Big Daddy Kane
Long Live The Kane


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
March 18th, 2013 | 28 replies | 2,901 views


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist


#92: Big Daddy Kane, Long Live the Kane (1988)

On Long Live the Kane’s “Set it Off,” Big Daddy Kane describes himself as “the rap soloist”. The line, once interpreted as a diss against Rakim (who gave himself the same tag on “Eric B. is President” [1986]), now feels like a sharp insight. Kane’s debut album is, in essence, one man and his mic, the type of record that feels increasingly like a rarity in an era of guest-verse overload and heterogeneous production. Its title track serves as a perfect introduction: over a sparse Marley Marl beat, Kane raps...and raps, and raps, and raps. Were the driving personality behind it untalented, Long Live the Kane would at least be one of those respectable bombs, a clear product of love and most importantly labor--lots of it.

The album, though, is an unqualified success, a wonderfully energetic and compact display of unfettered good rapping. Kane is a sort of Übermensch when it comes to rhyming: he’s fast, funny, convincing, and perhaps most of all interesting. Take, for example, this line towards the end of the aforementioned title track: “Now pardon me for just changing the issue / But all you sucker MCs, it's a must that I diss you.” This is quintessential Kane, wherein pedestrian subject matter is enlivened by its delivery. Look at how he phrases the couplet: “it’s a must that I diss you,” as if rolling his eyes at yet another job to be done. Long Live the Kane is full of moments like these, its namesake bolstering what could be considered a generic battle-rapper personality with an unusual clarity of vision (“My rhymes will remain like a hieroglyphic,” from “Just Rhymin’ with Biz,” has to be the coolest brag ever). This is what separates Kane from lesser rappers: he shows, they tell.

It also helps that the album is remarkably consistent. Many of its most ardent fans could probably do without “The Day You’re Mine,” a mushy and sorta bizarre love song I enjoy for its earnestness, but the rest is completely airtight. “Raw” is just that, fierce and sounding as if it were recorded in someone’s basement; “Set it Off” has Kane just blazing by other rappers; “On the Bugged Tip” is deliciously funky; even “Just Rhymin’ with Biz,” lazy as it is, has an enjoyable flow to it (“I watch Star Wars just to see Yoda,” quoth Biz Markie). My favorite of all is “Ain’t No Half Steppin’,” which finds Kane once again doing away entirely with narrative structure in favor of a constant stream of boasts. That approach is not the one that usually informs my favorite rap songs (see: “Shakey Dog,” [2006] “N.Y. State of Mind” [1994]), but Kane’s off-kilter approach makes it work--something he pulls off again and again throughout the album’s duration. With Marley Marl providing an uncharacteristically crowded beat, Kane raps about his desire “to open a school of MCin’” before shutting down his own idea and giving himself “a break from a take of me actin’ ill.” The lyrics are ridiculous on paper and sound, in fact, even more ridiculous on record, but also showcase a self-described “rap soloist” at the top of his game, ecstatic with the possibilities of words and what they can do. And when it comes down to it, isn’t that what rap music is all about?



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The most convincing proof of Kane’s status as one of the best MCs...


Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2013



14982 Comments


this might be more of a 4 personally for me but close enough. not gonna rate it a 4.2 or some shit cuz there ain't no half steppin

Gyromania
March 18th 2013



15164 Comments


great review. sounds like i should check this out

kingsoby1
Emeritus
March 18th 2013



4938 Comments


big daddy kane rules

Gyromania
March 18th 2013



15164 Comments


the album cover is pretty hilarious

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2013



14982 Comments


i wonder if lil b listens to "the day you're mine" a lot

illmitch
March 18th 2013



5429 Comments


awesome album, great review too. big daddy kane is such a good rapper, easily one of my favorites from that era

robin
Emeritus
March 18th 2013



4241 Comments


rules so much, favourite you've reviewed so far

i love how flat out it sounds like you said ya

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2013



14982 Comments


wait huh are you listening thru these or what going on

robin
Emeritus
March 18th 2013



4241 Comments


of the ones i've heard. i'm not that decent a guy sry bb : (

Mekkalayakay
March 18th 2013



167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

God I used to LOVE this album.

demigod!
March 18th 2013



43792 Comments


been on an old school hiphop kick lately so i'm gonna check this out. good review.

Digging: Black Flag - My War

AstroZombieDoyle
March 19th 2013



94 Comments


The fact that you're on an old school hip hop kick and haven't big daddy kaned yet is a problem...

luizprigol
March 19th 2013



15 Comments


hey you should review "center of attention" by INI.. i think it was released in 2000, but it was recorded in 1995 so still have that old school pete rock sound... really nice review btw

Havey
March 19th 2013



9609 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

daddy kane the man

Digging: Cecil Taylor - Dark to Themselves

fromtheinside
March 20th 2013



17647 Comments


you are never going to finish this

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2013



14982 Comments


you said that on the last review -- duly noted?

Gyromania
March 21st 2013



15164 Comments


you're actually doing really well in pumping these reviews out. almost 10% of the way there, yes!

i listened to this just the other day and thought it was pretty good, but i probably need more time with it.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2013



14982 Comments


if marley marl took out all the extra stuff and just kept the backbone melody+beat "aint no half steppin" would be like one of my favie productions ever

Gyromania
March 21st 2013



15164 Comments


why does everyone keep deleting their ratings?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2013



14982 Comments


idk some nights ago i binged on rating puddle of mudd and saliva albums 4.5/5 and i regretted it



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