15)Big Daddy Kane – Aint No Half Steppin

Song: Aint No Half Steppin

Album: Long Live The Kane

Year: 1988

For many people this was their Mt. Everest moment of Hip-Hop, after which point the four faces of Hip-Hop’s Mt. Rushmore should have been Big Daddy Kane, DJ Mister Cee, and backup dancers Scoob and Scrap Lover. This was a moment you really had to be there for, some of the wit sounds a bit dated in retrospect and explaining Kane to a kid enthralled by Gucci Mane today (nothing against the guy but I’m decidedly not a fan) would be like pulling teeth.

One of the most gifted wordsmiths of modern time, Phonte Coleman has gone on record saying Kane was his influence to start rapping, breaking it down (and I’m paraphrasing here) saying “When I heard Kane, he was smooth with it but he also let people know he wasn’t a punk.” This breaks down  “Aint No Half Steppin” to a tee, the confidence and finesse exuded on this song has been debatably rivaled on many an occasion by only Rakim and its what everyone from CL Smooth to Black Thought, Mos Def, and Roc Marciano have been trying to emulate for years. Ice cold delivery, razor sharp lines, switching flows, he practically invented the concept of being in the zone with the “best, oh yes I guess, suggest the rest should fess, don’t mess or test, your high-ness” bars in the second verse. We wouldn’t have DJ Scratch’s infamous “Friday The 13th I’mma play Jason” routine without this song (I cant find a youtube clip but EPMD’s DJ would rise from below the tables wearing the movie villain’s mask while cutting up this line) Biggie shouted it out on “Sky’s The Limit” (in 88 when Kane ruled with “Half Steppin”) and plenty others have bowed in reverence borrowing lines from this golden moment in history.

As fate would have it, Big Daddy Kane played a sizeable role in my next selection…

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