Kool Moe Dee – Kool Moe Dee (1986)

In 1986, Kool Moe Dee released his self titled debut, Kool Moe Dee.  Kool Moe Dee, formerly of the pioneering rap group, The Treacherous Three, is probably best remembered for his infamous battle with LL Cool J.  Moe Dee (who was a well respected emcee back in the early eighties) accused LL of stealing his rhymes and proclaiming himself king without out paying his dues (I find it interesting in the album notes liner notes, he “thanks” LL amongst others, for “breaking his style through”…it reeks of sarcasm). Based on the fact that LL is still making music (which at times I wonder why) and Moe Dee hasn’t released an album anyone has actually listened to since 91′, its pretty safe to say LL won the war.  In Moe Dee’s 2003 book release There’s A God On The Mic, he “modestly” named himself the 5th greatest emcee of all time, while LL came in at 7th.  The fact that Moe Dee proclaimed himself a better emcee than LL is not as shocking as the fact he also ranks himself above such greats as Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z, Kool G Rap, and a bunch of other emcees that would rap circles around the little burnt up French Fry.  I happened upon Kool Moe Dee at a local Pawn America a year or so ago, while on one of my many used cd excursions, and paid a whopping 99 cents for it.  While I’m familiar with the work on his latter solo projects (i.e. How Ya Like Me Now and Knowledge Is King), I’ve never heard Kool Moe Dee in its entirety.  On that note let’s give this disc a spin and see if our humble host is worthy of the praise he showers himself with.
Go See The Doctor – Moe Dee starts things off with a cautionary tale about being overly promiscuous.  The open line (I was walking down the street, rocking my beat, clamping my hands, and stomping my feet) paints a pretty funny visual.  Can you imagine a dude walking down the street, with headphones on, clapping his hands and periodically stopping to stomp his feet? Hi-larious!  This song is filled with sound bites other artist would later sample.  Moe Dee demonstrates his strong storytelling ability over a simple but decent enough track.  This was a pretty good start to the show, nicely done Moe Dee. 

Dumb Dick (Richard) – Moe Dee keeps with the storytelling, this time spinning a tale about a guy name Dick who thinks with his, um, dick.  Moe Dee uses very clever wordplay (“he hated to go (to school), but he loved to cum”) over an empty drum beat.  Even with the empty beat, Moe Dee’s lyrics are engaging and entertaining enough to keep this song from getting boring. This was enjoyable.

Bad Mutha – Moe Dee hits us with a battle rap, not necessary aimed at Mr. Smith, although he does refer to a “ biting barbaric” who rhymes over “fresh beats with weak lyrics”. Hmmm…I love how he takes a shot at Slick Rick, claiming to like his songs a lot, only to turn around and call him an “average” emcee.  I have to admit, Moe Dee killed it on this one, living up to the song title. 

Little Jon – Just so opposing emcees can regroup after being destroyed on the previous song, Moe Dee goes back to his proficient storytelling.  This time he gives us a tale about Lil Jon (no, not the crunk captain that reigns in ATL, YEAH!) who is overcome by the demons of street life. Though I wasn’t crazing about the beat, the syntherzied track sounds more complete the most of what we’ve heard up to this point on Kool Moe Dee, thanks to a few guitar licks, and the Roger Troutman-like vocal on the hook.  This was decent.

Do You Know What Time It Is?  –  Moe Dee sends a warning to the ladies: you won’t get in his pockets, though, he’ll try to get in your pants, because he knows the time.  This was…okay…I guess

Rock Steady – I failed to mention this earlier, but the entire album was produced by Moe Dee and the Godfather of New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley (and a few other dudes I’ve never heard of). Moe Dee would continue to work with Riley on his latter work, a few which became major hits. Oh yeah, back to the song, it sucked. 

Monster Crack – Ah, clever Moe Dee… smooth transition from “Rock Steady” into “Monster Crack”.  Moe Dee tackles the issue of crack use from several different perspectives. Once again, Moe Dee’s rhymes are proficient, but the track left a lot to be desire. Though the rhymes are pretty good, unlike some of the earlier songs, they’re not interesting enough to ignore the lacking track, making this just, okay. 

The Best –  Right from the jump, Moe Dee in your face with a lecture on the elements that make up a great emcee, and he never lets up.  Moe Dee is college educated, and I think I read somewhere at one point he was a college professor.  Over one of the more engaging beats on the album, Moe Dee rips this to shreds,  while learnin’ opposing emcees a lesson or two. I will no longer sleep, Moe Dee can spit! This was really nice.

I’m Kool Moe Dee – Moe Dee poses the question “Are you crazy?”, to anyone questioning his position in the emcee food chain.  Moe Dee proclaims himself as the greatest of all time, while calling out emcees who’ve made their name by “screamin and yellin’” (if this isn’t a direct shot at LL, then I don’t know what one is).  The simple drum beat works well with Moe Dee’s rhymes on this one, as he completely destroys this one.  Moe Dee is a beast! Great way to end your solo debut.

I’ll admit, my knowledge of hip-hop from the early 80’s is limited. I’m always searching the net, local pawn shops, and record stores for more albums from those early days. That said, from the stuff that I’ve listened to from this era, Koo Moe Dee definitely deserves to be mentioned in the conversation as the best (at least during that era). Looking back at the reviews I’ve done up to this point, Moe Dee makes Run DMC, the Beasties, and Whodini, all sound like amateurs compared to his lyrical output on Kool Moe Dee.  Young LL had one album under his belt upon this album’s release,  and while he would improve, and in my eyes ultimately when the war of words with Moe Dee, Mr. Smith wasn’t fuckin’ with Moe Dee at this point.  Kool Moe Dee proves that Moe Dee he is a bona-fide lyricist (with a bit of a chip on his shoulder) ready to take on anyone who crossed his path or questions his ability and dominance.  Although Moe Dee, Mr. Riley, and the rest of the production team’s beats needed a lot of work (like most earlier 80’s hip-hop artist), Moe Dee’s emcee skills carry this album to make it an overall enjoyable listen. Sorry for doubting you Mr. Moe Dee.


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5 Responses to Kool Moe Dee – Kool Moe Dee (1986)

  1. Tony a Wilson says:

    The man who transformed hip hop. Being 51 I’m well versed in all eras of hip hop. Shortly after this came out Rakim BDK Public Enemy Ultra BDP Kool g Rap followed. Now, who do you think they studied? Moe Dee and Melle Mel. He was late on sampling in production. Also his arrogance was too much to take at times. YouTube some of his old video interviews and you’ll see what I mean.

    • deedub77 says:

      Tony! You’re a little older than me, so I always appreciate your insight…I’ll definitely check out some of his interviews. Thanks for reading!

  2. Man E. Fresh says:

    His prime would fall from here, but great lyricist.

  3. Kristian Keddie says:

    I bought that album in 89 aged 15 yes ive since lost it…vinyl too probably worth money ? Not lost stolen

  4. Kristian Keddie says:

    Sorry i was actually talking about Knowledge is King. Been drinking

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