Big Daddy Kane The Very Best of

His appearance in Madonna's photo book Sex sounded the death knell for his relevance to a hip-hop nation already exasperated with his lover-boy tendencies. But before that, Big Daddy Kane was the consummate MC. Although his rhymes overflowed with old-fashioned braggadocio, Kane had more than enough skills to justify his claims. Along with endlessly quotable lyrics, his excellent microphone technique exhibited an authoritative delivery, ridiculously ill metaphors and an ability to change the cadence of his voice seemingly at will. Add a dash of humour, the genuine urge to drop knowledge on Afrocentricity and racism, and the legendary production of Marley Marl. The only MC with greater respect at Kane's peak during hip-hop's "golden age" of the late '80s was arguably the greatest of all time: Rakim (sorry, LL). Moments like "Raw," "Set It Off," "Ain't No Half Steppin‚" and countless others included here are certified classics that underline his well-rounded proficiency. However, it was his ability to do any style that ultimately did him in. Derision greeted his duets with R&B artists Patti LaBelle and Barry White, and while they were undeniably cheesy, such a stance nowadays wouldn't even raise an eyebrow, underlining just how much rap has changed over the years. Thankfully, those cringe-inducing recordings and tracks from his "don't call it a comeback" albums of the '90s aren't included. While this is a good compilation, you're probably better off purchasing his first two classic long-players Long Live The Kane and It's A Big Daddy Thing. (Rhino)