


9. "Fish Tandorri (Interlude)"


10. "Terra N Ya Era"
Produced by Kane

Oh man, lyrically Kane is so on point here, and I'd be quoting literally the entire song if I added any of the lines. Throughout the song, Kane comes off inspired, confident and aggressive all at the same time. This is somewhat of an underrated gem here.
*5 out of 5*



11. "Hold It Down"
Featuring Kelly German
Produced by Kane

 On the surface this is nothing we haven't heard before, but the smooth & mellow vibe Kane brings make it work like a charm.
*4 out of 5*


12. "Daddy's Theme (Interlude)"


13. "Earth, Wind & Fire"
Featuring Sha-Queen and A.B. Money
Produced by L.G.

"Now, tell me who shall be first to suffer crucial/If you don't know defeat then allow me to introduce you" -Kane


This one was more or less a showcase for the guests, who were ok to be fair, but outside of Kane's dope closing verse, this song lacked the creativity considering the title of the song.
*3 out of 5*


14. "Do U Really Know"
Produced by Kane

Respectively, this joint is one of few songs from Kane that you really have to take your time with. Kane talks about a cat he once knew who totally "faked the funk", for the lack of a better term, by not being true to himself, not recognizing and realizing where his actions are taking him (I wonder if hip hop is being used as a metaphor here, hmmm). Food for thought indeed and another great song.
*5 out of 5*



15. "Shame! Prelude)"


16. "Shame"
Produced by Kane

 The nature (or should I say dangers) of the music business are on full display, as told in true Kane form.
*4 out of 5*


17. "Last Night Episode (Interlude)"


18. "Definitely"
Produced by Kane

  Decent song. This sounded like something straight from the Bad Boy Records catalog (circa 1998) and I don't mean that as a knock/diss.
*3 out of 5*


19. "Unda Presha"
Produced by Kane

 Although this song ends a bit abruptly, this album did not end on an anti-climatic note that's for sure. Dope stuff here.
*4 out of 5*


20. "Outro"


21. "Uncut, Pure (Remix)"
Produced by Kane 

For all intents and purposes, this was a bonus track, featuring the same lyrics as the original utilizing a sample that the late Eazy-E also used for "Eazy-er Said Than Dunn" (Rufus Thomas' "The Breakdown Part 1").
*4 out of 5*




This album was a lot better than what I remembered and it may have been Kane's best since "It's A Big Daddy Thing" or "Looks Like A Job For....", depending on your perspective (4 stars). Lyrically he was inspired and focused a bit more (especially after the "Daddy's Home" album) and the production was good overall. And that's where the good words end unfortunately. Looking back at 1998 and how things were STILL changing in hip hop at this point, I can't recall any promotion for this album and I don't think it was on anyone's radar, not even the hardest Kane fans, and it tanked on a commercial level. Although there were established artists still making moves, it seemed like the times had passed Kane by and he was out of place in an ever changing genre. To date, he hasn't released any additional albums, making this his unofficial last album. With all this being said, that brings us to my closing remarks on this project.




Since 1998, while making guest appearances here and there, receiving continuous accolades for his contributions to hip hop, touring (he has gotten better with age too), Kane has largely settled into what some may call "semi-retirement" (it may not even be "semi" at this point). Make no mistake about it, while his career may have taken a sharp turn after his second album and never looked back, he'll always been known for his smooth delivery, dope punchlines and the way he rocked the mic with such style and grace, setting the blueprint for other MCs to follow in his footsteps, with Jay Z being one of the more notable examples. His discography is largely very good compared to his peers, however, his first two albums are often most talked about to this day. Kane, my hats off to you and I just want to say thank you for all that you have accomplished since 1988, thank you for the classics (and if you're reading this, I would like to interview you one day)! Truly one of the all time greats!



ALBUM RANKINGS AND RATINGS

1. "Long Live The Kane" (5 stars)
2. "It's A Big Daddy Thing" (5 stars)
3. "Taste Of Chocolate" (4 stars)
4. "Looks Like A Job For...." (4 stars)
5. "Veteranz Day" (4 stars)
6. "Prince Of Darkness" (3.5 stars)
7. "Daddy's Home" (3 stars) 

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