1/30/19

Kool Moe Dee & T La Rock - My Melody Freestyle
(Live @ Latin Quarter)

Backstage at the Def Jam II Tour, 1987
Returning to Sunday's topic of legendary MCs rocking over Rakim beats, and picking up the Awesome Two thread from Monday's post, we arrive next at a live peformance by Kool Moe Dee and his partner in rhyme T La Rock at the world-famous Latin Quarter. This recording, featuring the two MCs trading verses over the "My Melody" instrumental, was played on the Awesome Two show on November 2, 1986, so presumably the performance took place sometime earlier in the year.

Kool Moe Dee graded his fellow hip-hop
artists in the liner notes of 1987's
How Ya Like Me Now. Note the misspelling
of Rakim as Rakhim.
Perhaps what's most notable about this recording is how it connects two rappers — Kool Moe Dee and Rakim — both known for changing the guard in the way they revolutionized rapping. Though closer examination typically reveals that such "revolutions" were really evolutions that happened gradually rather than overnight, Kool Moe Dee's legendary battle against Busy Bee is generally considered a touchstone moment, as is the recording of the Eric B. Is President/My Melody single. No matter how you look at it, most would agree Kool Moe Dee pushed the envelope in terms of lyrics and delivery, and Rakim would push it even further.

And if you really want to get into it, one could make the argument that T La Rock not only served as a sort of evolutionary bridge between the revolutionary rhyme styles of Kool Moe Dee and Rakim, but also pushed the envelope in an entirely different direction that would soon thereafter be picked up by Kool Keith and Ultramagnetic MCs whose experimental raps basically launched an entire subgenre. However, that's a whole different story.

Below, stream Kool Moe Dee and T La Rock performing over "My Melody" at the Latin Quarter, as well as the full Awesome Two broadcast from November 2, 1986, during which this performance aired. And please forgive the feedback that occurs in both recordings, along with the fact that they end abruptly when the tape cuts off; of course, if you have a better recording, I would be more than happy to share!

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