On this day, May 30, in hip-hop history…
1989: Kool Moe Dee dropped off his third studio album, Knowledge Is King, which was an instant classic. Kool Moe Dee, born Mohandas Dewese, was present from the start of hip-hop’s emergence as a game-changing genre, and with this album, cemented his place in hip-hop history.
Knowledge Is King sits at 11 tracks, the most popular of which was “Let’s Go.” The fast-paced wordplay took aim at LL Cool J with whom Moe Dee had some subliminal beef with at the time. “Talk about a battle, but you don’t wanna do it/You got yourself into it, you blew it/You egomaniac, I’m a brainiac/You came back with a stone cold plain attack/Your rhymes are weak-wack, how can you speak that?” Moe Dee rhymes.
Kool Moe Dee’s third album went on to peak at No. 1 on the Billboard Hip-Hop charts and eventually went gold. A number of the tracks on Knowledge Is King, took inspiration the iconic James Brown, including songs “They Want Money,” “I Go to Work,” and the eponymous track “Knowledge is King.”
After Knowledge Is King, Moe Dee went on to drop two more albums: Funke, Funke Wisdom in 1991 and Interlude in 1994.
Despite the fact that Kool Moe Dee is 55 now, he’s still up to date with the current movements in hip-hop. Macklemore tapped Kool Moe Dee and a number of other founding members in hip-hop (Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz were also included) for his music video for “Downtown.” Of the experience, Kool Moe Dee told XXL in 2015 that “the fact that he reached out showed me—regardless of what anyone thinks about as him as an MC or an artist or a rapper or whatever—that his consciousness is at a stage where, at the very least, he’s thinking about things in a realm that has very little to do with whatever is hot or what the status quo is or going along with the flow.”
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