KOOL MOE DEE "Knowledge Is King. "...

KOOL MOE DEE "Knowledge Is King. " Jive/RCA ***: POP STARS ***** Great Balls of Fire **** Knockin' On Heaven's Door *** Good Vibrations ** Maybe Baby * Ain't That a Shame

In the rap genre, stardom often comes and goes faster than many rhymers can say, "Yo, baby, yo!" A rapper that's not in touch with the streets may as well turn in his gold chains. Kool Moe Dee has remained one of the most well-respected rappers on the scene since his first album was released in early 1987. With this third album Moe maintains the sense of humor and social conscience that made his name for him, while managing to land a few poetic punches at rival LL Cool J (the target of the last album's title cut, "How Ya Like Me Now").

Boasting is still Kool Moe's most dangerous weapon; both this LP's title cut and its debut single, "They Want Money," find the rhymer flaunting his fast-paced life style while kicking out some wicked dance beats, but on the title cut the bragging is tempered with a message for black consciousness that's definitely in touch with the times. For today's more speed-conscious dancers, "I Go to Work" goes a long way toward proving Moe Dee the hardest working rapper in show business, while "Pump Your Fist" is a powerful rock anthem-turned-rap that should emerge as another hit. Co-producer Teddy Riley (Keith Sweat, Guy) ensures that the answer to "How Ya Like Me Now" will remain a positive one.

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