A Breakdown Of What Makes Big Daddy Kane A Superior MC (Video)
Big Daddy Kane has not released a solo album in nearly 20 years. However, when Antonio Hardy said “Nobody’s Equal” in spelling out the acronym of K.A.N.E., the statement was (and remains) irrefutable to many. Big Daddy Kane is one of the greatest MCs to ever touch the microphone, and raised the bar of excellence in Rap through witty wordplay, precise deliveries, and a level of confident cool that made way for Jay Z, Nas, and other laid back legends.
It has been 30 years since King Asiatic first appeared on wax, and documentarian JayQuan was there when “Get Into It” and “Just Rhymin’ With Biz” dropped. He recalls hearing a sharp-shooting artist within Marley Marl’s Juice Crew that stood as something completely different. Kane’s favoritism of up-tempo, oft-aggressive beats was not the popular move in 1987. Moreover, the MC was one of Hip-Hop’s first to implement some of the slang and teachings of the Five Percent Nation of Gods and Earths into his lyrics. Through that alone, Kane (along with Rakim) would influence Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, and presumably, Brand Nubian.
In his 34-minute documentary Dope Or Dog Food: The Lyrical Genius Of Big Daddy Kane, JayQuan examines the inventive lyrics of some classics from the onetime Cold Chillin’/Warner Bros. Records star. Placing him at the top of the Rap food-chain, the doc’ points out that in the late ’80s, Kane was the most commercially successful of an elite class of MCs including Rakim, Kool G Rap, KRS-One. The stage-show has also been critical to Kane’s name and post holding strong. Even without albums, the Brooklyn, New Yorker tears down live shows into his fifties, evident in Chappelle’s Block Party, among anybody who’s seen the O.G. rock.
Much of the documentary looks at lyrics, both recited by JayQuan, in song, and played acapella to show the word-smithing that this MC has been capable of, which make use of comedy, inventive cadence (using multiple words to rhyme with a single word) and frequent double entendres. Backed by some of the finest production available, especially on his first two albums, Kane was a Hip-Hop superstar who was beloved in the streets, and arguably, Brooklyn’s biggest contribution to the genre, leading up to stage collaborator Biggie Smalls.
This vignette celebrates Big Daddy Kane on some levels that some can easily miss. There is plenty of music unpacked too. As Kane rocked alongside Chris Rivers, Token and Joell Ortiz last year, the fire is still in the cannon. Following a late 2015 KRS-One album, Rakim has recently said he’s working on an album. Meanwhile, Kool G Rap recently revealed the title of his next effort, perhaps 2017 will invite some new music from a living legend who proved quickly that he was GOAT material.