Big Daddy Kane

This week’s Rap-Up features the top hip-hop news from the past seven days: A long overdue album arrives in stories, a human rights activist inspires an Ohio duo and a legendary rapper is honored -- read on to catch all the details.

Wu-Tang Clan’s King Finally Arrives

He’s appeared on several Wu-Tang Clan related projects during the last decade-plus -- including GZA/Genius’ “Beneath The Surface” and the Wu-Tang Killa Bees’ “The Swarm” -- and the time is finally arrived for Timbo King to release his debut album, “From Babylon To Timbuk2.”

The collection arrives in stores August 30 and was inspired by the famous book by Ralph Windsor. Timbo (also of Royal Fam fame) considers the release an audio novel, one that traces the highs and lows of his life. It features appearances from RZA, Killah Priest, R.A. The Rugged Man and production from Bronze Nazareth and M.O.P.’s Lil’ Fame, among others.

The dusty track “Tombstone” features the husky-voiced rapper referencing a number of music industry insiders. With intense lyrics and stark production, Timbo King should extend the classic Wu-Tang Clan ethos.

Ohio Duo Poses Same Question As Dr. King

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony is Ohio’s biggest rap export, but the Midwestern state has talent in cities beyond Cleveland. Youngstown, Ohio, is about 75 miles South East of Cleveland, and rapper G Huff and soulful producer Vice Souletric Beats are among the promising artists bubbling in the Buckeye State.

The duo’s “Where Do We Go From Here” album was released June 28 and uses the same title as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 book. Although the 14-cut collection doesn’t have as overtly a political message as Dr. King’s tome, the collection oozes with stirring, sample-based production from Vice, as evidenced on the title track.

The posse cut “100 of Us” samples 2Pac and features Ruste Juxx, Guilty Simpson, Termanology, Red Eye and Canayda delivering a steady stream of verbal haymakers. G Huff and Vice Souletric Beats’ satisfying blend of braggadocio, storytelling, soul and boom bap makes them a duo to watch.

Big Daddy Kane Gets “Unsung”

As a lyrical master and a suave dresser, Big Daddy Kane paved the way for fellow Brooklynites Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G. to become superstars. Now the iconic rapper’s groundbreaking career has been immortalized on TVOne’s “Unsung” series. The hour-long program debuted June 27 and traces Kane’s emergence from a shy lyricist for Roxanne Shante and Biz Markie to a ferocious rhymer who was among the most respected, revered and influential artists of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Written and produced by P. Frank Williams, the episode features extensive interviews with Kane, as well as Shante, MC Lyte, Kool Moe Dee and others. The program discusses how Kane’s deft mix of social commentary, lyrical gymnastics and fierce delivery patterns made him a virtually universally respected artist.

As Kane’s popularity grew, he also took a young Jay-Z on tour with him, acted in several films, earned a sizable female fanbase and recorded with several of his favorite artists, including Barry White and Dolemite. Although Big Daddy Kane may not be a household name among today’s rap fans, he certainly influenced some of today’s most popular artists. The “Unsung” episode proves that point.

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker.

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