"Without Rudy Ray Moore," Snoop Dogg once offered, "there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that's for real."
Moore was the "Godfather of Rap." It's true, he bestowed the title upon himself, but it's also true he was a touchstone for Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Busta Rhymes, 2 Live Crew and more who discovered the former R&B singer through his blaxploitation cult classic Dolemite, if not his X-rated comedy albums of the 1970s.
Where rapping was concerned, Moore said (in one of his few nonprofane signature rhymes), "I was through with it before they knew what to do with it."
No, Moore did not strike a modest public pose. He was, by his own estimation, the "first X-rated comedian" and, alternately, the second or third "most sampled man in the world."
With Dolemite, Moore put his money where his mouth was, self-financing the low-budget action film that the New York Times would one day praise as the "Citizen Kane of kung-fu pimping movies."
(To see the R-rated Dolemite trailer, complete with potentially offensive but truly vintage Rudy Ray Moore couplet cussing, plus a flash of nudity (not his)—you've been warned, kids—click here.)
Though a degree of fame came his way in later years, Redd Foxx fame or Richard Pryor fame, to reference two of Moore's comic contempories, it was not.
Moore died Sunday "after a long battle with diabetes and obscurity," his MySpace page noted.
He was 81.