Artist Spotlight: Rugz D. Bewler
Clever, smart and charming like the beloved 1980s film character that inspired his moniker, Rugz D. Bewler is part of a new wave of Harlem hip-hop artists. Bewler’s distinct tone and lazy uptown drawl, versatility as a songwriter and arsenal of witty metaphors and colorful stories all combine to make his current mixtape, Bewler’s Day Off, a must-have addition to your music collection.
Affiliated with Damon Dash‘s Creative Control collective, Bewler’s currently riding high on the critical and commercial response to “Super Bad,” his insanely catchy track with notable producer Ski Beatz. He chats with us about his growing exposure, his significant Roc-A-Fella connection, bringing Harlem back to the forefront of rap and more.
Where does the name Rugz D. Bewler come from?
“Originally I went by the moniker D. Rugz, which I got because my first name starts with a ‘D’ and I was a big fan of Cam’ron and his song ‘D Rugs.’ But then, after some research, I realized other artists used the name, too. So what I did was reverse ‘D. Rugz’ to ‘Rugz D.’ and added ‘Bewler’ as if it were a last name, which comes from my favorite movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I just changed the spelling to something easier. My current name is cooler and it fits me better as an artist. Plus, D. Rugz just wasn’t commercially viable.”
Your mixtape, Bewler’s Day Off, is out now. How are you finding the feedback on it?
“I think everyday it’s more and more progress. Being a new artist puts you in a box to where people don’t give you a try. But in my case, once you listen to one track it puts you in a mood to listen to more. Whether it be a fast or slow process, I feel it will be appreciated in the long run.”
How would you describe your music-making process?
“My music-making process consists of good people around me, some rum and coke, weed and women. The [women] usually have the best ear and keep it real.”
You interned at Roc-A-Fella during the height of their success. What good things—and bad things—did you learn from your time there?
“It was more close to the end of Roc-A-Fella. The positive I gained from my experience interning is that, as my career goes on, the same people that I once interned with I’m now doing business with and working with so the connections are already there. The negative is that a lot of people aren’t who they really are—they’re not genuine, and didn’t particularly know what they were doing.”
Harlem hip-hop is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance right now, with a renewed interest in Dipset, plus the arrival of Vado and now yourself. What special vibe does Harlem bring to the rap game?
“I think it brings the aesthetic of the cool, everyday Joe; the person that can relate to doing extravagant things as if they were a celebrity. And there are a lot of people that live that life that aren’t entertainers. We put a lot of style in our music and boast a lot in our lyrics but if you’ve ever been to Harlem, what we’re saying is nine times out of 10 true.”
You have a very strong Internet presence, including your Web series, The Chronicles Of Rugz D. Bewler. Back in the day, an artist had to maintain an air of mystery to set them apart from everyone else, but nowadays everything is documented. Do you think too much exposure is a good or bad thing?
“It depends on how diverse the artist is. More diversity means more angles, more places to travel, more people to influence. I feel exposure is something that should be deserved and not something that you should seek. The demand of the artist makes the career stronger than over-saturating your presence to the people.”
How would you describe your personal fashion style? What are some of your favorite brands?
“I would say cool, casual and spontaneous. I’m not afraid to try new things but I’m stern on what doesn’t work for me. Some of my favorite brands are Y-3, Mishka, Original Fake, Stussy, Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs, but I can go on and on.”
I remember meeting you at a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony listening session and you came across as quite cocky. Is that how you’d describe yourself?
“Well, usually, people don’t perceive me as cocky, but what I receive from people I usually give back [wink, wink]. [Laughs] If you had to describe my style it’d be considered ‘mellow arrogance.’ Real subtle, sharp and undeniable. Still in all, humility is first and key to my everyday life.”
Check out Ski Beatz featuring Rugz D. Bewler’s video for “Super Bad”:
Download Bewler’s Day Off here.
Images: Evan Brockett