Mohandas Dewese[1] (born August 8, 1962),[2][4] better known by his stage name Kool Moe Dee, is an American rapper, songwriter and actor.[5] Considered one of the forerunners of the new jack swing sound in hip hop, he gained fame in the 1980s as a member of one of the pioneering groups in hip hop music, the Treacherous Three, and for his later solo career. During his career he released a total of seven studio albums (five of them solo), with 1994's Interlude being the last to date.

Kool Moe Dee
Birth nameMohandas Dewese[1]
Also known asMoel Dewes
Born (1962-08-08) August 8, 1962 (age 61)[2][3]
New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active1978–present

His fast and aggressive rap style[6] influenced following rap figures such as Big Daddy Kane, Beastie Boys, KRS-One, Rakim, Will Smith, N.W.A, Tupac Shakur, Nas, Jay-Z, among others.[7] Among his most famous songs are "Go See the Doctor", "Wild Wild West" and "How Ya Like Me Now".[8]

Kool Moe Dee was ranked No. 33 on's list of the 50 Greatest MCs of Our Time (1987–2007).[9]

Early life and education edit

Born Mohandas Dewese in Harlem, Kool Moe Dee attended the State University of New York at Old Westbury, where he received a degree in communications in 1985.[8]

Career edit

One of Kool Moe Dee's first feats was being part of the first major rap battle in history. He lyrically attacked Busy Bee after one of his performances in 1981. He was extremely mad at Busy Bee, for talking smack about other MC's, claiming that none of them could beat him in a contest. Moe Dee used some of his rhymes from "The New Rap Language" and "Whip It". He also used a little bit of Busy Bee's style during the battle. In 1985, the Treacherous Three disbanded. In 1986, he went solo, releasing a self-titled album that ranked 83 on Billboard. After meeting a young up and coming artist at Sugar Hill records by the name of Lavaba Mallison, who would later become his manager, Kool Moe Dee left Sugar Hill records to join Lavaba Mallison, Robert "Gusto" Wells, Greg Marius and up and coming producer Teddy Riley at the newly founded ROOFTOP records. He co-operated with the young producers Teddy Riley and Lavaba Mallison which contributed to the new jack swing movement that would gain popularity in the years to follow.

Kool Moe Dee released his second album, How Ya Like Me Now which was his most successful album commercially, achieving platinum status. He then went on to release his third album, Knowledge Is King in 1989, which went gold. In 1990, he performed on Quincy Jones' album Back on the Block along with fellow rappers Melle Mel, Big Daddy Kane and Ice-T. The album gained considerable critical and financial success and won the 1991 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 1991, the release of his album Funke, Funke Wisdom signaled Kool Moe Dee's decline. Moe Dee himself has stated that this was his worst album.[10] He induced his release from Jive Records in 1992. After a two-year lay off, he released his greatest hits album which regained some of his former success and acclaim. In 1994, his album Interlude was released and failed to gain Moe Dee much of his former success of the mid-1980s. In 1993, he re-united with his fellow ex members of the Treacherous Three to release the album Old School Flava on Ichiban. His last commercial release was the single "Love Love/What You Wanna Do" which was released on Spoiled Brat Entertainment Inc. Moe Dee appeared in the MTV box office bomb Crossroads as a bartender.

Feud with LL Cool J edit

Kool Moe Dee conducted a long-running rivalry with fellow New York rapper LL Cool J.[8] Along with other rappers such as MC Shan, Kool Moe Dee claimed that LL had stolen their rap styles. He also felt that LL was disrespecting rap pioneers such as Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz by proclaiming that he was "rap's new grandmaster" without paying due respect to those who came before him. He challenged LL on his platinum selling album How Ya Like Me Now on the single of the same name.[8] He also took a shot at LL by appearing on the album cover with a jeep in the background with the wheel crushing one of LL's trademark red Kangol hats.[11]

Behind The Rhyme talk show edit

In 2017[citation needed] he launched as executive producer and host of Behind The Rhyme,[12] a digital talk show series featuring an interview with a hip-hop legend or current star. The premiere episode was released in June 2020,[citation needed] featuring Chuck D, front man of Public Enemy and supergroup Prophets of Rage. The show is executive produced by industry veterans Ann Carli and Devin DeHaven, who also directs the series.[13]

Discography edit

Awards and nominations edit

Grammy Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1988 "Wild Wild West" Best Rap Performance Nominated
1991 "Back on the Block" (with Quincy Jones) Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Won

Appeared on edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Kool Moe Dee". Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  2. ^ a b John Bush. "Kool Moe Dee". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  3. ^ Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn; Fonseca, Anthony J. (1 December 2018). Hip Hop around the World: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 380. ISBN 9780313357596. Retrieved 23 June 2021 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Covington, S. R. (29 April 2008). Sensual Astrology for the African American Woman: Everything You Need to Know about Your Man Through His Sun Sign. Kensington Books. p. 123. ISBN 9781601621177. Retrieved 23 June 2021 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Kool Moe, Dee". Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  6. ^ "Kool Moe Dee Did the Impossible". July 3, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  7. ^ "Kool Moe, Dee (related)". AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-01-11.
  8. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Dance Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 188. ISBN 0-7535-0252-6.
  9. ^ "50 Greatest MCs of Our Time (1987–2007)". February 15, 1999. Archived from the original on April 5, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Kool Dee, Chuck D, Ernie Panniccioli, Kool Mo Dee, Chuck D (November 20, 2003). There's a God on the Mic. The True 50 Greatest MCs. Da Capo Press. ISBN 9781560255338.
  11. ^ Patrick Goldstein, "Kool Moe Grades Rappers: Give Him A+," Los Angeles Times, November 29, 1987.
  12. ^ "Behind The Rhyme with Kool Mo Dee". Behind The Rhyme with Kool Mo Dee. Archived from the original on 2018-11-27. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  13. ^ "Chuck D Tells Kool Moe Dee That Spike Lee Did For Public Enemy What Radio Wouldn't (Video)". 9 June 2017.

External links edit