EWA100 - #37. Big Daddy Kane - Raw

37. Big Daddy Kane - Raw (Cold Chillin'. 1988. From the LP Long Live The Kane)

Raven Mack: I bought a used truck from a private individual, and was briefly teased with Sirius satellite radio for about three weeks, which I think was a plan on their part into luring me into thinking I needed their commercial commodity. It worked once it first went off, but after like a week, I didn't give a fuck anymore. However, during my time having it, they played a good chunk of the songs on this list (which further worked to trick me). "Raw" was one of those songs.
I remembered in my mind how great Big Daddy Kane was, but when you throw on certain tracks, it just rushes your head again, filling you with memories of those times and how he was the penultimate. It's strange for me, with today's standard Tupac/Biggie Super MC hierarchy, to realize me and maybe my best friend got in an actual fistfight over who was greater - Kane or Rakim. (For the record, I was on Kane's side, but I was also known to be devil's advocate, so maybe I was just fucking with Sterling.) I have come to the conclusion in my life of hip hop worship that it's a two-headed godfigure, with Rakim representing knowledge, and Big Daddy Kane representing party. If you wanna get all unitarian about shit, you can throw in either Kool G. Rap or Masta Ace or even the both of them as skills, but most regular hip hop worshippers won't recognize them. Of course, most nowadays hip hop worshippers wouldn't recognize Big Daddy Kane or Rakim either. It'd be Tupac and Biggie, which is a shame, because both benefitted from dead man's frozen legacy status, where they couldn't put out shitty records or do remix guest verses with second-level Mariah Carey knock-offs to ruin their greatness. The thing is, Kane never did that either (Rakim had that one thing with that one butt ugly chick on that song that had the weird Middle Eastern vocal sample or whatever that was reminiscent of "Paid In Full" but not "Paid In Full" even slightly).
Tomorrow, I'm wearing overalls with one strap undone, all day long. Fuck the haters.

Mike Dikk: After pouring over Big Daddy Kane’s first three records for the last couple days, I have to disagree with some of the stuff Raven wrote. First off, I totally understand the point that Big Daddy Kane represented the party aspect, but the truth is, he had just as many socially conscious jams as he did party jams. He’s better known for the party jams though. I already said in the “Road to the Riches” write up that I feel G. Rap and BDK are kind of like yin and yang, so I’d like to get more overly analytical than Raven and say that Rakim represented the knowledge, G. Rap represented the gritty hardcore reality, and Kane represented showmanship more than he represented the party aspect. I know it’s a slight difference from the original point, but you have to be an anal retentive asshole to make a list like this in the first place, so there.
To me, Kane was the first rapper to really legitimize Punch Line rap. That’s a term for rap that relies mainly on clever similes and metaphors. Most punch line rappers are fairly one dimensional and usually suck after you hear them a couple of times. The only other Punch Line rapper to reach somewhat of a legendary status was Big L, and that’s because he died. He also sounded nothing like Big Daddy Kane. There’s Eminem too, but he’s more multifaceted, however the punch lines are what made him famous.
The other thing I have to disagree with is that Kane never did tracks with second rate R&B singers. That may be true, but Kane has enough absolutely dreadful softcore rap songs where he didn’t even need the help of some has been R&B songstress to make the song suck. I’m not saying I like him less because of it, but he is certainly not untouchable when it comes to the sappy schlock department.
I should get to the topic though, which is the song “Raw”. This song is really bare bones when you look at Kane’s other hits. It’s a very simple beat and Kane is just going off. It’s like he’s battling everyone ever and no one in particular on this track. It’s an aspect of rap music that’s basically been lost in the shuffle. A lot of people back in the day appreciated these tracks the most, and I was one of them. I’m not going to lie though, if someone came out with a record like this today where all the tracks were like “Raw”, I’d probably hate on it for being too plain. What makes this song so great is that Kane could do a song like this and hit it right out of the park, and then do a song like “Smooth Operator” or “Get The Job Done” without missing a beat.
I should also mention that a couple years ago I got the Edan Fast Rap mixtape which you may be familiar with if you’re the type of indie rap nerd who is into Edan. The first track on there is a “Raw” remix that features Kool G. Rap. I’m not really sure how rare this track is and if it’s something I heard way back when and forgot about, or if it’s something I never heard because it was only on the vinyl single or something. The Kane/G. Rap “Raw” is even better than the original “Raw”, which I suppose is a no brainer, since it’s Kane AND G. Rap, and they always seem to bring out the best of each other when they’re on a track together. So instead of giving this spot to one version of “Raw”, this coveted #37 spot on our hip hop list that doesn’t matter in the real world goes to the original 1988 “Raw”, the “Raw Remix” and the “Raw Remix” featuring Kool G. Rap. That’s how dope Kane was. He three-way tied himself.

Download: Big Daddy Kane - Raw (1988 original), Big Daddy Kane - Raw (somewhat different remix), and Big Daddy Kane feat. Kool G Rap - Raw (taken from the Edan - "Fast Rap" mixtape)

No real video for this. To keep with the theme, here's three Youtube videos:

First is Big Daddy Kane backed by Connie Prince & The Keystones live in New Orleans sometime recently. Honestly, I'm putting this video up mostly because it's 26 minutes long and I didn't even know that was possible on Youtube. BDK shows up around 8 minutes into it. I'm not even sure if Raw is on here, but the other hits are.

Second, here is BDK doing "Raw" st something called the Parish Nation Clothing Launch party in 06. There's multiple angles and shit, so it's like a fake music video.

Last, here's a mildly funny overdub of Voltron that has to do with learning BDK lyrics. They play Raw for 10 seconds.