Rakim vs. Big Daddy Kane
Match-Up: Although Rakim and Kane were involved in a fierce subliminal back-and-forth, this dream face-off never officially got off the ground. The story goes Kane bristled at Rakim with the line “Rap soloist...you don’t want one of this” on his blazing track “Set It Off,” a clandestine shot at the Long Island, New York rhyme giant who referred to himself as, yep, you guessed it, the “rap soloist.” Rakim then dropped “Microphone Fiend,” a classic that gave a hidden slap to Kane’s own single “Smooth Operator”: “E-F-F-E-C-T, a smooth operator, operating correctly…” But before the rap battle could really find its legs and become a public exhibition, Rakim removed stinging verses directly aimed at Kane on the cut “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em,” following a beef-ending phone conversation with the Big Daddy.
Winner: If this battle really came into fruition, Rakim would have been victorious. While Kane was a superior live performer, the R’s otherworldly lyrical arsenal (check out the startling “Follow The Leader” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95gP3m-uBHA for proof) would have helped him to the W, bolstering his status as arguably hip-hop’s greatest MC.