Mohandas Dewese (born August 8, 1962), better known as Kool Moe Dee, is an American hip hop MC prominent in the late 1970s through the early 1990s. He was one of the first rappers to earn a Grammy Award and was the first rapper to perform at the Grammys.
Dewese was born in Manhattan, New York City. He had a reputation for being a quiet, eccentric young man, frequently holding a pen and paper to write his rhymes. He holds a B.A. degree from the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.
In the late 1970s, Kool Moe Dee met Special K, DJ Easy Lee, and LA Sunshine to form the influential old school hip hop group the Treacherous Three on Enjoy Records. It was with The Treacherous Three in 1981 that Kool Moe Dee performed his freestyle onstage roast of old school party rapper Busy Bee Starski, a performance frequently cited as a pivotal moment in the development of the battle rap and the lyrical rapper. In 1981, they moved to Sugar Hill Records along with another Enjoy Records act Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The Treacherous Three became well known for their singles "Feel the Heart Beat" and "Action", and their song "The New Rap Language" (with Spoonie G) earned Kool Moe Dee the distinction of inventing the "double time" flow, which involved rapid sixteenth-note delivery with a lot of internal rhyme. The Treacherous Three were featured in the 1984 movie Beat Street, performing the song "Xmas Rap" with Doug E. Fresh.
In 1985, the Treacherous Three disbanded. 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 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 winning 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. 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 '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'.
Feud with LL Cool J:
Kool Moe Dee conducted 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.
Kool Moe Dee appeared on Will Smith's #1 pop hit "Wild Wild West" from Smith's 1999 motion picture, Wild Wild West, on which he re-performs the chorus to his 1988 single also named "Wild Wild West".
In 2003, he authored a book called There's a God on the Mic (ISBN 1-56025-533-1), which breaks down his 50 favorite MCs in terms of originality, concepts, versatility, vocabulary, substance, flow, flavor, freestyle, vocal presence, live performance, poetic value, body of work, industry impact, social impact, longevity, lyrics and battle skills, where he ranked himself as number #5, ahead of MCs such as The GZA, and Tupac Shakur. He placed LL Cool J at #7, despite their past disputes and rivalry, even referring to LL as an "unbreakable master".
In 2007, Kool Moe Dee appeared on the remix of Nas' "Where are They Now", with fellow old school rap artists. He released some new tracks and a video on his MySpace page to accompany one of the songs. He also appeared on the Ice-T track "Fight Club" and re-recorded several of his more popular songs.
In 2008, he began hosting SpitFire with Kool Mo Dee, an internet hip hop talk show. The show contains discussion on issues relating to both hip hop culture and general issues that affect the world. Each show has a different panel of guests, including Xzibit, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, DMC, and many others.
Kool Moe Dee had a brief cameo appearance in the movie Wild Style and appeared in the film Beat Street with the Treacherous Three and Doug E. Fresh. Since then, he has appeared in a total of 17 movies and TV shows as an actor and 21 as himself. He portrayed a bartender in the Britney Spears feature film Crossroads. He has also appeared on the TV show My Wife and Kids.