The Treacherous Three were a pioneering hip hop group formed in 1978 and consisted of DJ Easy Lee, Kool Moe Dee, L.A. Sunshine, Special K and Spoonie Gee (who left in the late 1970s), with occasional contributions from DJ Dano B, DJ Reggie Reg and DJ Crazy Eddie. They first appeared on record in 1980 on the B side of Spoonie Gee’s single Love Rap.
Kool Moe Dee and L.A Sunshine (Lamar Hill) grew up in the same neighborhood and they met DJ Easy Lee (Theodore Moy’e) in elementary school. Kool Moe Dee and Easy Lee both went to Norman Thomas high school where they met Special K (Kevin Keaton). DJ Easy Lee met Spoonie G through playing basketball and through his sister who knew Spoonie G. When Spoonie G left the group, Kool Moe Dee replaced him with Special K. Although he technically had left the group Spoonie G was still affiliated. Spoonie G released a single called Spoonin Rap with the record label Sound of New York, after his relationship broke down with the label he got a deal with Enjoy records which was owned by his uncle Bobby Robinson. He managed to persuade his uncle to let the Treacherous Three to do a song on the B side of his first single with Enjoy which was called Love Rap and the B side was the song New Rap Language, which was released in 1980. New Rap Language was popular and made the group famous for the fast rapping style they used (dubbed speed rapping), which would be what they were originally known for. After this Enjoy gave the group a single deal.
In 1981, they moved to Sugar Hill Records. Their first single at Sugarhill was Whip It which featured singer Phillippe Wynne, formerly of the Spinners, which was very popular at the time. They then released the song Yes We Can-Can which followed on from the political trend that was set by the Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s single “The Message.” In 1983, they released Action, Turning you On and Get Up. In 1984 they released, Xmas Rap and Santa’s Rap. By 1985 the group was being overshadowed by other groups such as Run-D.M.C. and L.A Sunshine was getting increasingly frustrated with their financial situation at Sugarhill and eventually became disillusioned with making records. During this time many of the groups signed to Sugarhill Records were put on suspension and Special K and L.A Sunshine didn’t want to make any more records for Sylvia Robinson (the co-owner of Sugarhill). Kool Moe Dee was the only MC in the group that was still actively working for Sugarhill, writing for the Sugarhill Gang. In 1985 Kool Moe Dee managed to persuade Special K and L.A Sunshine to go back into the studio to record Gotta Rock. when it came to recording the B side to Gotta Rock, Turn it Up L.A Sunshine did not turn up to the recording session and Special K did not stay for the full session. Kool Moe Dee felt that Special K’s rhymes were not up to his usual standards and therefore left them out. This would lead to the rise to Kool Moe Dee’s solo career and the breakup of the group.