“After a long battle with diabetes and obscurity,” the comedian and blaxploitation icon Rudy Ray Moore, according to his booking agent’s website, Shocking Images, “passed peacefully on Sunday at the age of 81.” Thought to be the third most sampled man in the world–Dr. Dre, Big Daddy Kane, and 2 Live Crew, among others, all used snippets of his work in their music–Moore not altogether modestly called himself “the Godfather of Rap” (he also took credit for getting Richard Pryor to abandon “the N word.”)
Not much of Moore’s work reached mainstream audiences wholly intact, though, largely due to the prurient zest of his often-rhyming material. Interestingly, in his personal life, Moore was quite religious–according to his LA Times obit, he took great pride in taking his mother to the National Baptist Convention each year, and often spoke in church. How did he reconcile his pottymouth with his piousness? He explained to the Miami Herald in 1997, “I wasn’t saying dirty words just to say them. 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.”