The History Of Rucka Rucka
Rucka Rucka Ali is an American rapper, singer, radio personality, comedian and satirist most noted for his song parodies on YouTube. His songs Go Cops, Ima Korean, I Can Do Whatever I’m White, and Ching Chang Chong have accumulated the most internet traffic of his catalogue, with countless other parody videos trailing not far behind. Rucka’s song parodies are often focused on race, politics or pop culture.
Rucka is arguably one of the most successful artists to emerge on YouTube, especially factoring the strict word-of-mouth (or, in the age of viral videos, of-eye) nature of publicity on which he relies, as well as factoring the frequent deletion of Rucka’s videos by YouTube’s staff. Indeed, Rucka Rucka Ali has come to be defined as an internet outlaw in his own right, a champion of vulgar laissez-faire humor at war with the complacent status quo of political correctness. He has earned an estimated 100 million views on YouTube, along with an undoubted presence in the homes, schoolyards, college campuses and office cubicles of his fans in the United States and around the world. Rucka has released five digital studio albums worldwide, all with Pinegrove Records.
Rucka Rucka Ali first appeared in 2006 on MySpace Music, with the debut single I Heart
Crack laying the foundation for the neurotically-violent persona that Rucka would develop. Alongside Crack was the Asian-heavy single Smoke Tree, which the modern listener could easily identify as the conception of what would later be Rucka’s beloved alter-ego, DJ Not Nice. Rucka Rucka Ali collaborated with the comedic rap duo Dali-Llama & Tickle Man for the diss-record West Branch Pillage, a passionate condemnation of a very random MySpace user that had insulted Rucka via MySpace comments. This bizarre tribute to a non-event involving a drive-by troll laid another keystone in the foundation of Rucka’s zealous glorification of his online affairs.
In the days that MySpace reigned supreme, Rucka Rucka Ali could be found commenting on the site’s “Featured Videos.” His comments would often be provocative and in all-caps, prompting thousands of MySpace users to then visit Rucka’s music page out of anger, delight or mere curiosity. As a result, Rucka Rucka Ali’s fan base grew exponentially, as did his traffic and listenership. This formula was seemingly flawless, until Rucka’s profile got flagged for spam and his music page was deleted by the MySpace staff on February 14, 2008. Although his Valentine’s Day was perhaps ruined, this did not stop Rucka from creating a new MySpace page and resuming to promote his music. Rucka Rucka Ali’s fan base was back to its previous magnitude by August of 2008, when he released his debut album“Straight Outta West B”. The name of the album, obviously spoofing N.W.A.’s classic “Straight Outta Compton”, embellished what would soon become Rucka’s main occupation: Parody.
In September 2008, Rucka Rucka Ali released his first viral YouTube video, I Can Do Whatever I’m White. The video, consisting fully of pictures (a style Rucka would embrace over the course of his career), quickly garnered 25,000 views in its first week. While this viewcount pales in comparison to some other popular YouTube videos, the controversy was remarkable. The comments on the video, as well as on the later-released live-action music video for the song (featuring rap legend MC Serch), were frequently calling the lyrics “racist.” On the flipside, many comments were in defense of the lyrics on the grounds of free speech, of comedy, or simply on the grounds that the lyrics were true. The song’s abrasiveness was relatively timid, compared to what Rucka Rucka Ali would write later on down the road.
Rucka Rucka Ali operated for the following year in partnership with Serchlite Music and Pinegrove Records. The latter, owned and
run by Detroit producer Randy Nelsen, had been Rucka’s creative home since the beginning of his rap career (and still is to date).
Serchlite, owned by MC Serch, became affiliated with Rucka Rucka Ali in 2008, mostly involving a joint-venture YouTube partnership. It
was on Serchlite Music’s YouTube page that Rucka premiered his viral hit Ching Chang Chong, which was accumulating millions of
views when YouTube‘s staff deleted the video for allegedly violating the site‘s Community Guidelines. What followed was the beginning of
a cyber phenomenon: Dozens of YouTube users uploaded copies of Ching Chang Chong onto their own channels. The viral video was to
stay on YouTube, Community Guideline violations and all. This spontaneous grassroots movement of Rucka’s fans, or, as he calls them,
Rucka’s Nuckas, would soon grow into a global infantry of free speech advocates, at full-on war with the staff of YouTube.
In the summer of 2009, Serchlite Music’s YouTube page was suspended by YouTube’s staff for alleged violations of the site’s terms
of service. On the channel had been Rucka Rucka Ali’s hit video Ima Korean, soon to be re-uploaded by many other YouTube users. On
his own YouTube channel, Rucka soon released his monumental Me No Rikey YouTube, further publicizing YouTube’s censorship and his fans’ retaliation. One of Rucka’s next videos, Russia’s Gay, was deleted by YouTube’s staff almost daily. Some have speculated whether the constant deletion of Russia’s Gay stems from YouTube’s Russian part-ownership, for its seemingly anti-gay lyrics, or merely for the fact that American exceptionalism is the epitome of political incorrectness. The song featured two of Rucka’s new alter-egos: Boris Anatasha, the poverty-stricken Soviet, and Toby Queef, the prideful American country music star. The latter would appear again in a handful of Rucka’s songs, becoming a famous character nearly as adored as DJ Not Nice.
By 2010, YouTube’s staff had lifted the suspension of Serchlite’s channel, but Rucka Rucka Ali was not rushing back to it. During his
period of exile, Rucka had written such hits as Russia’s Gay, Emo (Like A Nazi), and Celebs Kill Yerself, steering his style and subject
matter away from Serchlite’s Hip-Hop edge and toward his own twisted perception of pop culture. In a strive for complete creative
independence and accountability, Rucka parted ways with MC Serch and continued to launch new material on his own YouTube channel.
Partnered with Pinegrove Records’ Randy Nelsen, Rucka launched his own website, RuckasWorld.com. The primary purpose of the site was to keep a safe vault of Rucka’s videos online, in light of YouTube‘s frequent deletion of his work. Pinegrove remained Rucka Rucka Ali’s home base as he continued to write song parodies of Top40 hits. Soon would come the earth-shattering, ground-breaking (puns intended) Don’t Be A Playa, Haiti, as well as the biggest hit of Rucka’s career, Go Cops. Rucka’s sophomore album, I’m Black, You’re White & These Are Clearly Parodies was released on Pinegrove Records in August 2010. It peaked at #6 on Billboard’s comedy chart.
Up to that point, YouTube’s staff’s deletion of Rucka Rucka Ali’s videos had become part of the narrative, but not necessarily the
rule. All of Rucka’s biggest hits had been allowed to flourish and gain momentum on the video-hosting site, with the occasional deletion.
Could a video that is constantly deleted by YouTube’s staff still go viral via re-uploading on various YouTube accounts? Could a video
that is immediately banned by YouTube’s staff still gain millions of YouTube views and climb to the top of the comedy charts? These
questions would soon be answered by Rucka Rucka Ali’s monstrous smash hit, Justin’s Beaver.
Denying any relation to a similar teen pop star, Rucka railed against “some guy [he] know[s]” Justin, repeatedly calling him a “faggot”
in the catchy chorus of the medley. YouTube’s staff deleted the video from Rucka’s account within 24 hours, as it allegedly violated the
site’s Community Guidelines for Hate Speech. Rucka’s Nuckas had other plans. The video, which had gotten around 50,000 views during its short life on Rucka’s channel, would soon surface on countless others. Justin's Beaver would ultimately survive persecution, swimming in an ocean of re-uploads by thousands of YouTube users.
The newfound virtual invincibility gave Rucka Rucka Ali license to release his following hit, Only 17. This video survived mere hours
on Rucka’s channel before YouTube’s staff gave it the axe. Like before, Rucka’s Nuckas ensured that the video would live on through re-
upload incarnation. The process repeated when Rucka released Osama Bin Found, another banned video to gain worldwide viewership
against YouTube’s staff’s better judgment. The banning of this outlandish topical tribute to the late terrorist marked a new level of pompous
moral incoherence in YouTube’s staff’s sensibilities; they were no longer protecting the feelings of Asians or gays, but actually taking the
side of Osama Bin Laden. The surreal hypocrisy of political correctness was now on full display, though not televised. YouTube’s staff
continued to delete uploads of the Osama Bin Found video when it gained viral status, nearly extinguishing it on the 10th anniversary of
On Pinegrove Records, Rucka Rucka Ali released a Christmas album in 2010, titled A Very Rucka Christmas. It was re-released in
2011, with additional material, and titled A Very Rucka Christmas: The 2nd Cumming. In July of 2011, Rucka released his third non-
holiday album, Probably Racist. This album, featuring many parodies and a large handful of original songs, was named in reference to a
quote by a British school principal in a 2010 BBC article. The article, viewable here, discusses a screening of Rucka’s Ima Korean video
in a classroom at Portchester School in Bournemouth, UK. The principal, whom had not himself professed to viewing the video, was
quoted as saying the video was “probably racist.” The news article omits listing Rucka Rucka Ali as the song’s artist, further casting him to
an existence of anonymity while building his cult status.
As time unfolds, Rucka Rucka Ali continues to spoof. YouTube continues to delete, and Rucka’s Nuckas continue to re-upload.
New eyes and ears continuously discover Rucka on YouTube, Pandora, and countless other sites. While the mainstream media attempts to
keep up with the culture of the Internet, they dare not delve into Rucka’s World, a dark and demented place where stereotypes are celebrated and caricatures come to life. The perceived opportunity of Internet stardom is that it could, at best, lead to mainstream stardom. As far as Rucka Rucka Ali is concerned, however, the outside world will need to adjust its sensibilities to his standards before he ever bids for the red carpet. Rucka’s Internet celebrity is an end within itself. Why compromise?