Even though he spends a good 90% of the album boasting about his skills and abilities on the microphone, and cutting those of other MCs, Big Daddy Kane
consistently proves himself a thrilling artist on his debut album, Long Live the Kane
, one of the most appealing creations from the original new school of rap. This debut captures the Big Daddy Kane
who rocked the house at hip-hop clubs and verbally cut up any and all comers in the late '80s with his articulate precision and locomotive power -- the Big Daddy Kane
who became an underground legend, the Big Daddy Kane
who had the sheer verbal facility and razor-clean dexterity to ambush any MC and exhilarate anyone who witnessed or heard him perform. There are missteps here, to be sure -- especially "The Day You're Mine," on which Kane
casts himself as a loverman over a stilted drum machine and lackluster, cheesily seductive singing (offering a glimpse of the particular corner into which he would eventually paint himself). But there are also plenty of legitimate early hip-hop classics, none of which have lost an ounce of their power, and all of which serve as reminders of a time and era when hip-hop felt immediate, exciting, fresh, and a little bit dangerous (in the figurative, rather than literal, sense), and when hip-hop spawned commercial tastes of the moment rather than surrendering to them. Although his next album would be nearly the artistic equal of the debut -- and, in many ways, even bettered it -- Big Daddy Kane
would never sound as compelling or as fresh as on this first effort.