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 rhythms, with a lot of internal rhyme.
Kool Moe Dee kick started his solo career while he was still signed to Sugar Hill with T3, releasing the single “Turn It Up” and lending his writing talents the Sugar Hill Gang’s single “The Down Beat” (he also recorded his own version).
Both singles were released in 1985.
In 1987, with the release of his next album “How Ya Like Me Now” and the single of the same name, Moe Dee moved into one of the most highlighted portions of his career.
He took on LL Cool J in a war of words. LL fired back with “Jack the Ripper.” Moe Dee returned with “Let’s Go.” LL countered with “To The Break of Dawn.” And Moe Dee finished up with “Death Blow.” Good luck deciding on a clear winner (I think it was LL), but the results are one of the classic battles in hip hop history.
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 layoff, 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 2003, he authored a book called There’s a God on the Mic, 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”.
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.