The New York borough of Brooklyn has produced some of the best MCs hip hop has ever seen, including the likes of Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G and Talib Kweli. However, if you’re talking about Brooklyn, one artist that has to be mentioned is Big Daddy Kane. Once Jay-Z’s mentor Big Daddy Kane was one of Brooklyn’s most prominent representatives in the 1980s.
However, at one point in time, before he made it big and while on the come-up, Big Daddy Kane entered a battle with another local rapper named Biz Markie. During the ’80s, Brooklyn was a thriving hub within New York City’s hip hop culture. With that being said, there were a lot of rappers on the rise looking to make it, and Biz Markie was one of them.
Speaking on the Orange Julius drink shop in the Albee Square Mall, Big Daddy Kane told Rock The Bells Magazine, “That’s where all the hood cats would hang out. We’d take the train up to Midtown, and all meet over at Orange Julius. It was like a hangout spot for all the teenagers.”
Like other local rappers, Kane was eager to prove himself and earned respect by battling other people. Recalling how he used to approach a rap battle, Kane unveiled, “I might do eight bars off the top based on what you got on. If you had something raggedy on, I might incorporate that in the rhyme as well. But everything else was written freestyles.”
From previous battles, Kane was used to winning. Detailing the signals that showed him his enemies were weak, he recalled, “Once I saw that look in your face that you’re not ready for this — or you don’t know what your next move is — I know I got you. That was my whole tactic. There’s a certain way people will act when they don’t really have a response, and you can see it.”
Kane would go around different New York high schools, asking who he could battle. However, one name was repeatedly coming up in his area, with locals even insinuating that this MC could beat Kane, and that was Biz Markie. Then one day, he heard Biz Markie was at Albee Square Mall.
Eager to take him on, the two battled, and it was such a spectacle that a large crowd began to form. Despite the fact they were battling, some of Kane’s comical lines made Markie laugh. Recalling the battle, Kane stated, “I don’t know what it was about the funny rhymes, but it was something that he just gravitated to and was like, ‘I want you down with me.'”
The two rappers, already both with a buzz, decided to team up. Even though sources who were there unanimously agreed that Kane beat Markie, the two continued to rap together as friends. Kane admiring his skillset, even disclosed that Markie “slowly but surely became the in-house writer for a couple of Juice Crew members.”
Under Kane’s wing, Jay-Z would rise up and become Brooklyn’s number one. However, this battle is still a monumental moment in Brooklyn’s history.