Golden Era Hip Hop fans will likely remember an unofficial, yet implied, simmering beef between Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. The two New Yorkers enjoyed both commercial and critical success for the better part of the 80’s and 90’s, and they are widely regarded as two of Hip Hop’s greatest emcees. While they never had an outright battle like KRS-One and MC Shan, Rakim did confirm that the pair weren’t exactly on the best of terms.
“With “Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em,” I ain’t gonna say the whole song was for Kane, but it was about three or four bars I put in there for Kane,” Rakim explained during a short viral he filmed with R.A. The Rugged Man. “Kane heard it, and my man Ant Live—Eric B’s brother—played it for him and gave Kane the number. Kane called my crib while I was sitting at the crib.”
Rakim added that Big Daddy Kane helped diffuse the situation, and the two emcees hashed out their differences. Based on their conversation, and the dynamic of knowing each other but still remaining professional rivals, Rakim said he removed three or four bars that referenced Kane from the song. While he says the pair haven’t spoken in a while, Rakim maintains that everything remains cool between them. In past interviews, Rakim has reiterated that both Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap kept him on his toes and were “measuring sticks.” Rakim’s full interview with R.A. The Rugged Man is below.