This old school crew from Queens were really really big in the late 80s/early 90s. Comprised of Caliente Fredrick, (Super Lover Cee) and Erik Rudnicki (Casanova Rud), they had a string of popular songs on DNA and Elektra.
Rud (who calls himself ‘The Old Scholar of Hip Hop’) may be a little older and wiser these days, but he can still take a song and give it a good kick in the teeth. He still has all the swagger, charisma and talent of those early years, but his music today is seasoned with experience.
In Just Another Day (which starts with a great 90s-style intro and features Dromanoti), he gets right to the heart of the matter by letting you know he is still here and still in charge. As he says in the song, “I’ve been accused, blacklisted and they closed the door.” And what message does he have to those who doubted or deserted him? It’s not subtle: “So all of y’all who bailed out on me, FUCK YOU!” I love it. He goes on, “It’s funny/When you’re on/Everyone’s around/And when you’re down/Shit be just like a ghost town.”
In “Writing On the Wall”, another favorite of mine, the words are a message to wake up and get real and get ready: “Time to focus/The world is burning/There’s still time to save us all.” He sums up the sad state of today’s world too, “They’d rather follow Twitter/Than follow God’s plan.” The song speaks about waking up and doing something about the world before it’s too late. What I liked about it, aside from the lyrics, is the hope it conveys, that we really CAN do something about things if we try. And young artists, you should take heed of Casanova Rud…he’s telling you all you need to know if you’ll just listen.
In 2012 New World Order with Dromaoti, a disturbing look at the end of the world, Rud prophesies about the end of the world, and the images flashing in the background have a very punk rock kind of feel. It may have been Sarah Brightman singing in the background too, I’m not sure, but this video is a good example of how the anger and passion within Rud can impress you but also scare the shit out of you!
I can’t tell you how moved I was listening to Rud. I will be the first one to admit that I am no expert on rap or hip hop music, but I think there is something both magnetic and frightening about Rud’s music. Why? I have rarely heard any kind of music, hip hop or otherwise, that packed such a hard punch of wittiness, musical ability, lyrical style, and emotion. The emotion comes, in my opinion, from what Rud has been through over the years. I have no knowledge of what happened or didn’t happen. Whatever happened, good or bad, it’s left its mark, and obviously there have been some hard, painful times.
But what I love is how he takes whatever pain he’s experienced and puts it into very very well-crafted lyrics. His story-telling is well-thought out and coherent, and I sat listening to his music like a kid at the feet of my parents while they read me a story. He does tell a story in every song and between the interesting background tracks and his clever syncopation, it’s a story you want to keep listening to.
I found that in most cases, Rud’s songs are entertaining, fantastic, funny, and imaginative. I sensed that even in the angrier songs, he still had a little bit of that 1988 charmer underneath, smiling that sly 1988 smile. I could see it, really!
But listening to his music, you hear someone who has made it through and still writes lyrics that will blow you away. It’s a real story of struggle and survival, and I’m the better for having heard his music.
I look for the story in rap and hip hop music. I hope today’s young artists will one day have as good a story to tell as Casanova Rud. In “This is What Hip Hop’s About” he assures us, “I will never stop.” Thank God he’s “still in the game”.