Dolemite: Rudy Ray Moore Looks Back

Do your homework, Rudy Ray Moore is an icon. The singer turned comedian propelled himself into the spotlight with using four letter words way before Eddie Murphy. Most known for his leading role in the cult film Dolemite, Moore trademarked a rapping style of delivering classic lines such as “Dolemite is my name, and f**king up muthaf**kers is my game.” Comedy and Hip-Hop merged long before Prince Paul skits and Fat Boys scenes in Krush Groove.

Moore’s new album, Rudy Ray Moore & Friends is a great entry-point to younger fans looking to understand the ‘70s icon. Moore personally speaks on his role in the Hip-Hop generation, citing everything from Big Daddy Kane and Eazy-E to Halle Berry along the way. The man who inspired Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money” considers himself the Godfather of Rap, see if you agree. Let’s talk about the early stages of your career. You started off as a singer before you became known for your comedy.

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes, I was singing songs in the ‘50s going into the ‘70s. I did not have the money to get these records played like every one else. If I did have the money, I would have been a much bigger draw. I stood in the shadow of Pat Boone. White artists like him stole our material and just ran with it. He is the imitator and I am clearly the originator. Your first comedy album Eat Out More Often was the first album to have profanity in it, which was pretty much taboo back then. Did that hold you back?

Rudy Ray Moore: No it did not. It actually helped me stand out amongst everyone. I was the first one incorporating those four letter explicit words in those party records. Redd Foxx was using words like “ass,” but I really brought the “MF” or “F” words to comedy. No one was going that far with comedy back then, but I did. I was getting calls from record stores all across the country. As soon as that happened I knew I was going to have a special career. Yet the masses don’t really know that you influenced the Richard Pryors and the Eddie Murphy’s with your dirty humor…

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes. At first Richard had a clean act. When I popularized it, he started doing the explicit stuff too. But Richard never gave me my just due. He just ran with my act without ever giving me my respect and that hurt. I’ve met Eddie before, and he told me he loved my work and I was a big influence on him. Also you got Steve Harvey and Cedric [The Entertainer] calling themselves The Original Kings Of Comedy. I find that insulting. They were all cussing on that show and call themselves the “Originals!” Me and [Redd] Foxx were the originals! Are you still doing shows?

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes, I still tour. I do shows here and there. What are the crowds like now opposed to the when you at your peak?

Rudy Ray Moore: The crowd is mostly White now. Back then, things were still segregated, so it was mostly Black. White people wouldn’t come close to my work because of the cussing I was doing and the album covers. Dolemite is clearly your biggest film, I heard you funded that movie your self…

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes, a lot of people ridiculed me when I was doing that movie. Everyone doubted me. I would run into other actors and performers, and they said I had lost my mind. But that movie turned out so to be a big film during that time. My name was everywhere at the time. That is the only movie besides Superfly that is constantly reprinted and re-released. Yes, Dolemite is definitely a staple in the Blaxplotation movie genre.

Rudy Ray Moore: I really don’t like that word. It was just a really good movie. Those movies during that time didn’t exploit anyone. We all worked hard and put out timeless material. We were doing nothing different than the White actors and actresses. How did you feel about the love you received from rappers who sampled your work on their records?

Rudy Ray Moore: It feels good. 2 Live Crew sampled me in early on in their career. At the time, I didn’t have anything new out there. People would come up to me and say that they love my new record. I found out through a DJ that it was the 2 Live Crew that everyone was talking about. After that, I got work based off that record. I did shows and performed that record. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg have also sampled me. That stuff put me back in the mainstream. I was on [The] Arsenio [Hall Show] because of my resurgence through rap. You also did a record with Eazy-E correct?

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes, I did a Christmas record with Eazy-E called "Merry F**kin' X-mas". He was a real good guy. Out of all the rappers, Eazy-E and Too Short were the best to me. Both of them would send limos to my house to pick me up if they needed me to perform with them or go to the studio. They really took care of me and showed me respect I deserve. When I heard the news of Eazy-E’s passing, it hurt me a lot. God bless him. How was your session with Big Daddy Kane when you did “Big Daddy vs. Dolemite”?

Rudy Ray Moore: That was fun because he copied me so much. So as soon as I got in there, I dissed him on his own record! I said “I was through with it before you learned what to do with it. I'm the king so I'm staking my claim in the rapping game!” Do you still feel like you are the “Godfather Of Rap”?

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes. I have influenced too many rappers not to be crowned the godfather! I did my comedy in the form of rhyme and popularized it. I have rapped live with Busta Rhymes. They took my movies and put in the Old Dirty Bastard video [“Got Your Money”] when he was going through his things. I have been in sessions with Eric B. and Rakim when they were in their prime. I was in Snoop’s first video as well. I have been sampled countless times. I am the “Godfather of Rap”! Do you still listen to Hip-Hop now?

Rudy Ray Moore: No. It’s at a point where rap is too much for me. I really wish these rappers would stop using the “N” word. I find it very disturbing and offensive. It seems every other rap has [the “N” word in] it. That word should have no place in music or entertainment period. With that word, rappers are only setting our people back. You are degrading yourself and more importantly, all those people of color who suffered and bled for our civil liberties. I used to use the “N” word in my act, but I stopped a long time ago. The one thing that I will give to Richard [Pryor] is that when I stopped using that word in my act, I bumped into him and encouraged him to stop it as well, and he did. Let’s talk about your new project.

Rudy Ray Moore: It’s called The Best Of Rudy Ray Moore And Friends. It is a compilation of my best work. You have all the classic skits on there, so make sure to pick it up. It is a must have. You also were in the movie BAPS with Halle Berry, did you try to mack on her?

Rudy Ray Moore: No, I did not. She was a very sweet lady. She was very professional and greeted me with respect every time we crossed paths. When she won the Oscar, I was very happy for her. She works hard and deserves the acclaim. I was speaking to the Arch-Bishop Don Magic Juan not too long ago, he mentioned that he was known as the Bishop, but you crowned him the “Arch-Bishop.”

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes, that is true. I had met Don before and saw how he had come up in the world. He was doing so well I said you should call yourself the arch-bishop because that is the highest bishop that there could be. In this world everyone needs to recognize their full potential and run with it. That’s what Don did and that’s I called the arch-bishop. Do you want to get into your health at this point in time of the interview?

Rudy Ray Moore: We can get into that now. I am a diabetic so I have medicine I have to take everyday. The day we were supposed the interview, I had just taken my medicine. I took the medicine on an empty stomach and it knocked me out right before I was supposed to speak to you. If you hadn’t called [my publicist], she would of never called the paramedics. The paramedics came to my apartment and rushed me to the hospital. If I had been asleep a little bit longer I would have been brain dead. I want to thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. My pleasure sir, I am glad to hear you are okay.

Rudy Ray Moore: Yes, I am okay. Thank God. With so many years in the game, how do you want to be remembered?

Rudy Ray Moore: As the originator and the father of explicit comedy. Back then, nobody even thought about using four letter words in their comedy. I am the pioneer of what everyone is doing now. I also want to be remembered as a God-fearing man who loved his family. I never thought that Dolemite would be so big and I am very thankful for that.