No need in beating around the bush. Big Daddy Kane’s Prince Of Darkness was a hot mess. The mighty Kane seemed to have surrendered his crown and forsaken his core following in an attempt to increase his panty count. And based on the album sales, the ladies were just as unimpressed with the album as the heads. Fast-forward to 1993, and Big Daddy Kane would return with a chip on his shoulder for his fifth album Looks Like A Job For….
Like Prince Of Darkness, Looks Like A Job For would have Kane handling a portion of the production, but he would also get help from some well-respected producers in the game (that we’ll discuss in detail later). But even with the respected producers and Kane’s replenished hunger, Looks Like A Job For still didn’t move a ton of units, even though it did receive favorable reviews.
Let’s revisit Looks Like A Job For and see if Kane could reclaim the crown and continue his reign. You like that, right?
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and/or are having a wonderful Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Happy New Year!
Looks Like A Job For… – Over a semi-rough TrackMasterz produced instrumental, Big Daddy Kane swoops down like a superhero to safe hip-hop, regain his street cred and prove he’s still one of the illest to ever rock a mic. I’m not sure about the first two objectives, but he definitely meets the last one.
How U Get A Record Deal? – This was the lead single from Looks Like A Job For The TrackMasterz get their second consecutive production credit, giving Kane a dope dark backdrop (which completely goes against the poppish grain that they are known for) for Kane to rip to shreds. Wait. Did he really just dis Kriss Kross?
Chocolate City – Things take a turn for the worse, as Kane invites his back-up dancers (Scoob and Scrap) and his little brother (Little Daddy Shane) to join him on the posse cut. The DJ Clash/Robert Brown concocted backdrop is trash, but Kane still manages to rip it to shreds. Unfortunately the rest of the parties involved can’t spit worth shit. And by the way, his boy Laree Williams (who adds some misguided adlibs at the end of the song) might have the most annoying singing voice in the history of music.
Prelude – Kane was definitely aware of the naysayers that thought he fell off and that his reign was over. Over a simple hand clap, Kane spits one hard verse to address those who think he went soft, and sends shots at the fake tough guys and studio gangsters. His verse sets up and goes directly into the next song…
The Beef Is On – Even with all of his love raps over the years, I’ve never considered Kane to be a “soft” emcee. His deep baritone and sharp lyricism have always gave him a hard edge. But he’s definitely not a gangster. He spends the length of this song trying to convince the listener (and the naysayers mentioned in the previous song) that he’s hard, and ironically becomes the studio gangster he talked about in the previous song. Kane’s self-produced instrumental rings just as hollow as his gangster rhymes.
Stop Shammin’ – Easy Mo Bee is a producer who’s not often talked about, but has quietly put together a pretty impressive production resume. He slides Kane a dope moody instrumental that he uses to tell suckas to stop frontin’. During the second verse Kane makes a weird comparison, as he criticizes black people for donating money to finding a cure to cancer (Leukemia, to be specific) and not giving money to…the Nation of Islam? Wtf? What does one thing have to do with the other? Regardless of Kane’s inane comparison, the song is still pretty dope.
Brother Man, Brother – For the second consecutive Big Daddy Kane album, his little brother, Little Daddy Shane, joins Kane for a duet. Cool V’s instrumental is decent, and so are Kane’s rhymes, but Shane should not be rapping, especially next to one the greatest emcees of all time. Not even blood should allow that to happen.
Rest Peace – Easy Mo Bee gets his second production credit of the evening. For this one he hooks up a modest backdrop that Kane demolishes with ease. This was simple, but dope.
Very Special – What would a Kane album be without a corny love song? He invites Spinderella (the “DJ” for Salt N Pepa) to join him on this duet, as they exchange cliché love phrases and generic metaphors and similes on this remake of Debra Laws’ “Very Special”. Kane is also responsible for the trash instrumental, and Laree Williams and Karen Anderson provide some borderline annoying vocals to the hook (and the adlibs they add at the end of the song are bad enough to make you skip to the next song). Bad rap and r&b at its finest.
Here Comes Kane, Scoob And Scrap – Kane again invites his back-up dancers, Scoob and Scrap, to join him on this cipher joint, as they get a chance to redeem themselves from their underwhelming output on “Chocolate City”. Kane sounds solid, but Scoob and Scrap once again disappoint and make it clear that they should stick to their day job (or night job) dancing. And Easy Mo Bee’s third contribution of the evening is butt.
Niggaz Never Learn – The legendary Large Professor stops by to slide our host an understated gem of an instrumental (which includes a portion of the same Five Stairsteps loop that Brand Nubian used on “Steal Ya’ Ho”). Kane drops two very impressive verses and makes it seem as easy as Sunday morning.
Give It To Me – This is probably my favorite song on Looks Like A Job For. Mister Cee loops up a Pleasure loop and turns it into a beautiful backdrop, as Kane nonchalantly boasts about being a lady’s man while simultaneously trying to talk the ladies out of their panties. I would love to see the names on Kane’s hit list during his hey day. It must be pretty impressive.
‘Nuff Respect Due (Remix) – The original version of this song was one of many excellent joints on the nearly flawless Juice Motion Picture Soundtrack. The song uses the same lyrics as the original, but swaps out the brilliant Hank Shocklee/Gary G. Wiz instrumental for a more stripped down Easy Mo Bee backdrop. I’ve never liked this remix and still don’t.
Finale – Over a funky little diddly of a beat (that Kane produced), Kane gives his shout outs before gettin’ the hell out of Dodge.
The criticism Kane received for being too soft on Prince Of Darkness certainly affected him, as this time around he keeps the corny love ballads to a minimum (see “Very Special”), and at times goes overboard to prove he’s got street cred (see “The Beef Is On”). While most of Kane’s own production work fails, the Trackmasterz, Easy Mo Bee and Extra P balance the album out with pretty solid backdrops. Lyrically, Kane reminds me of Jordan in his last two years with the Washington Wizards: not his best output, but still better than 90 percent of the league. Looks Like A Job For is definitely an improvement from the debacle that was Prince Of Darkness, but still far from great.