Big Daddy Kane – A Legend Is Born

Big Daddy Kane – A Legend Is Born: September 10th 1968 marks the birthday of Antonio Hardy aka B.D.K., Dark Gable, King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal, Blackanova, Count Macula and the one and only Big Daddy Kane. Born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, he met and befriended fellow New Yorker Biz Markie in 1984.  The friendship led to BDK co-writing some of Biz’s most well known lyrics. They would both join producer Marley Marl in the Queen’s-based group “The Juice Crew” which also featured Kool G Rap, DJ Mr. Magic, and Roxanne Shante. In 1987 Kane signed with Cold Chillin’ Records and debuted his single “Raw” later that same year. Despite being asthmatic, BDK is known for his skills and ability to flow over faster beats. His fashion style was well known for setting a number of trends including velour suits, four-finger rings, and high-top fades.

Kane’s debut album “Long Live the Kane” dropped June 28th 1988 with production handled by Marley Marl. 4 crucial singles were released from the record, 2 that had large commercial success – “Ain’t No Half-Steppin” and “I’ll Take You there”; while the other 2 singles “Raw -remix” and “Set It Off” didn’t perform as well with the public at large.  “Raw -remix” and “Set It Off” weren’t as popular commercially but helped BDK grow as an underground sensation and show off his high-speed flow. The album proved he was one of the premier artists in hip hop’s golden age and has been selected as one of the best rap albums ever released. The Source, Ego Trip, and Spin have all chosen the album as one of the best. Big Daddy followed up on the success of his debut and dropped his sophomore album “It’s a Big Daddy Thing” on September 12th of the next year. The singles were “Smooth Operator” (which charted at #1 on the U.S. Rap charts) and “I Get the Job Done” produced by Teddy Riley which made it to #9 on U.S. Rap charts.

Kane’s second album enjoyed the most commercial success and was eventually certified gold. The Source chose the album as one if its’ top 100 Best Rap Albums. The list goes on and on from there as BDK has dropped 5 more albums in his career, with many single highlights as well. He contributed “Nuff Respect” for the Juice soundtrack and won a Grammy in 91 for his collaboration w/ Quincy Jones on “Back on the Block”. He is also linked to Jay-Z and is well known for helping Sean Carter early in his career. Big Daddy clarified statements that Jay-Z was his hypeman by explaining that Jay would make appearances on stage when he would leave the stage to change. He would let Jay-Z and Positive K freestyle for the crowd until he came back on stage.

Big Daddy Kane & Jay-Z performing at Rap City 1990.
Big Daddy Kane & Jay-Z performing at Rap City 1990.


BDK debuted his acting skills in 1993 in a Mario Van Peeble’s movie called “Western”. He then appeared in “Meteor Man” by Robert Townsend in 1993 and a few other films since. Kane notablely posed for Playgirl and even appeared in Madonna’s book from the 90’s called “Sex”. He is regarded one of the most influential rappers from the golden age of hip hop. MTV ranked him #7 on their Greatest MC’s Of All Time list, ranked him #3 on their list of Top MC’s of our time as well.  Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’” #25 on its 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time list. They also said “Legend has it that even the Eighties’ greatest rapper, Rakim, turned down a challenge to go mic-to-mic with Kane”. Now that right there shows you how intimidating Big Daddy Kane can be, even to someone as big as Rakim!

Johnny V

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