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Kool Moe Dee
Kool Moe Dee

Old School Hip Hop


In the Beastie Boys' song "Intergalactic" they rhyme "Got an A from Moe Dee for sticking to themes." The "A" is in reference to the score of 10 that Kool Moe Dee gave the Beastie Boys in his infamous rapper's report card. What the Beastie Boys didn't mention in that song was the other relatively low marks that they received from Kool Moe Dee. The break down looks like this:

Vocabulary: 6

Articulation: 7

Creativity: 7

Originality: 6

Versatility: 6

Voice: 6

Records: 8

Stage Presence: 8

Sticking to Themes: 10

Innovating Rhymes: 6

Overall Score: 70 ... C

With an overall score of seventy the Beastie Boys were ranked the absolute lowest of the rappers on Kool Moe Dee's report card. The Beastie Boys did make a mention of their difference of opinion on the subject when they appeared on a European music video countdown show entitled "Wanted" in 1992. Overall the band did not seem to take too much offense to Kool Moe Dee's criticism and in 1994 they even mentioned him in a song lyric from "Root Down." To be exact, "Like Harlem World Battles On The Zulu Beat Show It's Kool Moe Dee Vs. Busy Bee There's One You Should Know."

Prior to his historic battle against Busy Bee, Kool Moe Dee had paid his rap dues in the act The Treacherous Three. The Treacherous Three were also legends amongst battle tape collectors, but Kool Moe Dee made his own way after leaving the group and earning a communications degree from a New York college. Using his natural knack for communications, Kool Moe Dee set off on a solo career while he was still signed to the Sugar Hill label with The Treacherous Three. First he released the single "Turn It Up" and lent his writing talents to the Sugar Hill Gang's single "The Down Beat" of which he also recorded his own version. Both singles were released in 1985.

After taking a short break, Kool Moe Dee decided to re-enter the hip-hop record business full time and enlisted the help of an unknown producer named Teddy Riley. If you're not familiar with Teddy Riley's later productions, you're not familiar with hip-hop history. The first single they teamed up on was "Go See the Doctor" and consequently it made them both famous. So famous in fact that by 1986 Kool Moe Dee had been signed to Jive and was on his way to releasing his first full length solo album. In 1987, with the release of his next album How Ya Like Me Now and the single of the same name, Kool Moe Dee moved into one of the most highlighted portions of his career. Battling was nothing new to Kool Moe Dee, but his lyrical battle with LL Cool J grabbed the attention of the entire hip-hop community.

Kool Moe Dee took on LL Cool J in a war of words. After being attacked, LL Cool J fired back with "Jack the Ripper." This prompted Kool Moe Dee to return with "Let's Go." LL Cool J once again countered with "To The Break of Dawn." And lastly, Kool Moe Dee finished up with "Death Blow." There was no clear winner, but the battle had helped to sell many records for both artists and give the young Def Jam star LL Cool J legendary status in his own right.

So in retrospect, the Beastie Boys having received criticism from a great talent like Kool Moe Dee was not nearly as disrespectful as many rap magazines had played it up at the time. Kool Moe Dee after all became the first rapper to ever perform on the Grammy Awards show. At a time when hip-hop struggled for credibility as a legitimate form of music, Kool Moe Dee was there to see it through so that acts like the Beastie Boys could take it to the next level in the years to come.

Kerry King Kostars