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Big Daddy Kane is without doubt one of the most influential rappers of all time. Coming into the game around the same time as Rakim and KRS-One, the slick talking Brooklyn MC changed the lyrical landscape forever.

Looking at rap’s history, you can trace the DNA of fellow Brooklyn greats like The Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z to Big Daddy Kane, everything from the witty punchlines to the technical prowess on the mic, down to the flashy fashion sense.

Born Antonio Hardy in Brooklyn, New York, Kane was initially drawn to DJing before getting into writing rhymes, inspired by Grandmaster Caz aka Casanova Fly. “Grandmaster Caz is pretty much who I developed my style from,” Kane told HipHopDX. “Like my whole rap style once I started really developing it in the mid ‘80s was really based around what I heard from Grandmaster Caz.”

In 1984, Kane would meet Biz Markie who helped introduce the Brooklyn MC to the rap game. “I really started taking rap seriously when I met Biz,” Kane told Brian Coleman. “Biz used to come around a lot, and he’d take me to a lot of parties, like Mike & Dave used to throw back in the day. We’d go onstage and rhyme. Biz would get in lots of spots for free, and lots of them would let us get on the mic. Like Latin Quarter, all the Mike & Dave parties, and spots on Long Island.”

It wasn’t long before Biz recruited Kane’s deft penmanship to help co-write some of his rhymes. On Biz’s 1988 debut album, Goin’ Off, Kane ended up writing on five of the album’s 10 tracks, including “Pickin’ Boogers”, “Biz is Goin’ Off”, “Nobody Beats the Biz”, “Albee Square Mall” and “Vapors.”

Marley Marl: One day Kane showed up at my door saying, “I was supposed to meet Biz at the train station over here. I got some lyrics for him, I’m his writer.” And I’m like, “Come on — he got to do better than that to get in my house, dude. You can’t just tell me you’re his writer and you’re gonna get in. Tell me something you wrote for him that didn’t come out yet.” And he said a line that I knew never came out. Oh, it must be true cause he knew. So I let him in, and then Biz came, and he was like, “That’s my boy, Kane.” Then after a while Kane started coming to sessions — never saying that he was a rapper. One day he came by himself and said, “I want to hear my voice on the track.” So I said, “Let’s see what you got,” and I just threw up “I’ll Take You There,” and that was our first song we ever made together.

Marley Marl On The Bridge Wars, LL Cool J And Discovering Sampling | NPR
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