Last night, hip hop legends, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One stepped into the ring for a Verzuz battle for the ages. The two icons stepped out in front of thousands of hip hop heads at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn for a rousing battle and it lived up to expectations.
It was only last year, during the pandemic, when Timbaland and Swiss Beatz created the Verzuz battles. Now, it’s become an institution. They pair up legendary figures from the hip-hop scene and pit their back catalogues against one another while audiences watching at home declare a winner after it goes the full 20 rounds.
Although it started virtually, Verzuz has continued to grow since its incarnation, and the night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn is their biggest event yet.
“If we can get it to happen with me and KRS-One, I would rather it be like a battle format,” Big Daddy Kane said back in June, which helped make this battle come to fruition. “If it’s going to be me and Rakim, then we might as well just do it with the music. You know what I mean? I don’t really see him as a battle rapper.
“I think it would be better to just do it with just the music, if it’s going to be me and him. But KRS is a battle rapper, so it’s going to be me and him. I think we should do the music for the fans but also do a few rounds of battle rap.”
Below are five things we learned from the battle.
Five things we learned from Big Daddy Kane v KRS-One
All hail DJ Scratch
Before the battle between Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One even took place, Verzuz lined up plenty of entertainment for viewers to get in the mood for proceedings.
DJ Scratch treated the audience to a selection of ’90s anthems which were appropriate considering the battle that was lined up, and hearing the likes of Lil Kim, Nas, Mobb Deep, and more was a perfect appetiser for what lay ahead.
Biz Markie tribute
Earlier this year, the world of rap lost an icon with Biz Markie. He’d have been someone that would have been a priceless addition to a battle, and it was only right they paid tribute to the late rapper.
As soon as he arrived on the stage, Big Daddy Kane took it upon himself to pay tribute to Markie, who he previously collaborated with on 1988’s ‘Just Rhymin With Biz’.
Fat Joe was a crucial part of last night’s Verzuz battle, and fingers crossed that this is a role that they’ll keep him in going forward. He was the host of last night’s battle and kept everyone in check while adding a flavour of his unique character into the event.
He was on top form all evening, cracking jokes and keeping the atmosphere alive throughout the show. The highlight came when Big Daddy’s Kane entry was delayed, and he had the crowd in hysterics.
Throughout the night, there was plenty of cameos who added a sprinkling of added magic to the proceedings. Big Daddy Kane brought out Nice & Smooth’s ‘Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy’ and later introduced Gang Starr to the Brooklyn crowd.
Meanwhile, KRS recruited Das EFX, among others. However, it was Roxanne Shante who stole the show. She assisted him with a fire freestyle during the track ‘The Bridge Is Over’ and left the crowd in total awe.
Put some respect on their names
All in all, the main takeaway from the evening was that Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One are people who deserve to be recognised as greats. They played an integral part during the genre’s early days, and chances are, they helped inspire your favourite rapper.
Verzuz can help give these legendary figures a night to remember which celebrated their careers and allow them to be the centre of attention at packed-out arenas for an evening they’ll never forget. They’ve created something special that allows fans and artists to take a nostalgic jog down memory lane, with last night’s event raising the bar for the series.