Kool Moe Dee

A Grammy-winning hip-hop artist, Kool Moe Dee played a significant role in transforming the genre from a New York City phenomenon into a global business during the late 1970s and 1980s. Born in Manhattan on August 8, 1962, he developed his signature "speed rapping" style as a teenager and joined Treacherous Three, one of the first hip-hop groups on record, at 16 years old. The group broke up in 1985, with Dee releasing his first solo album one year later. The platinum-selling How Ya Like Me Now followed in 1987, peaking at Number 35 on the Billboard 200 and producing the Top 5 rap single "Wild Wild West." After releasing Knowledge Is King in 1989, Kool Moe Dee became the first rapper to perform at the Grammy Awards. Later that year, he also appearances on Quincy Jones' Back on the Block, winning a Grammy for his contributions to the album's title track. Although his commercial success took a downward turn during the 1990s, Dee released a handful of solo records, reunited with Treacherous Three for Old School Flava, and teamed up with Will Smith on the 1999 chart-topper "Wild Wild West," which sampled his own hit of the same name.

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