The Millennial & Gen-Z Guide to KRS-One VERZUZ Big Daddy Kane

KRS-One live in the Bronx in 2021.

Gen-Z and Millennials, here’s a Cheat Sheet for the KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane VERZUZ!

Young people are certainly not the target audience for the upcoming VERZUZ battle between Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One. However the matchup provides an amazing chance for younger fans to learn about the artists that help build hip-hop. 

When I was a little kid, I learned about KRS-One from watching VH1’s 100 Greatest hip-hop songs. The song highlighted was My Philosophy by Boogie Down Productions, an undeniable classic. Nowadays – VH1 and MTV mostly air reruns of Ridiculousness or Love & Hip-Hop, so there isn’t nearly as much mainstream exposure for throwback artists. 

For younger hip-hop fans, we’re going to break down just who KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane are – so that you can enjoy the VERZUZ with the old heads this weekend.

Big Daddy Kane:

  • Was born in 1968 and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Rapped as a member of the Juice Crew, alongside artists Biz Markie, Marley Marl, Mr. Magic, and many more from 1983-1991.
  • His stage name is a mash up of a character named “Caine” from the 1970’s TV show Kung Fu, and a character named “Big Daddy” from the 1963 film Beach House. His government name has no variation of the name Kane. 
  • When Kane was a teenager he became close friends with a young Biz Markie. Kane would go on to write for Biz.
  • In the early 90’s Big Daddy Kane brought Jay-Z on tour. 


  • Was born in 1965 and raised in the Bronx, New York.
  • Rapped as a member of Boogie Down Productions, alongside D-Nice and Scott La Rock from 1986-1992.
  • KRS-One’s name is both an abbreviation meaning “Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone” and an homage to his nickname “Kris.”
  • KRS-One met Scott La Rock while living in a homeless shelter, the two began to do graffiti and make music.
  • KRS-One formed the Stop the Violence Movement, made a song advocating for the freeing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and has always been politically active.

Similarities and Differences:

  • Big Daddy Kane was far more of a flashy celebrity than KRS-One who was more lowkey.
  • KRS-One is one of the fathers of conscious rap, whereas Big Daddy Kane whose style is more swaggering. 
  • Both rappers came up in the 1980’s New York rap scene.
  • Both rappers are featured on Cormega’s Mega Fresh alongside Grand Puba, Red Alert, and Parrish Smith.
  • Both KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane have impeccable flows and delivery that are largely unmatched today. 

Songs to Expect and Check Out:

Big Daddy Kane:

Ain’t No Half Steppin, Smooth Operator, Kane Warm It Up, Raw, Nuff Respect, Set It Off, and some Biz Markie songs he has writing credits on – like Nobody Beats the Biz. (Ebro In The Morning listeners may recognize Nobody Beats the Biz as the theme to the Rosenberg Report.) Kane could also play original Juice Crew songs like The Symphony. If you’re looking for celebrity surprises – Kane sings the hook on Feels Like Another One by Patti LaBelle, which would be amazing to see quite frankly. 


Sound of da Police, Step Into a World, MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know, and 9mm Goes Bang are a great introduction to KRS-One. Boogie Down Productions songs like Love’s Gonna Get’cha and My Philosophy will be crowd pleasers. KRS-One will probably bring out Channel Live, who he collaborated with often and D-Nice, but he absolutely has less tricks up his sleeve than Kane. If KRS-One brings out any big name celebrity it’ll probably be Diddy, who is featured on the remix to Step Into a World. 

Tune into VERZUZ this Sunday 10/17 at 7pm – LIVE from the Barclays Center.