For someone who has made a career (spanning three decades!) off something as simple as swearing a blue rhyming streak, Rudy Ray Moore is a deceptively complicated entertainer. Though he proudly boasts of being "the first comedian on the face of the earth to come out doing four-letter comedy," he also admonishes in the same Grand Royal magazine interview, "I never let people accuse me of doing dirty comedy." So what does he do? "I'm doing ghetto expressions in a form of art," he responds, and don't try to argue the point, because he is the Dolemite, a.k.a. the Human Tornado, a.k.a. Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil's son-in-law, and he'll put you in check with the Signifyin' Monkey if you don't recognize.
Years before Percy Miller was born, Rudy Ray Moore recorded his infamous party albums and distributed them himself, produced and starred in five movies, and generally operated with a DIY ethic that his hip-hop children are only now catching up with. Whether you love his opulently scatological raps or cringe at the flagrant misogyny permeating his routines, there is no denying that the man is a cultural phenomenon who helped lay the foundation for the modern hip-hop nation, with all the good and bad the achievement implies. But is he an artistic genius, or just another comic who verbally smears feces on canvas to get some laughs? What's the difference? Why not check him out yourself, rather than let someone else make your aesthetic judgments? You might just have a good time in spite of yourself.
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