Where would hip-hop be without Big Daddy Kane? Probably still dead. But the smooth rap lord shook up the hip-hop world with his intricate wordplay and laid-back delivery in the late 1980s, harkening its golden age. Songs such as "Raw" and "Ain't No Half-Steppin'" are as fresh as they were on their arrival to record stores in shrink-wrapped cassettes. Kane effused a confident, controlled and mature persona that made it clear who was the daddy of the game. He was also the catalyst behind the success of other artists, ghostwriting their lyrics and assuming their identity with ease and poetic precision. One of those artists, Biz Markie, will appear with The Prince of Darkness at Toad's Place Saturday, May 31, at 8 p.m. $25-$30. Call 648-TOAD or visit www.toadsplacerva.com. -- C.B.