It's not uncommon to hear the term "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper" used to describe a certain breed of emcee. Evidently, Big Daddy Kane may very well epitomize it. Easily one of the most influential voices in hip-hop history, having inspired the likes of Eminem, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, and many more, Kane's run in the late eighties and early nineties came to pave the way for lyricism as we know it.
Having earned respect from his peers on such a universal level, Charlamagne inquires as to whether or not he feels as if he's gotten the most out of hip-hop, especially upon seeing how the rap landscape has shifted. "I'm not getting these bags like Lil Uzi Vert and these young cats," he reflects. "But from a cultural standpoint, yeah. I got a whole lot. I had the opportunity to dominate my era. From a cultural aspect, I got a whole lot of it. From the financial topic, nah."
Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs ArchivesDespite the financial disparity that exists between hip-hop generations, Kane remains pleased to see young artists thriving. "I'm happy to see it," he says. "You have to keep in mind that during our era, we weren't even accepted a lot of places. I remember Prince had me do a rhyme on the Bat Dance song, for that Batman movie with Michael Keaton. Warner Bros. Records is happy, loving it. Warner Bros. Films said nah, and took me off. It was like that back then."
Kane also opens up about the rappers he deemed to be lyrical equals during his era. "The top three at that time were me, [KRS], and Rakim," he explains. "I hate leaving G Rap out, but by public opinion. Me personally, G Rap one of my favorites." He laughs, reflecting on how Swizz Beatz has been trying to get him to do a Verzuz with Rakim. "I would love to do it, but I can't make nobody battle me." Charlamagne reflects on how the public has been wanting that battle for years, prompting Kane to dive deeper down memory lane."
Prince Williams/Getty Images"One night, Bobby Brown did a show at the Garden," he recalls. "He had all of us on stage, letting everybody spit while the band playing. Kool Moe D trying to push it, cause me and Rakim on stage rhyming. It wasn't a battle, we were just rhyming. But he wanted us to rhyme back to back. Just to show you how deep people wanted it to happen, when Rakim rhymed, Moe D gave me a microphone and was trying to edge me next to him so I can go after him. Just-Ice snatched the mic from Heavy D and said 'I go after the God!'"
"As soon as Rakim finished, Just-Ice jumped in front of him and started rhyming," he continues. "The whole crowd started booing. They never gave him a chance. They was just mad I didn't go after Rakim. They just started booing. That's how bad they wanted it."
When Charlamagne asks whether he had any bars for Rakim tucked away in case of emergency, Kane lets out a knowing chuckle. "I might have."
WATCH: Big Daddy Kane on The Breakfast Club