Rugz D. Bewler has no days off. The Harlem MC’s reputation has been bubbling over the past few years, garnering attention from some of the music industry’s notable shakers including Dipset capo Jim Jones, Damon Dash and producer Ski Beatz. To date, Rugz has been featured in XXLMag.com, TheSource.com, BET, AOL Black Voices and on MTV2’s “Sucker Free Countdown.” He has also collaborated with renowned artists including Curren$y, Smoke DZA, Stalley and Tabi Bonney, to name a few. Following in the infamous footsteps of rappers such as Cam’ron, Mase, Big L. Herb and McGruff, Bewler is ready to leave his lyrical imprints on the Harlem Hip-Hop scene with the release of his new project, By Any Means Necessary, due to be released on Black Friday (November 25th).
AllHipHop.com: You’re buzz has been continuing to bubble over the past few years here in NYC, so why don’t you tell those who don’t know about you who exactly Rugz D. Bewler is?
Rugz D. Bewler: Basically Rugz D. Bewler is an artist from Harlem, who’s definitely representing Harlem [NY]. It’s so hard to explain who you are when there’s so many different styles and genres of music. I’m just a person who’s speaking the truth and trying to make everybody feel good…I’m trying to bring that music back where people want to feel good. You know it’s not trying to bring down a genre or certain style, but you could understand where they come from… you could relate to them. I make real relatable type of music; stuff that you could play for your parents, and possibly for your kids. Some of the stuff is not for the kids, but it’s still real relatable. Call me the relatable rapper.
AllHipHop.com: What differentiates you from other Harlem [NY] MCs that are trying to pop right now?
Rugz D. Bewler: Well I feel that I’m still me, but not in the sense that I’m saying that nobody else is not being them… I’m not afraid to change the whole idea of what people think comes from Harlem. I really feel like Harlem has so many different styles of people, so we’re kind of bringing that back to the game. But I think with me I kind of have that balance of being that person that can hang out with the socialites and the cool cats and the real chill people, but I am from the hood. And I ran through Harlem, like literally, not on no hustling tip or dumb [crap], but I was there through the eras of the Skate Key and Grant’s Tomb. I’ve been to all the parties, I’ve seen hustlers gone down, I’ve been around the hustlers… I know the stories. I can grasp that, but I can also cross my story to other genres. I think the last rapper that was kind of doing that [from Harlem] was Mase. He spoke so much of Harlem, but people from Seattle, from Wisconsin knew who Mase was. I think I’m bringing that back.
AllHipHop.com: Do any of the other Harlem rappers inspire you and your musical style?
Rugz D. Bewler: The biggest one is Cam’ron. I was a big Cam’ron fan. I think he has so many different styles and it was never recreated. I would say Cam’ron, Herb McGruff and Big L. I just pay homage to a lot of the people that paved the way. I don’t think a lot of people do that… like as soon as you get hot, like I got a hot song or I’m buzzing right now – I’m the king. I pay homage to the whole Corn Movement, Cam’ron, Big L and Herb McGruff—the whole movement is who I looked up to coming out of Harlem.
AllHipHop.com: I know that Cam’ron had some influence over your rap moniker. Tell me about that.
Rugz D. Bewler: What people was calling me in Harlem was D.Rugz, cause my real name starts with a ‘D.’ My boy Charlie Black used to call me D. Rugz when we were younger interning at Roc-A-Fella. We got it from one of the dopest songs off of Cam’ron’s Confessions of Fire album—“D.Rugs,” a song [which] was about him mom having an addiction to drugs, which he formulated into a character. The name D.Rugz wasn’t really representing whom I was or my style- I thought it was too harsh. So I just reversed the D.Rugz and put Rugz D. and added Bewler because “Ferris Beuler’s Day Off” is one of my favorite movies of all times. So that’s where the name Rugz D. Bewler came from with the Cam’ron influence.
AllHipHop.com: What about Jim Jones or any of the other Dipset rappers…do they have any influence over your style?
Rugz D. Bewler: Well Jim is kind of like family; we grew up around each other in a sense. Well he watched me grow up, just from being around the same neighborhood. I used to roll around with Jim during the time of “On My Way to Church”—his first album… so I’ve always respected him. Now it’s come to the point where me and him are working together. So I feel blessed. I always had a feeling that it would happen, you know you dream big about people that you look up to that have paved the way and then eventually you start working with them. So he’s family, especially with the whole hustle and grind in the game.
AllHipHop.com: What’s your connection or history with Dame Dash and the DD 172 movement? I understand that’s how it kind of all started for you… Tell me about it.
Rugz D. Bewler: Well that’s how my biggest buzz started. Prior to that I was rhyming and doing my thing, but as far as the buzz… yep, being their, that family grew it. Jim actually connected me to Dame. I was at the studio letting him hear a project that I was working on, and he was telling my manager Doug [Wade] that Dame had something going on and that it would be good if we were apart of it. My manager knew, but I didn’t. So he called Dame and let him know that he was gonna bring someone down there that he never heard of, but that I was nice. So we went down to see him the next day and had a meeting with him… and you know Dame is always busy moving around so he had us on pause for a while. So in the meantime, while on pause, we were just building with Ski Beatz. I let him hear my stuff, and me and him started working—making a song right there on the spot. From right there, that’s where everything started with me joining the family with the DD172. As far as me joining with them, I just started recording song after song after song and started getting on their different projects when they had the distribution deal with Universal Def Jam.
AllHipHop.com: Are you currently going the independent route or are you meeting with major labels?
Rugz D. Bewler: Its always been the independent route way in a sense… you know Dame is family and we’re always working with them somehow someway, but we always have our independent grind. We got our team, we’re small but we’re moving numbers and we’re moving to different places. It the independent route for now. I mean that’s not the only route I have options to…I’m not afraid of dealing with any labels. I mean my talent is my music and I want to get it out there. You know, I’m not really afraid of those situations that many people try to say is not the way to go. But right now, it’s just independent. We’re just working on so many projects [right now] in the fourth quarter… And then next year we’re just gonna really hit them hard with so many projects.
AllHipHop.com: To date, which songs would you say have been your biggest singles that you’re known for?
Rugz D. Bewler: Hands down “Super Bad” is one of my biggest songs… it’s like a love-hate song, but it’s probably one of my biggest songs I’d have to say. The second song would probably have to be “Window Waving,” and another is the song we got out right now called “We’re Good” that Scott Storch gave me the track for. We just dropped a visual for that one. The response that I get from my music is that people take the whole project. I think with this new project we’re working on right now a person can gage, ‘oh, this is a single.’ My last project was called “Save Bewler” and a lot of them songs on their were singles…like this song called “Thank God,” which is about to get re-released with Dame Dash. We got a song called “White Papers and Women” with Smoke Dealer, a fellow Harlem artist. We just have some real dope productions, but I feel this next project coming out it’s really gonna gage and tell you ok, this is a joint. The biggest song that I’d say people know from like different states and all of that would be “Super Bad,” cause that was the one that got really pushed hard.
AllHipHop.com: So at this point right now, you’re not in talks with any major labels?
Rugz D. Bewler: I mean we have meetings. I’m not saying they call us and say, ‘Oh my God we want you.’ But I’m just happy that they call us up to see what we have going on. But you know how labels are… it’s like ‘Get hot. You get hot and we’ll take care of the rest.’ But the music is gonna speak for itself, and the people – they gravitate towards it more. So, in due time, we’re gonna take this to the top.
AllHipHop.com: If you could change one thing about the game, what would it be?
Rugz D. Bewler: I would say the way people pick and choose their associations. Back in the days you kind of got excited over a remix, like a remix was a big deal back in the days; or like when a person did a feature. But I feel like nowadays, everything is so much about the money and other certain things like people would just do a song with anybody. And that’s not me… if it ain’t right and I don’t feel it, then I’m not really with it. Don’t get me wrong, the money does count and it definitely is about a dollar, but I felt that back in the days artists vibed off of their relationships with each other and just naturally came together to work and nowadays everything is all about an association or a cosign. I wish that artists would stop that… stop thinking people are nice just because who they are associated with. Or even another thing I hate is associating because you think a person dresses fly they’re good. So because they look good with clothes on, they’re good. I felt like it was like that a little bit back in the days also, but back in the days the flyboys were rapping their asses off. Like they was letting you have it with the big dookey chains and rings on… like Big Daddy Kane is a prime example. He was one of the flyest, but he knew how to spit so. But nowadays, it’s lacking; a person has access to something so they can get in and now call themselves a rapper. I’m not with that.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about your new project coming out, By Any Means Necessary (B.A.M.N.)?
Rugz D. Bewler: I call it loud soul. It has a lot of soulful samples, a lot of dope cuts, and it’s just real Harlem to me, but real eclectic Harlem. I feel like it’s a piece of Harlem but at the same time other people can draw into it. It has dope production by my in-house production Grand Staff, Judah from [Washington] DC and I got producer on there – Sali Dama. It’s just real soulful. I really feel that people are just missing the simplicity of music; like nowadays they’re not really listening to the lyrics they’re just battling with the beats and like I don’t want people listening to my music just like, ‘That beat is hot.’ I want them to feel like, ‘he killed it.’ I feel like nowadays with a lot of artists, I’m listening to your track before I really listen to your lyrics and they’re not really matching up. I just really feel that like BAMN has that substance, we’re you can really have a good time, where you don’t have to over think but at the same time I’m kicking some dope shit. It’s real cool, laid back, soulful cuts—about 11-12 tracks on there. The producers I worked with really appreciate my artistic values, and my nagging and certain things that I like. Cause I’m all about the consumer, I really want them to hear everything down to me breathing. My adlibs, to the little things I say. I really appreciate these producers and I really think they’re gonna be the next ones [to pop] also. No features, I really wanted to do this one on my own. We got two nice big features, but I don’t think we’re gonna go with them [on this one]. I kinda just wanted to do me.
AllHipHop.com: Any final words for the people?
Rugz D. Bewler: My final words to everybody is keep on pushing. The name of the project coming out is called “By Any Means Necessary.” Sometimes when you think By Any Means Necessary you’re thinking Malcolm X, you’re thinking Harlem, you’re thinking Black… but I think with this new generation out here it crosses even bigger realms and I think that everybody can really relate with that. So by any means necessary for you and anything you’re trying [to accomplish]. Google Rugz D. Bewler and you’ll hear some dope music… Be on the look out for the BAMN project that’s dropping on Black Friday (November 25).