Dolemite – album artwork too explicit for store shelves

3 min read

This is the one where Eddy Murphy shows respect. There’s plenty of scenes featuring vinyl in the record store known to many as Dolphins or Hollywood. Check the post about John Dolphin the African American businessman who knew his way around the recorded music business.

The dialogue is needle sharp but understated. There’s plenty of set pieces, using the Dolphin records store where we meet Toney, an out gay man who works as a seller at the record store.

The banter between between Murphy as Dolemite and actor Tituss Burgess as Toney is magical and which continues throughout the biopic of Rudy Ray Moores ascendancy of his ailing career.

Every character has a shimmering moment on screen and there seems little stereotyping either. We meet Ricco, played by Ron Cephas Jones who is described as the hobo who as ‘a repository of Afro American folklore’. Nickel! This twerks Rudy Ray Moore’s brain and sparks his character Dolemite into being.

The prison creativity factor

Ricco is a rhymer, prison-style… explicit talk of prostitues, players and conmen. And it’s in the diner where the dialogue gets me hootin. There’s the moment the Toney and Rudy plus Ben Taylor from the Ben Taylor Band who play earlier in the film.

The conversation harps on about cultural appropriation of black artists doing renditions of white lyrics. Ben Taylor talking about perfecting a rendition of the track The Morning After, at one time recorded by Streisand, just in case a white face appears in the evening audience.

Rudy’s not sold on the idea of pushing and pandering to audiences and picks up on the ‘slight of mouth’ explicit rhyme that hobo Ricco would blurt out each time he popped into the record store.

A crude camp fest with panache

Ben Taylor and ally turn to mocking Rudy for ‘steeling jokes from hobos and idiots’. (They do eventually eat their hats, obviously). But none of this banter is malicious. It’s just playful jibing.

The hoot out load moment is when they wag on about how the prison rhyme scene took off… one of them innocently chipping in to say ‘they’re telling  jokes because they had nothing better to do.’ To which Toney replies in deepest befuddlement ‘well, they could fuck.’ Lol.

‘Yes, Toney’ chirps up Rudy ‘you could fuck… but we ain’t talkin’ about that right now’. Getting back to the crude prison thyme here told by Ricco, the ‘old bum with no teeth’, which ignited Rudy Ray Moore’s Dolemite delight.

Ricco’s original prison rhyme which inspired Rudy Ray Moore

One of the funniest things you ever did see,

Some people think that Willie Green was the baddest man the world had ever seen,

But I want you to light up a joint, screw your wig on tight,

And let me tell you about a bad mother fucker called D-o-l-e-m-i-t-e.


And of the album artwork too explicit for the record store shelves. Ray Moore as Dolemite shifted them from the trunk of his car. If, the records had been sold in store then this would have given the LA authority just cause to level an obscenity order at Dolphin records to have it shut down.

Check out the Dolemite album cover artworks online. You’ll see why.