Budd Dwyer (Rap Artist)

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Budd Dwyer in a scene from his controversial video and song "Suicidal Niggas".

Budd Dwyer (also known as Big B, Budd Beezy, and Big Beezy) was a successful rap musician and politician from the state of Pennsylvania. His professional success was hampered by his erratic personal behavior and frequent legal troubles, including incarceration. Dwyer's rhymes are known for advocating political, economic, social, and racial equality as well as his raw descriptions of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and conflicts with the law. Many fans, critics, and industry insiders rank him as the greatest rapper ever.

Music Career[edit]

In 1992, Budd Dwyer burst onto the gangsta rap scene with his runaway hit album Bitches Runnin' Wild, rocketing him to instant fame and granting him studio sessions with the likes of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and the Geto Boys. On this album Dwyer attacked social injustice, poverty and police brutality on songs "Dust in My Weed", "5-0 We Gots ta Go" and "Nigga Called Me Cholo So I Stole On 'Em". Dwyer was crucial to the foundations of the genre for introducing more violent lyrics over much rougher beats. The subject matter inherent in Dwyer's music has caused a great deal of controversy. Criticism has come from both right wing and left wing commentators, and religious leaders, who have accused his music of homophobia, violence, profanity, promiscuity, racism, and materialism. Before the late nineties, gangsta rap and hip hop in general, while being extremely popular, had always been seen as a fringe genre that remained firmly outside of the pop mainstream. However, the rise of Budd Dwyer signalled a major stylistic change in gangsta rap (or as it is referred to on the East Coast, Dwyer Rap), as it morphed into a new subgenre of hip hop which would become even more commercially successful. In 1996, shortly before the death of Tupac Shakur, Budd released his most iconic and successful album, and one of the top selling hip-hop albums in history, Get The Money. It was a very important album in popularizing gangsta rap and East Coast hip hop. Its peak position was #3 on the Billboard Charts and went on to sell 4 million copies with chart-breaking hits. The album was named after Budd Dwyer's love of recieving money. It is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential albums of the 1990s. Get The Money was included in VIBE's "100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century Vibe", ranked #137 in Rolling Stone's list of "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time", and was also listed in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the '90s". Furthermore, the album ranked #8 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s", and in 2005 it was ranked #35 in the "100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005" list by the same magazine. It was even ranked #6 in VIBE's "Top 10 Rap Albums of All Time". The album was also retroactively given a score of 5 mics from The Source magazine, making it a classic album (it received 4.5 mics in its original review). In 1998, the album was selected as one of "The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums". On the Billboard Music Charts (North America) album lists, Get The Money hit #1 R&B/Hip-hop and #3 Pop. Also, some critics claim that Get The Money is the best produced hip-hop album of all time.


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the contradictory themes of social inequality and injustice, unbridled aggression, compassion, playfulness, and hope all continued to shape Dwyer's work, as witnessed with the release of his incendiary 1998 album Bread N' Butter. In 1999 Dwyer released I Got Friends Downstayas. With many tracks on the album considered to be classics, including "Comin' At Me Sideways", "Wanna Try Me, Guv", "Sizzlin' Crack Rock", "Cincinnatti Bowtie" the controversial "Suicidal Niggas", and the title track "I Got Friends Downstayas", many critics consider this album to be a classic. I Got Friends Downstayas was a change of style from his earlier works. While still containing conscious songs and themes, Dwyer's album was heavily influenced by party tracks and tended to have a more "feel good" vibe than his earlier albums. Dwyer described it as a celebration of life. Nonetheless, the album was critically and commercially successful.

Budd Dwyer has one of the largest personal legacies of any music artist in history. The music and messages in his work pervaded the styles of the following generations and his music had great impact all over the nation and world. At an Everlasting Erection concert following the death of the famed icon and release of his Stay Away, This Will Hurt Someone album, Mike Hunt recalled in an interview that the fans were all shouting "Big Budd", and emphasized the influence of Stay Away, This Will Hurt Someone and of Dwyer himself even in New York at the height of the Dauphin County and Republican Party Chairman William Smith rivalry. About.com named Dwyer the most influential rapper ever.

In addition to rapping, Dwyer acted in films. He made his first film appearance in the 1994 film Rumpleforeskin, as part of a cameo. His first starring role was in the 1997 movie Balls A-Swangin' as Drew 'Scrote Sack' Bledsoe, a trigger happy teen, for which he was hailed by Rolling Stone's Peter Travers as "the film's most magnetic figure." He had also been slated to star in Barry Sonnenfeld's adaption of Wild Wild West but was replaced by Will Smith after assaulting the director.

Some believe that before his death, Budd had made amends with Chairman William Smith and Judge Malcolm Muir. Muir believes that their history together overshadowed the feud. Four years later, Chairman Smith publicly discussed the death of Dwyer in the song "Wait-That Shit is Loaded" from 2001 with his lyrics, "Big B, I'm still wit' you, fuck the beef, nigga I miss you, and that's just bein' real with you". Judge Muir later paid tribute to him on the song "It's Hard to Believe (We'll Never Smoke PCP Together Again)", off his comeback album Presidential Pardon, Rejected Plea Bargaining with the lyrics:

Never thought I'd see Budd in a casket

Thanks for everythang, that's on everythang

I learned a lot of game from you

I like your son, he got his name from you

I tell him everythang that he need to know

If he ask my advice, I won't think twice homey


Professor of Communications Murray Forman, of Northeastern University, spoke of the mythical status surrounding Dwyer's life and death. He addressed the symbolism and mythology surrounding Dwyer's death in his talk entitled "Budd Dwyer: O.G. (Ostensibly Gone)". Among his findings were that Dwyer's fans have "succeeded in resurrecting Budd as an ethereal life force". He ultimately described Dwyer as a "prolific artist" who was "driven by a terrible sense of urgency" in a quest to "unify mind, body, and spirit"

Dwyer is buried in Blooming Valley Cemetery in Blooming Valley, PA. His grave is visited by hundreds a day.

On November 14, 2003, a documentary about Dwyer entitled Dwyer: Resurrection, was released under the supervision of his wife and narrated entirely in his voice. The movie was nominated for "Best Documentary" in the 2005 Academy Awards. Proceeds will go to a charity set up by Joanne Dwyer.

Other theories have been put forth, including a conspiracy theory that Dwyer is alive and well, but in hiding. Many supporters of these theories point to the symbolism in Dwyer's Stay Away, This Will Hurt Someone album and in the video for the single "Ballsacks In Your Face". Efforts exposing these conspiracy theories include Budd Lives: The Death of Big Beezy / The Resurrection of Budd Dwyer (Volume 1) released in 2005

Trivia[edit]

  • After his televised demise, R Budd Dwyer's corpse was aquisitioned by Ra's Al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins and moustache affictionado. He thought that by using his infamous Lazarus Pit, which had the ability to restore life to the dead, he would be able to control Dwyer for his own devilish needs. However, when Dwyer was revived, he went completely insane and began to throw already living people into the Lazarus Pit. This caused a huge paradox in the DC universe which ultimately began the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • In February 1999, he was arrested for driving without a license and for being a convicted felon wearing a bulletproof vest (the first person arrested for this infraction under a new California law). Back in New York weeks later, he was arrested for drug possession of crack cocaine and for traffic offenses. With multiple cases in the past and present, he was arrested with marijuana and 20 vials of crack. After his arrest, Dwyer reportedly asked the police to "make the rocks disappear". During a court hearing, he once called a female prosecutor a "sperm donor."
  • In 2006, Budd Dwyer was honored at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors along with other legendary hip hop artists and pioneers such as Afrika Bambaataa, the Beastie Boys, MC Lyte, Ice Cube, Rakim, Russell Simmons, and the Wu-Tang Clan.
  • With over 75 million albums sold to date, Dwyer is the highest selling rap artist of all-time. With very few updates on his sales, new albums still being released and the continued sales of his prior albums, this number continues to rise.
  • In July 1998, only days after being shot in a push-in robbery at a cousin's house in Brooklyn, he was arrested for shoplifting a pair of $50 shoes from a Foot Locker store in Virginia Beach, Virginia, although he was carrying close to $500 at the time. He was issued bench warrants by the Virginia Beach Sheriffs Department to stand trial after he failed to appear in court numerous times. He was arrested for criminal threatening after a series of drunken confrontations in Los Angeles a few weeks later, and was then re-arrested for similar charges not long after that.
  • Budd Dwyer is believed to be the first rapper to have ever performed the notorious Crip Walk (or C-Walk) up on stage, in front of cameras sometime in the '80s. This added to his already controversial fame and gave rise to the C-Walk's mainstream presentation in other videos via WC, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and other Crip-affiliated rap artist.
  • In 1999 Dwyer also became the first rap artist to release two #1 albums on the Billboard 200 in the same year.I Got Friends Downstayas, released February 13th, 1996, and his first album released under the pseudonym, Big Beezy, Stay Away, This Will Hurt Someone.