Kool Moe Dee

Hip-Hop, as a musical genre, is often defined by its intense battles, and rightly so. Mohandas “Kool Moe Dee” Dewese set off the first major clash in the ’80s by demolishing New York rap king, Busy Bee. KMD’s fierce rhymes earned him a reputation as an MC slayer, pushing the genre into new lyrical territories. A Harlem native and former member of The Treacherous Three, he earned platinum records through his dynamic performances. Collaborating with a young Teddy Riley, KMD embraced the uptempo “New Jack Swing” sound. His hit, “I Go To Work,” laid the groundwork for a dominant Hip-Hop era.

KMD’s career peaked in the ’80s with hits like “Wild, Wild, West” and a defining battle against LL Cool J. This showdown, along with his albums, showcased KMD’s skill in delivering monotone, pointed punches, high-level thinking, and multisyllabic rhymes with a black power twist. His standout verse on the iconic Stop The Violence Movement’s “Self Destruction” single cemented his status as one of the greatest. An accomplished author of *There’s A God On The Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs*, KMD is working on a new album to elevate Hip-Hop’s current generation.

Roxanne Shante

There are only a few forefathers of Hip-Hop, but when mentioning the foremothers of the genre, Lolita “Roxanne” Shante Gooden is named with history-making distinction. Representing the infamous Queensbridge Housing projects, of Queens, New York, Shante started her career as a rugged battle rap champion.

That title came with the claim to fame as the best in the ‘Bridge. Cemented as a teen star with her hit ’80s record, “Roxanne’s Revenge,” (a strong diss rebuttal to U.T.F.O.’s smash “Roxanne, Roxanne”) Shante went on to dominate the male MC ranks with her Marly Marl led Juice Crew All-Stars squad. With an aggressive take no prisoners rap style (“Big Mama”), high-pitched slashing voice (“Have A Nice Day”) and the ultimate fly-girl-slick-talk-boss-energy demeanor (“Live On Stage”), Shante became the blueprint for every female rapper that followed her.

Now, she is the host of her own Hip-Hop radio show, Have A Nice Day, on SiriusXM’s Rock The Bells radio. She also spends her time as an advocate for young children in need of foster care.

Grandmaster Caz

Curtis “Grandmaster Caz” Brown helped the rap world become the dominant international force it is today. Starting in the ’70s, rolling into the culture defining ’80s, The Bronx, New York native ushered in the foundational flow of braggadocio Hip-Hop.

Possessing a powerful vocal tone, matched with his quick wit and clever lines, Caz became an early Hip-Hop favorite, influencing artists like Will Smith, Big Daddy Kane and many others. His groundbreaking group, The Cold Crush Brothers, perfected the harmonized rapping style of multiple MCs at one time on a track. Yet, it is Caz’s written words that set the music industry ablaze when The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” hit Billboard’s Top 40 with lyrics ghost written by Caz (and rapped by Big Bank Hank).

For many years Caz operated and hosted Hip-Hop Tours through New York, taking tourists and lovers of the genre to landmarks important to the origin of the culture. Today, Caz is enjoying life as a co-host on SiriusXM’s Rock The Bells radio show, That’s The Joint.