Rudy Ray Moore, the1970’s comedian who played the starring role of a fast-talking pimp in the 1975 film “Dolemite,” died on Sunday of complications from diabetes at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Akron, Ohio, according to CNN.com.
Moore labeled himself “The Godfather of Rap” because of the numerous hip-hop artists who used parts of his recordings in their works, performed with him or mimicked him. He influenced generations of comedians and gifted rappers with his rhyming flows and profanity-coated acts. Some of the talents included Big Daddy Kane, Dr. Dre and 2 Live Crew.
In 1999, rap artist Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew told the Miami Herald, “People think of Black comedy and think of Eddie Murphy. They don’t realize [Moore] was the first, the biggest underground comedian of them all. I listened to him and patterned myself after him.”
Moore’s big break came with the recording of his “Dolemite” routine: Dolemite is my name/And rappin and tappin/That’s my game/
I’m young and free/And just as bad as I wanna be.
By the time “Dolemite” appeared in theaters, he was penned the ultimate ghetto hero and his low-budget films such as “The Human Tornado,” “Petey Wheatstraw” and “The Monkey Hu$tle” were considered classics. In later years, Moore collaborated with West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg on the 2006 release of the soundtrack to “Dolemite.” Snoop once told the Los Angeles Times: “Without Rudy Ray Moore, there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that’s for real.”
Though Moore was not well known to mainstream audiences, he was a huge hit in the African-American community. He was also extremely religious, despite building a career on talking dirty.
“I wasn’t saying dirty words just to say them,” he told the Miami Herald in 1997. “It was a form of art-sketches in which I developed ghetto characters who cursed. I don’t want to be referred to as a dirty old man, rather a ghetto expressionist.”