The TREACHEROUS THREE, in particular KOOL MOE DEE, inspired a lot of your all-time greatest rappers. This is a fact… unfortunately I don’t know how many people who weren’t around during their era of dominance even realize how influential they were. The bridge between the original pioneers and the “next school” (Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS, etc.), Moe Dee, Special K and LA Sunshine elevated rap from simple simon-type stuff to a higher level of art. Rap with real INTELLIGENT content, structure, etc. etc. Headz were blown away with the innovative speed raps of the early 80s, but it was the stuff they did in the mid 80s that lit the spark for Ra, Kane, etc. Unfortunately, most of what they were doing at that time was only heard at live shows and on records that really weren’t hitting as big as their earlier efforts. The public at large was not impressed by The Treacherous’ “Gotta Rock” 12″, their last on Sugarhill. But believe me, other rappers took notice to what was going on lyrically. Can you say NEXT LEVEL?
So, I give you a couple of live freestyle joints to give you an idea of what the T3 were doing back in 1985-1986- the first is a clip from a show down in Bermuda and the second is one that may be familiar to some, with Moe Dee and Special K’s big brother T-La Rock (who was an innovator and a big inspiration to the next era as well) goin’ off over the “Check Out My Melody” beat.
BTW, the clip with Moe and T La Rock is great to me because IMO it really illustrates how dope Moe Dee was and that most of his studio recorded solo output really doesn’t do him justice. The rhymes he says on this freestyle are the same ones he says on a song, “Bad Mutha”, from his 1st lp. To me, that song is just plain wack. But do it over with Moe on stage, hyped up and full of energy, bustin’ those same rhymes over a classic Marley Marl beat? SO DOPE.
Now, of course, hearing this over 20 years after the fact may make it difficult for the uninitiated to see how groundbreaking this stuff was. Just take my word for it… I wouldn’t lie to y’all. (And by the way, the Treacherous Three weren’t the only guys who pushed the rap envelope along… I’ll be posting more ahead-of-it’s-time rap by other pioneers in the days to come.)