Right now she’s incarcerated for manslaughter. I knew my father, but he’s never been around. I’ve basically just been alone my whole life.” Without any parental guidance, Lil Ru found shelter in various recording studios around his hometown of Ridgeway, South Carolina. After years of recording and releasing independent tracks that were highly revered around the Southern United States, in March 2009, Lil Ru finally got the break he deserved when he was offered a spot on hip-hop’s most historic label, Def Jam.
Ru’s seductive street single, “Nasty Song” was all it took for the 23-year-old to step into the spotlight. “’Nasty Song’ has been the biggest single I have ever had,” says Ru about the first track released off his debut album 21 & Up. “It changed my life and got me into this Def Jam situation. Being signed puts you a much better position when you do go to radio stations because people are more likely to play your music. It’s an all around better look for me.” Long before Lil Ru had the power of Def Jam behind him, he figured out how to make noise on his own as an independent artist.
When he was 16, Lil Ru caught the attention of the sultry soul singer Angie Stone who helped Ru secure a record deal with the now defunct Elektra Records. Less than a year later, the label dropped Ru when it was absorbed by another company leaving Ru once again on his own. Convinced he was still going to make it, the determined young M.C. dropped the snap track “Don’t I Look Good” which started buzzing down South.
Through the success of his song, Ru was courted by other labels including Capitol Records who he was signed to for a short period of time in 2007. Unable to match the success he found on his own, Ru returned to the independent scene. He continued on his solo grind for the next year by dropping street songs and performing at clubs in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. “I had the streets going crazy for like a year or two,” says Ru. “I dropped ‘Nasty Song’ and started pushing that on my own.
Then I got my spins up to a nice number to where the labels started recognizing me and then Def Jam came and picked the song up this year.” Ru was signed in March of 2009 after performing for the top executives at Def Jam. Now that he is in the commercial system, he plans to join forces with the label to create a movement behind his newest material. Produced entirely by Lil Ru’s in-house producers, 21 & Up is an album Ru describes as versatile thanks to its wide-ranging subject matter. “I feel like the album represents everything it takes to be a man,” he says. “Whether you’re in the club, the streets, or just struggling all around; People are going to relate.” On the sober sounding “Life,” Ru details the trials and tribulations of his younger life and how his mom’s absence affected his childhood.
“Like Dat” lightens the mood as Ru goes out of his way to please the ladies. The party continues with “Yeah That’s Money,” a song that celebrates the finer things in life. “Versatility makes me different from the average rapper right now,” explains Lil Ru. “I’m not just raping fast or rapping slow, I can do any type of song whether it’s an R&B type record or rap or rock ‘n roll. I can pretty much do anything.” With his debut album, 21 & Up set to be released late this summer, Lil Ru is determined now more than ever to win.
And even though he is now part of the world’s most powerful hip-hop label, he will always be his own man first. “Never having that stable background or that family, I was alone a lot,” says Ru. “I was able to make a situation happen with my music and I was able to feed myself and family off of that. Music always had me first; I always stayed focused on that.” Read more on Last.fm.
User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more