Pioneering American hip hop MC Kool Moe Dee (Mohandas Dewese ) was born August 8, 1962 He was prominent in the late 1970s through the early 1990s when In 1978 Kool Moe Dee formed the hip-hop group Treacherous three with L.A Sunshine (Lamar Hill) who grew up in the same neighborhood and Easy Lee (Theodore Moy’e) who they met in elementary school. Kool Moe Dee and Easy Lee both went to Norman Thomas high school where they met Special K (Kevin Keaton). DJ Easy Lee met Spoonie G through playing basketball and through his sister who knew Spoonie G. with occasional contributions from DJ Dano B, DJ Reggie Reg and DJ Crazy Eddie. They first appeared on record in 1980 on the B side of Spoonie Gee’s single Love Rap.
When Spoonie G left the group, Kool Moe Dee replaced him with Special K. Although he technically had left the group Spoonie G was still affiliated. Spoonie G released a single called Spoonin Rap with the record label Sound of New York, after his relationship broke down with the label he got a deal with Enjoy records which was owned by his uncle Bobby Robinson. He managed to persuade his uncle to let the Treacherous Three to do a song on the B side of his first single with Enjoy which was called Love Rap and the B side was the song New Rap Language, which was released in 1980. New Rap Language was popular and made the group famous for the fast rapping style they used (dubbed speed rapping), which would be what they were originally known for. In 1980 they also released Body Rock, which was one of the first records to mix hip-hop and rock and roll. They also released At the Party, Put the Boogie In Your Body and Feel the Heartbeat (1981), the latter of which was very popular at the time. The group approached Bobby Robinson to express their unhappiness with the money they were making at the time; the group received $3,000 each for each record they made.
In 1981, they moved to Sugar Hill Records. Their first single at Sugarhill was Whip It which featured singer Philippé Wynne, formerly of the Spinners, which was very popular at the time. That single sampled The Dazz Band 1982 hit “Let It Whip”. They then released the song Yes We Can-Can which followed on from the political trend that was set by the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s single “The Message.” In 1983, they released Action, Turning you On and Get Up. In 1984 they released, Xmas Rap and Santa’s Rap. By 1985 the group was being overshadowed by other groups such as Run-D.M.C. and L.A Sunshine was getting increasingly frustrated with their financial situation at Sugarhill and eventually became disillusioned with making records. During this time many of the groups signed to Sugarhill Records were put on suspension and Special K and L.A Sunshine didn’t want to make any more records for Sylvia Robinson (the co-owner of Sugarhill). Kool Moe Dee was the only MC in the group that was still actively working for Sugarhill, writing for the Sugarhill Gang. In 1985 Kool Moe Dee managed to persuade Special K and L.A Sunshine to go back into the studio to record Gotta Rock. when it came to recording the B side to Gotta Rock, Turn it Up L.A Sunshine did not turn up to the recording session and Special K did not stay for the full session. Kool Moe Dee felt that Special K’s rhymes were not up to his usual standards and therefore left them out. This would lead to the rise to Kool Moe Dee’s solo career and the breakup of the group.
The Group also had a short lived film career. Kool Moe Dee and L.A Sunshine had a brief cameo appearance in the movie Wildstyle, at the end of the film they are seen performing. Kool Moe Dee can also be seen briefly during the film as well. In 1984 they appeared in the film Beat Street, where they performed their song Santa’s Rap along with a young Doug E. Fresh. Kool Moe Dee later went on to appear in numerous films and Television programmes after the group split up. Kool Moe Dee released rap single “Wild Wild West” in 1988. In 1993, the group resurfaced to do a reunion album on Easy Lee’s record label Wrap Records. The album, Old School Flava was released in 1994. The first single released was “Feel the New Heartbeat” which was a remix of the original record “Feel the Heartbeat”, the new version included Doug E. Fresh. DJ Easy Lee expressed the view that one of the reasons that the album was not as well received as they thought it would be was because the new version of “Feel the Heartbeat” was almost exactly the same and that they should have released the posse cut “We Wit It” which featured Big Daddy Kane, Chuck D, Grandmaster Caz, Heavy D, Melle Mel, and Tito (of The Fearless Four); this song was a lot more popular but was never released as a single. In 1999 the group released Turn It Up which featured previously released records and was their unofficial greatest hits album. Since then the group has not released any new material.
The Treacherous Three are remembered as the originators of fast rapping, they directly influenced MCs such as T La Rock, LL Cool J and Rakim. They are also known as the first MC’s to represent lyrical rap. They were also the first MCs to perform in Brazil, Holland, and Bermuda and were among the first MC’s to travel to approximately 14 other countries. Kool Moe Dee began a successful solo career in 1986 and is known for such classic hits as “Wild Wild West”, “Go See the Doctor”, “God Made Me Funke”, “I Go To Work” and “How Ya Like Me Now”. Special K put out his own solo single in 1987. L.A went on to choreograph all of Kool Moe Dee’s videos just as he did with all of the Treacherous Three’s shows. DJ Easy Lee moved on to producing music and took a job as National Director of Promotions at Itchiban records.
After leaving the group, Kool Moe Dee attended the State University of New York at Old Westbury, where he received a degree in communications. In 1986, he went solo, releasing a self-titled album that ranked 83 on Billboard. He co-operated with the young producer Teddy Riley which contributed greatly to the new jack swing movement that would gain popularity in the years to follow.
Kool Moe Dee then released a commecially successful second album, How Ya Like Me Now. And release his third album, Knowledge Is King in 1989. 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 winning the 1991 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
In 1991, he released the album Funke Wisdom this was follwed In 1993 by the releaseof 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 ’80s. 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 onSpoiled Brat Entertainment inc’.
Kool Moe Dee had a long-running rivalry with fellow New York rapper LL Cool J. 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. 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. The feud persisted, with both MCs proclaiming themselves the victor. In 2017 he launched as executive producer and host of Behind The Rhyme, a digital talk show series featuring an unflinching interview with a hip-hop legend or current star. The premiere episode was released in June 2017 featuring hip-hop legend and front man of Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage Chuck D. The show is executive produced by industry veterans Ann Carli and Devin DeHaven, who also directs the series