Rakim vs. Big Daddy Kane is one of the great hip-hop “What Ifs.”
The two legendary emcees were arguably the two most respected lyricists of the late 80s to early 90s, and fans have heard whispers for years that there was subtle animosity between Kane and Rakim at one point. Though the tension never turned into a full-on rap battle during a recent appearance on MTV’s “RapFix” Big Daddy Kane explained how it all unfolded.
According to Kane, Rakim recorded a diss song called “Break The Wrath In Half” that called Kane out specifically.
“Back then I didn’t really know Ra like that,” said Kane. “It was like me and [Rakim’s DJ] Eric B. was the ones that was cool. Because of that, it was a type of thing where I would never go at Eric’s emcee. It was something that I know people wanted to see and I would have loved to have seen it happen, but Eric was my man so I wasn’t gonna go at his emcee. And Rakim never went at me.”
“But then one day, what happened was this girl gave me a photo,” he continued. “I remember it like it was yesterday. And it said, ‘Dear Kane, I want to set it off and get R.A.W. Ain’t no half-stepping’ because I’m gonna break your wrath in half.’ So, I handed the picture to my man Ant Live who’s Eric B.’s brother. He asked her about it and she said, ‘Yeah, Rakim got this song called ‘Break The Wrath In Half.’ You ain’t heard it? Eric B. played it for me.’ So, we laughing about it, but at that point Ant was like ‘Yo, this is just getting too out of hand, man. Y’all really need to talk.’ So, Ant Live called Rakim and he told me that he had a line he was gonna put in a song but he took it out. I told him I had something that I was gonna put in a song, but, you know, I took it out. We just squashed it and left it alone.”