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"Dolemite" Actor, Hip-Hop Muse Rudy Ray Moore Dies At 81

October 20, 2008 3:44 PM ET

Dolemite actor Rudy Ray Moore died last week due to complications from diabetes. He was 81. In addition to being a blaxploitation film icon thanks to Dolemite, his character's fast-talking, street-walking persona served as a blueprint for many hip-hop stars whom he would inspire. Moore was one of the early champions of the hip-hop culture and collaborated with artists like Snoop Dogg, Big Daddy Kane and 2 Live Crew (on the song "Throw the Dick.") After starting out as a singer, Moore made the segue into comedy, releasing over 30 comedy albums and appearing in 18 films over the course of his career, but he'll always remembered for his role as Dolomite, the silver-tongued pimp. Moore helped paved the way for comics like Richard Pryor, as Moore's records were often so controversial for their language that stores would either refuse to stock his albums or place them behind the counter in brown bags. In 2000, Moore resurrected the Dolemite character for the first time in 20 years for the Insane Clown Posse film Big Money Hustlas. Moore is survived by his daughter and 98 year-old mother.

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Hip Hop's Greatest Year: 15 Albums That Made Rap Explode

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“Vans”

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Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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