Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Big Daddy Kane

  • Long Live the Kane [Cold Chillin', 1988] B
  • It'a s Big Daddy Thing [Cold Chillin', 1989] B
  • A Taste of Chocolate [Cold Chillin'/Reprise, 1990] Choice Cuts
  • Daddy's Home [MCA, 1994] Neither
  • The Very Best of Big Daddy Kane [Rhino, 2001] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Long Live the Kane [Cold Chillin', 1988]
Faking a stutter or crooning a chorus or rat-a-tat-tatting a salvo of "ill" rhymes, he can rap that rap, and he's so prolific he spins off lyrics for labelmates in his spare time. But too often Marley Marl lets all this facility carry the music instead of adding the right sample, and when Biz Markie comes on the set you suddenly realize what vocal presence means. Of course, Markie's clown can wear as thin as Big Daddy's big man. What a duo they'd make. B

It'a s Big Daddy Thing [Cold Chillin', 1989]
Mr. Asiatic gets respect for his virtuosity and his upright character--though the self-reliance dis of "Calling Mr. Welfare" seems harsh to a bleeding heart like yours truly, the whole first side raps up to the unity message of "Another Victory," with tough, generous music to match. Turn it over and pig on "pimp shit" designed to weed out dilettantes like yours truly. B

A Taste of Chocolate [Cold Chillin'/Reprise, 1990]
"All of Me"; "Big Daddy vs. Dolemite" Choice Cuts

Daddy's Home [MCA, 1994] Neither

The Very Best of Big Daddy Kane [Rhino, 2001]
The Volvo-driving rhymer who wrote "Pickin' Boogers" for Biz Markie and "Skeezer" for Roxanne Shanté kept his own image as immaculate as his yellow suit, and for this historical record he plays up the conscious race man--the conscious race man with hooks. No "Pimpin' Ain't Easy," thank the Gods--that bit of street wisdom is reduced to an "I was just kiddin'" for Spinderella, who had reason to wonder. Not much mack daddy either, which isn't to say "Cause I Can Do It Right" and "I Get the Job Done" won't inspire hubbies to get it on home. As steely and articulate as Marley Marl's beats, he makes even "It's Hard Being the Kane" sound like butter. But hard it is--note the live "Wrath of Kane," where intakes of breath turn him into his own human beatbox. A-