Big Daddy Kane is a revered hip-hop artist who emerged on the scene in the late early 1980s. Born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, Kane (real name Antonio Hardy) eventually became part of the iconic Juice Crew and went on to become a legend and one of the most beloved Brooklyn MCs of all time.
As a solo rapper working the underground hip-hop circuit of New York, Hardy brushed shoulders with many lyricists, one of whom happened to be Biz Markie. Markie, akin to Kane, began his career in New York City nightclubs and collaborated with a vast array of artists. However, he had an unparalleled synergy with Hardy. Having established a name for himself in Brooklyn and with an ever-growing buzz, Kane was recruited by Marly Marl to join his newly formed collective Juice Crew.
Based in Queensbridge, New York, Juice Crew brought together an eclectic range of rappers from different areas to create a supergroup. Spearheaded by Marly Marl and Mr Magic, the potent eight-piece was formed in 1983 and has become synonymous with hip-hop’s golden age. Widely considered one of the first hip-hop conflicts ever, Juice Crew were part of a legendary New York rap battle commonly referred to as ‘The Bridge Wars’. Referencing the area of Queensbridge, the discord was between two crews BDP from the Bronx and the Juice Crew of Queens.
Marly Marl’s manager signed Kane to his record label Cold Chillin’ Records in 1987, when Kane began to work on solo material. That year he released his debut single, ‘Raw’. After a seven-month recording process in Queensbridge in 1988, Hardy released Long Live The Kane, which featured ‘Ain’t No Half-Steppin’, considered one of the best rap songs of the 1980s.
In the late ’80s, Kane took on a local Bedford-Stuyvesant teen who he believed had talent who quickly became his prodigy child, who would become Jay-Z. By the mid-1990s, Kane had slowly waned in relevance. However, in 2000 he gave an epic freestyle on the Tim Westwood show.
You can listen to the freestyle in the video below.