Sunday April 15, 2001 coming home from Hezikiah Walker’s church in East New York Brooklyn, I got off the A train at Nostrand Ave. I got off the train in pursuit of this female that was giving me a little eye contact on the train. She was completely not my type but at this point in time with no girlfriend, no sex, no nothing, I figured I’d lift myself up and go for it regardless of the fact. See, she got on the train with three kids. She was thick/fat with some big ole tidies. She started saying to the kids as she noticed me glancing at her, “y’all ready to go home and see mommy huh?” I took it as she was giving me the hint that these weren’t her kids, which if that was what she was doing, it was a good hint. At this point in my life, I don’t care how horny I am or how fine you look, if you got more than one kid, you gets no holla from me.
But anyway, I get off the train and follow her, but I decided not to talk to her. I’ve never been around Nostrand Ave and Fulton before and I noticed that it was like the old 125th st in Harlem that my friends and I used to visit from Ohio. So I goes looking around for a little bit. After about 10 minutes of walking around I stopped at a store before I was getting ready to catch the train to go home. As I get in line at the store, I see this guy who looked familiar to me. I hesitated a little, and then I shouted out “Rufus.” It was Rufus Moore AKA Rufus Blaq.
Now this kid from Youngstown, Ohio I met years ago when he and his dance crew “Eazy Access” used to perform at local talents shows in Warren. They could never compete because they were like professionals and everybody loved them. And when my fraternity used to throw parties on the college campus in Youngstown, he and his crew would always be there. I’d always big-up (sat whats up to) Rufus and the crew and they’d do the same in return. Rufus was also cool with Derrick “Dink” Trimble (R.I.P.), my frat brother. They kind of resembled each other and Rufus would say that Dink was his brother.
Now I remember at one party Rufus was coming in with his crew and they stopped to talk with me and some of my Frat brothers. Rufus said that he was about to move to Atlanta “to become famous.” Those were his exact words. I didn’t exactly know what he had planned on doing because I only knew him as a dancer. So I kind of thought he was gonna try to become a dancer/choreographer for videos and tour shows. So anyway, he disappeared and the crew told us that he moved to Atlanta. About a year later, I saw him at this after hours hang out spot in Youngstown on Market Street. He got on the microphone on top of the bar and he free-styled a nice rhyme for the crowd. He told me that he had written a song for Erick Sermon on some sound track. I think he also told me at that time that he had a record deal with Giant Records. I was like “cool.”
He went away again and about a year later, I seen him on a video with Pudgy The Fat Bastard and Young Zee doing a remix for the group “SOLO” and their song “I Got Heaven Right Here On Earth.” I thought to myself that his album should be following shortly. I had also heard a DJ CLUE mixtape with this LOX song on it, and the last verse, this cat sounded like Rufus. I could never talk to anyone who knew him and what he was doing so I couldn’t verify that it was him. He had made it into the Hip Hop record business. I was happy, never one to hate on anyone for accomplishing something. In fact I was also glad because I knew him and could probably talk to him about the music business since I had been interest in it also.
His album never came out on Giant Records. I thought he was coming out on So So Def Records because there was an ad in the source with all the So So Def artist listed, and one of the artist on there was Mr. Black. That was the name I heard Rufus call himself on the intro of the “I Got Heaven Right Here On Earth” song video, and since he had moved to Atlanta, it made perfect sense. About a year later, I saw him in Warren at this talent show after party at the Regency Hotel. I wanted to talk to him and get his number and ask him some questions about the business but it was in a loud party so we chatted about whatever. By this time I had discovered that the So So Def artist was not him and I asked him how is that gonna work in the business with both of them having the same name. He told me whoever comes out first or whoever rocks the hardest will be Mr. Black. I also asked him about the LOX song and I recited this lyric of his, “Is you doin the stickin or is you gettin’ stuck / Is you doin’ the fuckin’ or is you gettin’ fucked.” He told me that it was him. He gave me his number in Columbus, Ohio where he was staying at the time. I tried to call him a couple of times. I think I talked to him once.
About two years later after that, I gets a call on my voice-mail service at my moms house and it’s him tellin’ me that he was gonna be on the Vibe Show that night with Salt & Pepa. I don’t know if he was just happy and called everyone he knew or was I special somehow? So I watched and taped the show and he was on there with Salt & Pepa and he had a verse on their new song “Are You Ready”. A couple weeks later, I seen the video and he was in it. About three/four months after that I heard a song on the radio by Salt & Pepa called “Gitty Up´ and he was on it at the beginning of the song. I knew it was him. I knew his voice. And then I saw the video for it and he was in it. He was on, and I all I wondered to myself was HOW? How did he do this, get with the leading super star ladies in rap, legends, Salt & Pepa?
After about a year after that Salt & Pepa debut of his, he had a single out called “Out of Sight.” I saw the video for it. I liked the song. It had a catchy hook to it. It wasn’t exactly hard core Hip Hop like I hoped it to be but hey, that is the way the music industry was moving in that time, away from hard core which didn’t sell that well, to the mainstream trying to sell platinum. At initial listen, I didn’t like the album. For one it had like three remake beats on it, and I hate remake beats especially the kind that they were using at that time. The greatest of all time remake beat, ever in Hip Hop was The Isley Brothers “Between The Sheets.” For two, he wasn’t flexin’ skill like I knew he could because I’d seen him rap before. And what was on his album was not what I expected from him. I just listened to the album the other day, which was called “Credentials”. All except for those remake songs, I liked it. He had a few hard core beats on there but he wasn’t flippin the skill like I’d known him to do. Maybe his producer Chad Elliot was against it.
So now, I ran into Rufus in the store and he gave me his numbers. Prior to running into him in the store I had asked for his number from one of my frat brother’s producers Pace Maker. He wouldn’t give me Rufus’s number, which I understood. He told me that he had to check with Rufus first. It’s been a year and he still hasn’t been able to check with Rufus about me getting his number. Technically, he didn’t know if I knew Rufus or not, and it seems as if he was not trying to find out either.
Now I’ve spoken with Pace Maker on many occasions about Hip Hop, about my beats, about his beats, and about my Frat Brother Stephen “The Fat Rapper” Collins’ Hip Hop career. I met Pace once in the studio in Ohio when they were recording one of The Phat Rapper’s songs. I thought him to be a cool cat and I liked him. We (him, me and Stephen) went out to eat after we left the studio that one night. I sent Pace some of my beats to get some critique on them and he did the same. He didn’t like but two or three of the thirty song snippets I sent him. I liked about six of the fifteen/twenty snippets he sent me. I think he is a talented producer, who if I had an album coming out, I’d rock to one of his tracks. I’ve written lyrics to two snippets on the tape he sent me. Outside of Stephen not letting me produce a song for him, and Pace not wanting me to produce a song for Stephen neither, I thought we had a pretty cool connection; until I ran into Rufus that is.
Rufus told me that Pace was in New York recording a song that he produced for Angie Stone through Rufus’s hook-up. Now if this is true, Pace came to New York and didn’t try in no kind of way to get in touch with me so that I could kick it with him and Rufus. And just before I bumped into Rufus, I had e-mailed Pace to talk to him since I hadn’t e-mailed him in a while. He said he hadn’t talked to Rufus in a while, that Rufus was a busy man and he still hadn’t asked Rufus if he could give me his numbers or give Rufus mine. So finding out he came to town and didn’t even try to holla at me tells me that we do not have a cool connection. It also led me to think that Pace is trying to keep me away from Rufus because he knows Rufus is well connected in the music industry and wants to keep all the hook ups for himself as a producer and not let me get any hook ups through Rufus. So until I find out different, I ain’t fuckin with Pace no more. And I ain’t tellin him that I finally got in touch with Rufus. My last test to find if Pace was really here is to ask Rufus Manager was he here. She’s straight up and will straight tell me. I asked both her and her boyfriend who was also Rufus manager and they confirmed that Pace had indeed been to town; a snake fake mutha fucka who doesn’t want you around because that may lessen an opportunity for him in the future; crab in a barrel ass nigga.
So, I gets in touch with Rufus and what is Rufus doing at this time? He’s writing R&B songs for this production company to submit to labels, mainly J Records, which has a little (well A LOT) to do with Clive Davis after he got let go from Arista Records. I called Rufus about three or four days after I had his number and left a message on his voice mails telling him how lonely I was and needed some friends, some women, etc. He calls me later that night around 11 P.M. while I was working on a Hip Hop track and he tells me to come to this studio.
I get there at 245 Canal St b/n Centre and Layfayette. He plays me this song he wrote called “Blowin’ It.” It was a nice song and he had a rap verse on it. He played a few more songs for me and they sounded nice also. Rufus told me that’s all he does is write songs by day, record them by night in the studio. He tells me about the production company, Ark Angel Productions and the camp there of rappers and singers that he’s bringin’ in. He listened to a few of my beats and said that I could produce a few songs for his artist, “Stack”. He heard a lot of weak stuff though because at this time I was tired with music and wasn’t making much and I wasn’t carrying around beat tapes anymore. Like the previous year, I wouldn’t leave the house without a tape in my hand.
Rufus said that I could be a part of the family because I was his friend who showed him love way before he was an artist on any label or signed to any production company and because he has mad love for my Frat Bro. Derrick “Dink” Trimble (R.I.P.). Being in the frat will help in the short or long term. If I hadn’t joined the frat, Dink wouldn’t be my frat bro. I wouldn’t have been able to talk and poly with Rufus before the parties started. He never would have looked up to me, which I think he did because I was an Alpha and a college student; thus, he probably wouldn’t have been and wouldn’t be accepting me as someone trying to be his friend, and trying to slowly get him to get me into this music game with him.
Rufus was like the best dancer in the group I recall. Kehl was also the man, and Ferino did weird shit on the dance floor. I liked them all because they were little somebodies. Like I said before, I’d always try to be cool and surround myself with people who had a quality about themselves. Rufus and Eazy Access had that quality. Rufus has, as far as I can tell, accepted me as his friend and into his music family. I’m goin’ over to his apartment today after work.
Rufus has projects goin’ for Angie Stone’s new album; Blaque’s new album; Salt’s new album; and Olivia, who’s signed to J Records, her debut album. He had the girl who sang the hook on the QB “Ooochi Wally” song, in the studio, and they banged out a nice song together. He writes these R&B songs with that hype-ness and energy that he used to put into his freestyle rhymes that I expected to be on his “Credentials” album. He’s definitely goin’ places with this music and will be plenty paid through a publishing deal very soon if not sooner. I told him the music money doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want your money, and I won’t pressure you to put me on in this music game. I love being around the music and I’m thankful just to be able to come to the studio and watch niggaz work on new songs. I told him that I was happy for him and will never hate or be jealous of him because of what he has that I don’t have. Rufus is a very down to earth artist and I hope our friendship can grow stronger and more personal and musically as well. Whether he knows it or not, I admire him for jumping from Youngstown, Ohio down to Atlanta, back up to New York and actually made it somewhere in this music maze. He’s already done what I’ve set out to do by leaving Warren, Ohio to be here in New York. I also, just as I always have, admire his talent. I’m not religious so I can’t say that it was divine intervention that I bumped into him and I think he’s a good friend to have. He’ s currently being faithful to his girlfriend of three years, Aiesha, not to say he ever cheated on her because I don’t know that. They just had a daughter, and Aiesha is still bangin’ as far as looks and body go. He believes in God and just wants a happy life with is family and music. Through my wishes, may he be blessed with all he’s been working for all these years and more because I want every black man to succeed in whatever it is he wants to succeed in, and I would hope that every black man would want the same for me.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A FRIEND OR ASSOCIATE THAT MADE IT INTO SHOW BIZ?