Rudy Ray Moore, soul singer and face of the Dolemite
, died on Sunday. He was 81 years old.
Moore passed away from diabetes-related complications early Sunday morning.
He launched his career with a stint as an R&B singer, and soon branched out to comedy in the 1960s. His unapologetically X-rated material helped solidify his status as the self-proclaimed "king of party records." Many consider his rhythmic style of speaking the forerunner to modern hip-hop (not least of all O.D.B.), dubbing him the "godfather of rap."
Moore had his major break in 1975 with the blaxploitation flick Dolemite, a self-financed venture that simultaneously poked fun at the genre and raised it to epic heights (the Citizen Kane of blaxploitation movies, according to the New York Times). Dolemite spawned a wealth of sequels and spinoffs that transformed Moore into a pop-culture icon, including The Human Tornado, Disco Godfather and Shaolin Dolemite.
He is survived by his daughter, Yvette, and mother, Lucille.
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