Subscribers of Sirius/XM radio know Jude Angelini as “Rude Jude,” the Hip Hop shock jock at the helm of the fantastic All Out Show on Eminem’s Shade 45 station. His story is the stuff of which Middle-Class American legends are made. The kid from Pontiac, Michigan lands on TV, heads to California to strike gold and ironically ends up making a living on the radio by refusing to compromise who he is. Angelini is brash, unapologetic, and hilarious; and whether you like it or not, he’s got a blue-collar story to tell.
Most recently, Angelini’s career took a bold step by way of two soul-baring memoirs that move with the concise, calculated pace of Hemingway, and cut directly to the core of what it feels like to wander Los Angeles, alone together with a phone buzzing with Tinder matches and a pocket full of “science drugs.” His tales are critical glimpses into his cold, chemical world, but manage to make it out the other side with a sliver of hope and the notion that you get out of this life what you dump in.
Ahead of his newest book, Hummingbird which releases today, Angelini took some time to discuss his influences, the writing process, and his take on Hip Hop in 2017.
Many people got their introduction to you via The All Out Show on Sirius/XM. But first, you did some TV, and a podcast, The Foreally Show?
The podcast got me ready for radio. Ross (the co-host) and I have been friends since we were 12 years old, so we just had to get our timing down. I did the Jenny Jones show as the character “Rude Jude,” where I came on and talked shit to the guests. I said what the host couldn’t. This was a pre-Internet time when talking shit was a personal thing, and people found it hilarious. But I wasn’t making any money. So I came out to LA to get some work. I worked a couple of shitty jobs, which eventually led me to the radio job.
What was Pontiac like growing up?
Being a kid there, you couldn’t be soft. There are moments in both books that deal with being punked and taking L’s, but you just had to adapt. Some of that shit haunts me to this day. I’ve been called a punk, a wigger; all sorts of names. Those experiences are reflections of what’s going on today. People do a lot of talking about “bullying.” Kids shouldn’t bully. But kids should also learn karate so they can whoop some bully’s ass.
What was the catalyst for your 1st book, Hyena?
Hyena came from necessity. The story I’m telling is mine. I’m talking about doing Ketamine and fucking bitches all the time, but it’s also an American story, a blue-collar story. But there are so many gray areas in America that “normal” is very different depending on where you look. People perceive me a Hip Hop radio shock jock, so obviously, I write for my fans. But it’s more than that.
Can you describe your writing process?
Hyena took a few years to write. I wrote an hour a day, five days a week. It felt like a regular job. Hummingbird, took eight months once I settled into my rhythm and routine.
Both books have that blue-collar appeal to them without coming off as simplistic. They’re nuanced and complex, but they don’t feel forced. Which writers were parts of your blueprint?
People have compared me to Bukowski, but I haven’t read much of him except maybe twenty years ago. He did show me you don’t have to be some master of grammar to tell your story. I’m not college educated, shit it took me five years to get out of high school, but that’s why my books relate to the common man. I also like Roald Dahl’s dark tones. Elmore Leonard is from Detroit; he’s another influence of mine.
You’re currently pitching the idea of Hyena to TV executives. How do you see it coming to life as a show?
I envision it going to streaming or subscription platform. People are moving away from regular TV, and I want to take steps forward with my work, not backward. Listen, there are brutal and raw moments in these books- and there’s no one to play me but me- so I sit down and pitch a mix of what’s on the pages of the book and me. There’s no other way. The more meetings I get, the more I see what stories get a reaction. Like when I read the story about my Dad telling me about eating my Mom’s ass as a way of explaining sex. Some networks think that’s crazy. But that crazy is my normal.
The new book, Hummingbird, takes the reader deeper into your world. It’s more personal than your previous work. Is writing a way to cope?
I always said that after Hyena I wouldn’t write another book. Writing it was tough, but selling it was even harder. You have to make people believe that your work is worth their time. Two of my homeboys OD’d on drugs that I gave them- those stories are in the new book- so I felt like I had to tell these stories as well. My writing is dedicated to so many people. So I wanted to give it back to them, in a way.
Your social media feeds make it clear you’re a classic rock, funk, and
Soul fan. What do you think of Hip Hop in 2017?
I don’t think about it. When you called me I was listening to Donnie Hathaway’s Greatest Hits. Now cats are making music for younger people. I don’t have the desire to keep up. When I’m driving, I’ll still listen to new rap out of Detroit, because that’s where I’m from, but new rap feels like a business. Kids are savvy, selling their shit to the masses. They’re using social media to stand on the shoulders of giants. I saw this Bieber/DJ Khaled video the other day, with product placements everywhere. Back in the day if you did that shit, you’d be called a sellout. But then KRS did it, Big Daddy Kane did it, and now it’s part of the game.
Your presence on Instagram is massive. Where do you find the content for “White People Wednesday”?
I just go to where the white people are (laughs). That’s where the shit is funniest. I find content on Reddit and Instagram. I make some memes, and I borrow some. I didn’t have an Instagram account until I wrote Hyena; I made it to sell the book. I have over 100 thousand followers on that shit, but I haven’t sold 100 thousand books, so I ain’t doing something right (laughs). Look, I always say when you see me with a flip phone- when I no longer have to post content- then I’ve made it; until then I’m still grinding.
Last one. Your ship is sinking, and the lifeboat only has room for you, one book, one record, and one drug. What are you taking with you?
Shit, that’s a hard one. I’m taking some sort of Methamphetamine so I can row that boat all damn day. Definitely, A Boy Scout’s survival guide, since I’m in survivor mode. And one record? Ok, since this is a rap thing I have to cater to that (laughs). Outkast, Aquemini. ———-
Huge thanks to Jude for his time. Be sure to follow him on Instagram @ onemorejude, and Snapchat @ Rude_Jude. Hyena can be purchased on Amazon.com, and grab Hummingbird today, September 19th here.