Verzuz has already covered several high-profile battles throughout its short time being the hottest show on the market, but Sunday’s (Oct. 17) showdown might have been the most special.
Two of hip-hop’s most legendary MCs, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One, were next to duke it out in the ring and they gave fans an event worthy of conversation. Fans inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, were taken back to the late 1980s where hip-hop was just becoming a household name. The landscape was different during this era, and MCs needed to prove their skill and talent to prove who’s really the best in the game. Despite it being a celebration, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One were going to make sure this was a heavyweight fight worthy of representing the golden era of hip-hop.
From the start, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One went straight to work performing some of their all-time classics. The Teacha had knockout dreams on his mind playing tracks such as “I’m Still #1,” “The MC,” and “Jack of Spades” but BDK was well equipped to take the fury of lyrical punches. The Brooklyn native sensed his friend of over 35 years wasn’t going to play nice and returned a few body blows in the form of records such as “Set It Off,” “Mortal Combat,” “Raw” and more.
The culture was alive and well Sunday night, and fans got to see why these two legends are pioneers in their own right. KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane still have what it takes to teach the new generation about what it means to be an MC, even at 56 and 53 years old, respectively. With this battle, Verzuz continues to show why they constantly raise the bar when it comes to delivering fans a hell of a show.
Billboard conjured up a list of the five best moments from the 20-round battle, including guest appearances, rap skill, nostalgia, and more. Check out the picks below.
1. Big Daddy Kane vs. KRS-One Was a Master Class in Breath Control
The Lox may have shown how important it is to know your lyrics during their Verzuz showdown in August, but Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One took that to another level Sunday night. The legendary MCs proved their lungs are still functional with an impressive display of breath control. KRS-One can still command a crowd with his booming voice when records such as “Outta Here” and “9MM Goes Bang” rang throughout the Barclays Center. On the other hand, Big Daddy Kane’s rapid-fire delivery on songs like “‘Nuff Respect (Remix)” and “Wrath of Kane” had fans wrapped up in his dizzying rhymes.
2. The Golden Era of Hip Hop Would Be Nothing Without the Pioneers
Sunday night’s Verzuz was a showdown between two of hip-hop’s greatest MCs, but it also celebrated the genre’s golden era. KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane hit concertgoers with rhymes and beats, but their star-studded guest list had fans reliving their childhood, from iconic hip-hop figures such as Nice & Smooth, to Das EFX, Mad Lion, Eric B, Kool DJ Red Alert, and Roxanne Shante, who even dished out a cold freestyle of her own.
3. Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One Ditch the Hits For Freestyles
There was a time in hip-hop where rappers had to make sure their rhymes stayed sharp if they wanted to be taken seriously. KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane took the gloves off and relived those days of rap ciphers and coming up with rhymes on the spot with a special bonus round. The two MCs would do off-the-top verses in between records until Big Daddy Kane called for KRS-One to join him in a round that was strictly for freestyling. Both men delivered, leaving fans in awe of their lyrical abilities at their age.
4. Crazy Legs and Pop Master Show TikTok Dances Have Nothing on Breaking
Breakdancing is one of the four elements of hip-hop, and it wouldn’t have been a celebration of the golden era without some form of breaking present on Sunday night. On top of giving fans a bonus freestyle round, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One brought out their crews that included legendary breakers such as Crazy Legs and Pop Master for a dance battle fit for a showdown like the one happening inside the Barclays Center. Fans were calling for Big Daddy Kane to bust out some OG moves, but he opted for the B-Boys to steal the show.
5. Verzuz Almost Turned Into A Full-Fledged DJ Battle
As if Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One going at each other’s necks wasn’t enough, fans were paying attention to the battle going on behind the DJ booths. DJ Scratch and DJ Kid Capri were battling to see who was the best, and it was a hard choice for people inside the Barclays Arena. The back-and-forth between the two respected DJs got to a point where Scratch took off his sneaker, attempting to scratch his records while Kid Capri started freestyling to show he’s not only gifted on the turntables.