Dolemite No More: R.I.P. Rudy Ray Moore

"The Signifyin' Monkey," from 1975's Dolemite (note: NSFW)

Rudy Ray Moore, aka Dolemite, aka the Human Tornado, aka Petey Wheatstraw the Devil's Son-in-Law, has left the world as we know it. Friday, Moore, 81, passed away in an Akron, Ohio, nursing home from complications from diabetes.

The trailer to Dolemite (note: NSFW)

Moore's contributions to the world of entertainment seem endless. In the '70s, he tested the boundaries of censorship and pioneered hip-hop back with his rapping Dolemite the pimp character. The movie Dolemite, which he wrote, is a cult classic and a source of inspiration for almost every rapper to lay lyrics to tape since the '80s.

Moore's album artwork alone would trump the entire 2 Live Crew discography for lewdness, and he did it 20-plus years before the Crew was a twinkle in Luke’s eye. Moore released loads of the raunchiest comedy albums imaginable, and I’d be damned if I can remember an LP without a naked woman on the cover. One of his records pictured a female I can only describe as top-heavy splayed on a gold velvet couch with Moore nearby.

The title? Eat Out More Often.

Moore was probably about the only person on this planet that could make even Red Foxx blush, but his talents weren't limited to comedy. Moore was not only a talented singer, but paid his dues as such years before the world knew Dolemite's name.

After accomplishing himself as comedy mainstay, he’d always work musical arrangements into his albums where he could. He even recorded an album of nothing but soul songs during the high point of his career - and unlike Jim Belushi, he’s pretty damn good at it.

So here’s to Rudy! Even in heaven, I’m sure he’s the same old dirty motherfucker. - Brett Koshkin

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray