Welcome to the third installment of our Was the B Side Better? series. With this series, we revisit some of the biggest Hip Hop singles, do a subjective listen to both sides of the 12′ inch, and decide whether the B-side is just as strong or stronger than the more popular A-side. Trust, that in no case do we expect a blowout but we do expect an enthusiastic trip through our Hip Hop memories.

I apologize. I spoke too soon – this is a blowout.

In 1988, I was introduced to Big Daddy Kane via Biz Markies Going Offvideo. Once I heard Bizs verse about him in The Vapors,I was compelled to buy Kanes album. That purchase cemented him as one of my lifelong heroes. His legendary status exceeds my fandom and positions him amongst the culture’s giants. To me, Kane is to Hip Hop what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is to the NBA. I can go further with the Hip Hop and NBA analogies (shout out to the Public Enemy linear notes that started this!):

Kane – > Kareem

Rakim -> Bill Russell

KRS One -> Wilt Chamberlin

Grandmaster Caz -> Elgin Baylor

Jay Z -> Michael Jordan

Nas -> Isiah Thomas

Black Thought -> Magic Johnson

Phonte -> Hakeem Olajuwon

Kendrick -> LeBron

J. Cole -> Carmelo

Big KRIT -> Dwayne Wade

Tobe Nwigwe -> Zion Williamson

But back to Kane and how his verses are money like Kareems skyhook. I was introduced to Kane by listening to the entire album. Many were introduced to him via Rawand if that aint an all-time memorable I remember where I wasintroduction than I dont know what is. This cat is so full of action (his) name should be a verb.

Was The B Side better? - I’ll Take You There vs. Wrath Of Kane

For me, Long Live The Kane was the first album I memorized. The first album where I wrote all the lyrics. I know every pause, inflection – everything. Which tells how I came to enjoy Ill Take You Thereand in spite of all the effusive feelings I have for the album, I recognized that song as a filler. If this was the only song you ever heard from Kane, you would mistake him and the Fresh Prince as peers on the mic.

They are not. Ill Take You Thereis a feel-good song that goes well in the context of an album. But in no way ever should it had been released as a single. Yet, that transgression was atoned for with the B-side smash, Wrath of Kane.

If you became a Kane fan because of “Raw” then “Wrath of Kane” was the song you were hoping for on his second album. Let’s take a moment to respect these bars:

The man at hand to rule and school and teach

And reach the blind to find their way from A to Z

And be the most and boast the loud and proud

The Kane’ll reign your domain

That’s MCing! Not nonsense rhymes, but straight fire bars. He has rhyme schemes tucked within rhyme schemes. Only a few cats could come close to rhyming on that level. Not convinced? How about:

Line by line, chapter after chapter

Like a pimp on the street, I gotta rap to

Those who chose to oppose, friend or foes

I still dispose, and blow ’em out like afros

So many rappers have fronted to get a name out

Yelling and screaming and dreaming but still came out

Off the wall and butter soft to y’all

So you waited for Kane to come forth to all

Competition, that bite and chew and crunch and munch

To play me out position, you on a mission

So stop lying and trying to front adventures

Your rhymes are more false than dentures

Here is a fact: “Wrath of Kane” was so fire, it was released as an A-side months after being a B-side. I don’t know how often that happens, but I do know that when we talk about the metaphorical Mount Rushmore of MCing, Kane is there. The “Wrath of Kane” is proof that Kane wasn’t half steppin’ on the mic.

Was The B Side better? - I’ll Take You There vs. Wrath Of Kane

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