Kool Moe Dee – Knowledge Is King Anniversary

Maybe because he’s an old school rapper that people forget about KMD, but the man is a pioneer and his third studio album is one of his greatest.  Kool Moe Dee released “Knowledge Is King” on May 30 1989 and consists of 11 tracks from one of the most slept on rappers of all time.

The album starts with the playa’s anthem “They Want Money” where Kool Moe Dee explains the problems of being a playa over a slick reworked sample of “It’s Just Begun”.  He warns us with lyrics like these,

“Park my ride and the ladies hit it
So many ladies the cops had a hint
They took me in cause they thought I pimped
Jetted from the station back in a flash
They had nothing on me but cold cold cash
Ladies they all wanna get with
The man with the money
So they wanna sit with
The microphone master
And ride shotgun
So people can see ya
And think I got one”

I Go To Work” is vintage Moe Dee with a track that sounds it was made for James Bond (as does the video).  If you ever wondered if KMD is a true MC and not just a old school rapper, listen to this track and his flow.  It gets no better than,

“I go to work
Like a doctor
When I rock the mic
You got to like
The way I operate
I make miracles happen
Just from rappin’
I’m so lyrically potent
And I’m flowin’
And explodin’
On the scene mean
I got the potential
To make you go
Then chill
I got the credentials
That is of which I chose
To make a rhyme
And chill
Then you know
I will fulfill
To make a couple of mill
As I build a guild
For all the rappers and skills
And kill the weak rappers and no thrills
Hang ’em an effigy
If he’s a sucker
Hang ’em to the left of me”

He then goes back to the ladies with “All Night Long” but this ain’t Lionel Ritchie!  He takes “Groove Me” by King Floyd, flips it and dedicates it to the ladies.  Watching the video, you can tell that Jive Records wanted to send the message that Kool Moe Dee is not just a rapper, but a sex symbol (just like that kid from Queens that rocks the bells).

“Scintillating, sultry, stimulating, sexy
Super, subtle, smart and seductive
Sensitive, serious, succulent, sensuous
Softly saying she loves this!”

The highlight of the album is the title track that brings out the best from Moe Dee!  The track has intelligence, positivity and spirituality!  This track definitely makes my Top 3 Kool Moe Dee cuts of all time.  All the while he keeps it funky with KC and the Sunshine Band’s “I Get Lifted” boogie beat sampled to bring it all together.

“I ain’t goin’
I’m gone
Up up up and away
And I’m on
A higher plane
With a brain
With a flame
Feel the fire
Desire the same
Knowledge and wisdom
And understanding
Possessed by gods
Transferred to man in
A script of a book
A scripture that looks
Like a Biblical writing
Inviting a hook
Of a song sing along with a strong
Message divesting all men from
Acts of the Devil
Revealed and reveled
Designed to recline the mind to lower level
Read the Holy Koran
Or the Bible
Because it’s liable
To be a revival
For the weak who seek power it’ll bring
Infallible power
Knowledge is king”

Last but not least, if you wait until the end of the CD, you’ll see that he included the LL Cool J diss “Let’s Go” produced by the great Teddy Riley.  It was the answer record to LL’s “Jack The Ripper” and goes after LL hard!  We all know that LL stands for Ladies Love but to Moe Dee it means,

“You need a hand, you got hands for tryna be me, now L L stands for
Lower Level, Lack Luster, Last Least, Limp Lover
Lousy Lame, Latent Lethargic, Lazy Lemon, Little Logic
Lucky Leech, Liver Lipped, Laborious Louse on a Loser’s Lips
Live in Limbo, Lyrical Lapse, Low Life with the loud raps, boy”

The man is relentless and destroys LL, not to say that LL didn’t put in work either.  If I have to choose one track..this takes the cake!

“You can’t win, huh, I don’t bend
Look what you got yourself in
Just usin’ your name I took those L’s
Hung ’em on your head and rocked your bells”

One can easily say that Kool Moe Dee’s first three albums are straight bangers!  This guy was in Beat Street and has been rapping since the 70’s!  We salute you Moe Dee!  Thank you for pioneering this genre and bring positivity and intelligence to the game!

-Al E.



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  1. I picked up a used copy of this on vinyl at my local record shop for $6, and reading this blog entry is the reason I picked it up!
    I already knew that KMD was a dope lyricist, but I wanted to make sure I’d really enjoy it and I do!
    Thanks for a great article!

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