The next two rap legends to hit the Verzuz stage are Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One, who will face-off in a battle of hip-hop anthems to help determine which lyricist’s catalog is superior. The showdown, which will occur in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center on Sunday, Oct. 17, will find the 56-year-old Teacha and the 53-year-old Smooth Operator taking rap fans on a musical trip back to the late ’80s, when the two were regarded as titans in the rap game.
Both beginning their rap careers in 1986, Kane and KRS were responsible for some of the most pivotal moments and bodies of work in hip-hop history. Kane, hailing from the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn, got his foot into the industry by penning raps for the late Biz Markie, earning himself enlistment in the iconic rap collective the Juice Crew, as well as a record deal with Cold Chillin’.
Releasing his debut album, Long Live the Kane, in 1988, Kane quickly became one of the biggest stars in rap, with popular singles like “Raw,” “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’,” and “Set It Off” dominating the charts. Returning with his sophomore album, It’s a Big Daddy Thing, the following year, Kane would cement his legacy as one of the greatest to ever pick up a mic, with additional jams like “Young, Gifted and Black” and “Smooth Operator” establishing the Brooklynite as an emcee supreme.
Representing the Bronx, KRS-One partnered with Scott La Rock, who he famously met in 1986 while living in a shelter, forming Boogie Down Productions and unleashing their critically acclaimed debut, Criminally Minded, the following year. Released in the midst of his cross-borough beef with the Juice Crew’s MC Shan, Criminally Minded included the classics “South Bronx,” “The Bridge Is Over,” and “9mm Goes Bang,” selling several hundred thousand copies and putting KRS and La Rock at the forefront of the rap game.
Unfortunately, shortly after the release of Criminal Minded La Rock was murdered while attempting to diffuse a dispute in the Bronx, with KRS moving forward as a solo act in his honor, releasing several albums under the Boogie Down Productions banner. Some of KRS’s most notable hits include “Stop the Violence,” “I’m Still #1,” “My Philosophy,” “Love’s Gonna Get’cha,” “Sound of da Police,” “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know,” and “Step into a World (Rapture’s Delight).”
With Kane’s suave, yet frenetic brand of showmanship and KRS’s brute lyrical skill, vocal command, and competitive streak, this Verzuz will be one for the ages and has the potential to be yet another watershed moment for the growing platform.