BIG DADDY KANE - SMOOTH OPERATOR: Amongst people who actually know what they’re talking about, when the HipHop conversation swings around to who is the greatest “Old School” emcee or even the greatest emcee, three names have to be considered and near the top: KRS-One, Rakim and Big Daddy Kane.

Of course you can argue about others, but these three have to at least be included or the entire discussion is null and void.

Of these three, it’s typically Big Daddy who gets short changed. This is largely attributable to the fact that KRS and Rakim are still around making music that segments of the HipHop community still enjoy, while Kane hit his peak back in 1989 with the release of his second album, “Long Live the Kane.”

Sure, he put out 5 more albums in the following 9 years, but if you can name 3 out of the 5, you’ve probably got the average HipHopper beaten by 3.

But forget all of that. During the late ‘80s Kane elevated and influenced HipHop music and fashion with a blend of style and substance that previously didn’t exist.

Kane was the first emcee to sport all of the trappings that would ultimately become HipHop clichés years later. He had the gold chains, the girls, the silk suits, the fur coats, the cigar, and the laidback pimp, player hustler style. The difference between Kane and others who followed the path he laid is that Kane was an absolutely devastating emcee whose enunciation, lyrics and flow helped him earn the Kane moniker – King Asiatic Nobody's Equal.

Beyond his solo work which includes classic material like “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’,” “Wrath of Kane,” “I Get the Job Done,” “Smooth Operator,” and others, Kane was a member of the legendary Juice Crew and ghostwrote songs for Biz Markie among others.

As for the piece itself, I didn’t want to portray the smoothed out Kane with the hat, cigar and silk suit. Instead I went for the R-A-W, hard rhyming Kane that came across in much of his early work. I also wanted to capture some of that late ‘80s b-boy style of phat gold chains, high-top fades, and four-finger rings.

The featured lyrics are from the first verse of “Warm It Up, Kane.”