Big Daddy Kane was a force of nature in the late 1980s. Women wanted him. Men wanted to be him. Cool, calm and confident, with a lyrical killer instinct, Kane was James Bond and Shaft all rolled into one. His first two albums are undisputed classics, but his career fizzled afterwards due to some bad choices with regard to his career direction (Playgirl???) and Hip-Hop’s aesthetic moving to a place where, frankly, BDK wasn’t comfortable.
Even so, Kane’s fingerprints are still all over the torch that he passed to the greats that followed him, and he remains one of the best emcees ever. The following are 10 of the best lyrical and vocal performances in Hip-Hop history, and the blueprint to understanding the greatness that is Brooklyn’s first king. Long live the Kane.