We gave it an A-
Known to rap fans as the ”Smooth Operator,” Big Daddy Kane is as smooth as the silk underwear he wears in this, his first long-form video release. In the opening scene, the freshly showered rapper drops his towel to slip into his shimmery boxers, briefly exposing his backside as his embarrassed lady friend looks away. The stunt may sound gratuitous, but Kane has the cool to make it look natural and, well, smooth.
His videos are well choreographed, colorful, and engaging. One of rap’s better dancers, Kane moves with ease. And he raps with equal ease: Nimble phrases roll off his tongue at an astounding rate, buoyed by bottom-heavy, punchy rhythm tracks. With self-explanatory yet subtly wry titles like ”Cause I Can Do It Right” and ”I Get the Job Done,” Kane avoids trite sexual boasting by refusing to take himself too seriously.
The welcome surprise of Chocolate City is the behind-the-scenes footage. We tag along as Kane visits his friends in the places where men traditionally share their chummy intimacy: the barbershop, the basketball court, and (dressy) bars. Elsewhere, he sits on a rehearsal set and talks to us about his disappointment with his new album cover (he wanted to appear completely naked, but his record company talked him out of it), his membership in the Five Percent Nation (a black Muslim sect popular among rappers), and the ”special woman in his life” (his mother!). Kane’s honesty is charming. Indeed, the only drawback of this 30-minute tape is that it’s too small a dose of Big Daddy.