The culture was fully represented on Sunday night (October 17) when rap pioneers Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One stepped into the Verzuz arena at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, bringing together two of Hip Hop’s most celebrated MCs.
With DJ Scratch backing Kane on the 1s and 2s and Kid Capri rocking the turntables for KRS, the main event got underway at 8 p.m. ET. From the moment the battle began, it was clear KRS-One didn’t come to play. When host Fat Joe called Big Daddy Kane’s name, there was delay with his entrance and it was blamed on “technical difficulties.”
But KRS-One replied, “There ain’t no fucking technical difficulties — he’s hiding in the dressing room.” With that, Kane finally sauntered onto the stage wearing a white and red suite, slick fedora and all-red shoes and exploded into 1988s’ Long Live The Kane cut, “Just Rhymin” featuring the late Biz Markie.
KRS-One returned fire with the 1988 Boogie Down Productions cut “I’m Still No. 1” and it was officially on. As they blazed through songs such as Kane’s “Smooth Operator,” the Blastmaster’s “MCs Act Like They Don’t Know” and BDK’s “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy,” hundreds of comments poured in on the Verzuz Instagram page.
Diddy, Russell Simmons, Funk Flex, Tyrese, Jermaine Dupri, Missy Elliott, Lord Finesse, Common, Pusha T, DJ Khaled, J.J. Fad, Teddy Riley, The Alchemist, D-Nice, Killer Mike, Run-DMC’s Rev Run, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Royce Da 5’9, Lil Kim, Doug E. Fresh and Cypress Hill’s B-Real were among the many who popped up in the comment section.
But in person, Big Daddy Kane’s fellow Juice Crew members Roxanne Shanté, Masta Ace and Craig G, Das EFX, Mad Lion, Buckshot, Kool DJ Red Alert, original Rock Steady Crew b-boy Crazy Legs, Smooth B, Greg Nice, Mad Lion, DJ Cutmaster Cool V and Channel Live peppered the performance, leading to a nostalgia that effortlessly wafted through the air and beyond.
At one point, Big Daddy Kane brought up The Bridge Wars, a rivalry between Boogie Down Productions and The Juice Crew that stemmed from a dispute over Hip Hop’s true birthplace.
The feud officially kicked off with Marley Marl and MC Shan’s track “The Bridge” in late 1985. BDP retaliated with “South Bronx” in 1986 with lines such as, “Party people in the place to be, KRS-One attacks/Ya got dropped off MCA [Records] cause the rhymes you wrote was wack.”
As pointed out by Genius in the comment section, Fly Ty once asked Big Daddy Kane to get involved in The Bridge Wars to help squash the beef. Kane reminded KRS-One of this fact with, “I stayed out of you and Shan’s shit, you welcome.”
But overall, it was all love between the two Hip Hop titans. They both praised each other numerous times throughout the evening and proved MCs in their 50s are more than capable of commanding a crowd just like they did in their 20s — in fact, they’re even better.