Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Kool Moe Dee - Funke Funke Wisdom LP


Jive (1991)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for 25+ years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

I only ever had one Kool Moe Dee record when I was younger and it was Funke Funke Wisdom.  As with so many albums of that era, I picked it up based on a video that was played pretty frequently on Yo MTV Rap.  That song was "Death Blow," an LL Cool J diss track that was pretty much a direct response to LL's "Mama Said Knock You Out."  "Death Blow" plays off of the same sort of boxing motif and while the song wasn't ever as popular as "Mama Said," it's arguably just as strong and is my favorite Kool Moe Dee track by a country mile.

That's not to say that there aren't other tracks worthwhile on the album.  Kool Moe Dee has a gruff and rugged delivery with strong rhyme structure with one foot in an old school vibe and the other in the creative peak of the golden era.  The beats are mostly hard hitting with funk samples and DJ scratching in the breaks, but it's really the lyrical flow of Kool Moe Dee that is the main draw of Funke Funke Wisdom. That said, even the wordplay of Kool Moe Dee can't salvage a handful of the slower songs that do drag down the album in places.  The lest said about the smooth jazz of "How Kool Can One Blackman Be" the better.

What's interesting to me is that Kool Moe Dee apparently thinks this is his worst album and in many ways it began his fall from hip hop grace.  Perhaps it's because it is the album of his that I'm most familiar with, but I would disagree with Dee's assessment. I had to pick this up on vinyl and I actually found a copy on eBay that was still sealed.  If that was because some others don't like the album as much as I do, so be it.

Kool Moe Dee - Funke Funke Wisdom (full album playlist)

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