Monday, October 20, 2008

The King is Dead

Rudy Ray Moore, The Godfather of Rap, the King of the Party Records passed away today at 81 due to complications from diabetes. Though never the household name he deserved to be, Rudy influenced decades of rappers (especially the Beastie Boy's "Paul's Boutique" album) and comedians, as well as nerds like myself.

I can't remember exactly when I became aware of the awesomeness of Rudy Ray Moore. I remember my pal Curt and I watching "Dolemite" over and over again in late high school. The movie (along with Moore's other films) has elements of such homemade, ramshackle charm to it and was so underground to suburban white kids like us that it became a sort of cultural touchstone to us, and a big part of my brain is still filled with Dolemite lines.

I finally got to see Rudy about 5 years ago in Atlanta. He would have been in his mid-70s, but put on a hell of a show. If you would have told me at 19 that I would have been five feet away from Dolemite himself as he recited "Shine and the Great Titanic," or sang a Sam Cooke song, I would have called you a liar, but secretly wondered how I grew up to be so damned cool.

While the Rudy Ray Moore movies might show their low budgets, Rudy's throwing himself into them (literally, in the case of the nekkid jump down the hill in "Human Tornado") transcended budget and acting limitations and were joyful, if foul-mouthed, celebrations of life.

And isn't that really what art should be?

If you disagree, you're a no business, insecure, junkyard motherfucker.

Rest in Peace, Rudy.

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