25. Big Daddy Kane, "Ain't No Half-Steppin'"
When Jay Z christened Brooklyn's Barclays Center with an eight-show run, he only brought out one guest: Big Daddy Kane. And for good reason: Antonio Hardy was the killer wordsmith of hip-hop's golden age. On "Ain't No Half-Steppin'," his tone is rich and commanding as he rocks tightly coiled, extended metaphors over Marley Marl's laidback groove: "Rappers, you better be/Ready to die because you're petty/You're just a butter knife, I'm a machete." Legend has it even Rakim turned down a challenge to go mic-to-mic with Kane.