Emerging during hip-hop's massive creative expansion of the late '80s, Big Daddy Kane was the ultimate lover man of rap's first decade, yet there was more to him than the stylish wardrobe, gold jewelry, and sophisticated charisma.
Kane possessed a prodigious rhyming technique honed from numerous B-boy battles; he could also be an Afrocentric consciousness-raiser versed in the philosophy of the Nation of Islam's Five Percent school, or a smooth urban soul crooner whose singing was no match for his talents as an MC. While he never scored much pop-crossover success, his best material ranks among the finest hip-hop of its era, and his sex-drenched persona was enormously influential on countless future would-be players.
Big Daddy Kane (born Antonio Hardy, September 10, 1968) is a rapper from Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in the notorious Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn. During his career, he has worked with artists including Biz Markie, Marley Marl, Teddy Riley, Rudy Ray Moore and Barry White. Part of Marley Marl's legendary Juice Crew, he also penned lyrics for fellow members Biz Markie and Roxanne Shante. Kane was responsible for jump-starting the career of Jay-Z, now a hugely commercially successful rapper who got his start as Kane's frontman.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers during the "golden age" of hip hop (1986-1993), Kane's experimentation with R&B beats and his alignment to the Five Percent faction drew criticism. Later albums, such as Looks Like a Job For..., were acclaimed, but he was never able to return to the commercial and artistic success of It's a Big Daddy Thing. However, he still tours extensively and is involved in several upcoming projects. He recently featured in Morcheeba's hip hop trip song "What's your Name".
Kane's first major misstep came with the 1991 album Prince of Darkness, a mellower, more R&B-based collection that failed to play to the rapper's strong suits; however, he maintained his sex-symbol status by posing for Madonna's notorious 1992 photo book Sex, as well as Playgirl magazine. 1993's Looks Like a Job For... was something of an artistic comeback, but it failed to re-establish his status in the hip-hop community, which was in the midst of a Dr. Dre-inspired love affair with gangsta rap. Kane moved to the MCA label for 1994's Daddy's Home, and dabbled in an acting career with appearances in Mario Van Peebles' 1993 black Western Posse and 1994's Gunmen. However, he largely retired from the scene over the next few years. Kane resurfaced in 1998 on Blackheart Records, releasing what was ostensibly his farewell album, Veteranz Day.
During 1996, before the murder of 2Pac, it was said that Pac intended to start his own label, Makaveli Records, featuring promintently East Coast acts; one of the artists he intended to sign was Kane, and the two even recorded a song before the rapper's death, entitled Wherever U Are.
Big Daddy Kane has posed for Playgirl and Madonna's Sex book. As an actor, he debuted in Mario Van Peebles' western, Posse.
Big Daddy Kane is famous for his pimp persona that is portrayed in his lyrics. He is famous for the title of his song, "Pimpin' Ain't Easy". The backronym "King Asiatic Nobody's Equal," is often applied to his moniker.
Recently (especially as of 2002), Big Daddy Kane has been increasingly doing collaborations with underground/alternative hip hop artists (ie. Little Brother, The Alchemist and DJ Babu from the Beat Junkies) and Kane has mentioned that he is not intending to release another solo album as he is looking towards a career in acting.