BDK will always be on my top 10 dead or alive list, and if he’s not on yours I strongly suggest you re-evaluate it immediately. We last left the suave wordsmith in 1990 with his third release Taste Of Chocolate. The album didn’t sell well and compared to his first two releases, it was a step down in quality. But in my opinion, it was still a decent effort.
Fast forward (or rewind?) to 1991. Kane would release his 4th album Prince of Darkness,which would be the first Kane album in which he would not only handle mic responsibilities but the majority of the production duties as well. It’s also considered Kane’s “sellout” album, as many of the true heads complained that too many of the songs catered to his heel wearing fan base.
Unsurprisingly, Prince of Darkness didn’t move a ton of units and the critics didn’t think highly of it either. Is it possible that the true fans, critics and Soundscan all got it wrong?
Prince Of Darkness – Kane starts things off with a smooth laid back groove built around a sample of Zapp’s “Be Alright” and a vocal sample from Tevin Campbell that complements the instrumental perfectly. Right from the jump Kane goes in to his Blackanova persona as he spits rhymes to boast about his sexual prowess in his signature baritone. Nice start to the show.
The Lover In You – This was the first single off of Prince of Darkness and I never cared much for it. Kane loops up a portion of Prince’s “Pop-Life” for the backdrop as he lends advise to men on how to please their ladies in the first verse then uses the rest of the song to talk as many ladies out of their panties that he can. Kane’s rhymes are pretty entertaining but the instrumental has too much of an intentional commercial sound. Side note: Al B. Sure stops by to help sing the hook. The Mr. Cee produced remix, which samples the Loose Ends “Hangin’ On Strings” record, sounds a lot better than this mix.
Git Bizzy – Kane slows the pace down a bit and still catches wreck like Kanye West at 3am driving on the streets of Los Angeles. Solid.
Ooh, Aah, Nah-Nah-Nah – Kane proved on the previous song that he could still destroy a mellow track, and on this one he bumps the BPM’s up a few and shows he can still handle an up-tempo beat as well, corny title aside. He comically takes a quick jab at Hammer on the final verse, only to say “no disrespect to my Oaktown friend” in the very next bar. Kane self-produced instrumental was okay, even though the synth style keys played during the hook were kind of cheese.
Brother, Brother (featuring Little Daddy Shane) – Kane loops up a smooth Barry White sample for the backdrop and invites his little bro to the studio for this family affair. Of course Kane walks away with this one, as I’m sure Shane was just honored to be spitting alongside his legendary brother. I wonder what Shane is doing these days.
Groove With It – Apparently, this was the second single released from Prince of Darkness, although I don’t remember seeing a video for this back in the day. Regardless, it’s terrible. The instrumental sounds like a really really bad remix of “I Get The Job Done”.
I’m Not Ashamed (Alyson Williams) – You should be for making this shit. Remember “All Of Me” from Taste Of Chocolate? This is worst. You have to listen to it at least once though, so you can laugh at Kane’s cheesy spoken word, and even more at his attempt to sing on the hook with Alyson Williams.
Troubled Man – This one opens with Larry Williams singing over a faint synth instrumental, giving off the impression that this is going to be another bad rap and r&b combo. Then everything changes when a funky Meters sample driven instrumental drops and Kane shares the trials and tribulations of being an entertainer. Not that I feel sorry for the guy but he does share a unique perspective. This was nice.
T.L.C.- This was bad.
Float – Kane maintains the mellow vibe as he floats like a life jacket on the waters of the Atlantic over this smooth instrumental. I love his line “(they) declared my lyrics illegal weapons in every state, so I can get 5 to 10 for carrying a papermate”. Top 10, alive, dead, or in the pen.
Come On Down – Kane invites Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes to the studio for this cipher cut as each participant gets a verse over the decent Kane produced instrumental. Q-Tip sounds overwhelmed by the instrumental and Busta Rhymes sounds like he’s forcing things in a feeble attempt to rekindle the energy he brought on “The Scenario”, but falls flat on his face in the process. So, by default Kane walks away with this one, easily.
Death Sentence – This may be the strongest song on Prince of Darkness, and unfortunately it only last for one verse. Over his self-produced stripped down instrumental, Kane spits a verse that will remind true heads that in spite of all the r&b-tinged-lover-man crap he bombarded you with on Prince Of Darkness, he’s still one of the best to ever do it.
Get Down – This was pretty weak.
Raw 91′ – Kane reuses the instrumentals and some of the verses from “Raw”, “Set It Off”, and “Wrath Of Kane”. with a few tweaks here and there. This was solid.
D.J.s Get No Credit (featuring Mister Cee) – The final song of the album is left in the hand’s of Kane’s Deejay, Mister Cee. Over his self-produced instrumental, Cee spits a verse at Kane, explaining how difficult it is being the deejay, and takes a couple of shots at Kane in the process (“ya burnt raisin”). Cool way to end things, and nice to see Kane doesn’t take himself too serious.
Prince of Darkness was a huge disappointment. From the jump (and even the album cover) it’s clear that Kane was more concerned with impressing and growing his female fan base than sticking with the formula that helped build his supreme emcee legacy. In the end he fails both the heads and the females. It’s not like Kane hadn’t made questionable songs on his previous albums, but Prince of Darkness takes things to the extreme, and Kane’s lackluster production doesn’t help matters, either. Kane was aware of the chinks Prince of Darkness left in his armor, which would propel him to bring it back to the streets on his next release.