Big Daddy Kane
Arguably one of the greatest and most influential MC's of all time, Antonio "Big Daddy Kane" Hardy was born on September 10th, 1968 in Bed-Stuy (Bedford-Stuyvesant), New York. Although he grew up in a violent era for his city, the luxury of growing up with two loving parents would prove to be invaluable for his bright future. Following in the steps of his older cousin who was rapping, he would do the same and eventually he became part of the battle rap scene around New York.
As Kane stated in this interview, he would study the great lyricists before him such as Melle Mel & Grandmaster Caz to mold his own rapping style. By doing so he would he would eventually run into the great Biz Markie. After displaying his talents for Biz, he would start to write for Biz Markie & Hip-Hop legend Shante. This would land him a spot in Marley Marl's respected Hip-Hop Juice Crew. Kane would also sign to Marley Marl's label Cold Chillin in 1987 when he would also release his debut underground single "Raw". A year later, his first full-length critically acclaimed album "Long Live the Kane" (1988) would be released with the housed smash hit "Ain't No Half Steppin". This would be considered to be his best effort as his next 5 solo projects would never measure up to the commercial success & impact his debut produced.
Beyond Kane's music, he made waves in pop culture by becoming the first sex-symbol within Hip Hop. He famously modeled in photos for Madonna (as seen below) as well as Playgirl magazine and other edgy publications. His music was very sex-influenced and his persona was as you'd imagine, smooth-talking and fashion-forward. He lead the way for future rappers who identified as "Pimps and Players".
Nonetheless, Big Daddy Kane's skill, effortless flow, philosophical content & sophisticated charisma could only be matched by the god MC himself, "Rakim". He has influenced a whole Hip-Hop culture to continue the art form of rapping and for that he will forever be cemented as a true pioneer of this culture. Even in this interview done by grantland.com, he illuminates how he only wants to be remembered as one of the greatest to have ever stepped to a microphone.
Educate yourself further and check out some classic material by the legendary Big Daddy Kane!