June 27, 2004
Dru Onyx to debut hip-hop CD
By COREY DAVID LACROIX - SLAM! Wrestling
MONTREAL - John Cena, step back, 'cause Thuganomics is about to get Onyxized!
Canadian grappler Dru Onyx has just finished working in the studio on his latest CD, entitled Sinebriated, scheduled for release in September on the Clutch-Behind the Track record label, distributed by Fusion 3 records.
Appearing under his hip-hop guise of R-Kade, the 16-song disc will provide the Montreal-based wrestler an opportunity to express himself in a unique and personal way. "It's a collaboration of things that have gone on in my life, it's about life situations," said Dru Onyx (real name Rodney Kellman) in an interview with SLAM! Wrestling.
Most people who know about Onyx are more accustomed to seeing the six foot two, 300-plus pounder 'express' himself in the professional wrestling ring. Trained by Quebec veteran wrestler Marc "Grizzly" Pilon, Onyx has made a name for himself with various independent promotions since his debut in 1999.
"I'm a Libra, so everything in my life is about balance," remarked Onyx in reflecting on his dual passions; hip-hop and wrestling. "For me, I need to be mentally stimulated and physically stimulated at the same time in order to co-exist properly."
Since the age of 16, Onyx has indulged in the art of rap, pursuing various independent solo projects, performing live in concert and collaborations, most notably with fellow Montreal artists, Bran Van 3000. "I've opened up for a lot of groups from the States that have come to Montreal; Ice-T, Public Enemy, ONYX, Notorious B.I.G., Red Man, anyone who was anyone" said Onyx.
Balancing his past rap efforts with an active semi-pro football career provided that necessary counterweight for his personality.
"I use to always think 'Maybe if I focused on one, I'd excel with it,'" he said. "But the fact is I always needed the other one. I can't go to bed until I'm physically exhausted. I got to do something physical. I have a high testosterone level in me."
With his football career winding down in the late '90s, wrestling appeared to be the natural environment to move into and provide his fix for physicality. It would also prove to be fertile ground for exercising his creative energy in developing his wrestling persona.
"Rapping has allowed me to become comfortable in front of a crowd, being interviewed, doing promos or just getting the attention of the people watching. Rap really helped me to get ready for wrestling."
But that's as far as it goes for Onyx, who made clear his resistance to assume any kind of character in the ring that is based on his rap exploits. "I like to separate both," Onyx said, expanding on his aversion to acquiring the stereotype hip-hop character.
"I don't want to be a novelty act. I want people to know that I am capable of being a professional wrestler and not rely on the fact that I am a rapper. I don't want anybody to feel that I didn't deserve any accolades or any levels of success because of a rap gimmick. That's why when I first started wrestling, I didn't tell anyone that I rapped."
While his hip-hop career has yet to provide Onyx fame and fortune, it has elevated him to being financially independent, while still pursuing his love of being in the ring. Specifically, he is the co-CEO of Clutch Records, the very label that is releasing his CD, in addition to his involvement with a local talent management agency. "Some people ask me, would I like to be in the WWE? Well, with the contracts their giving out now, I make more money than some of the wrestlers there and I have the luxury of staying home," he said.
Baring that in mind, is the pressure on Onyx from within the hip-hop industry to shed his wrestling pursuits?
"Those who know me know I've always been a wrestling fan," professed Onyx, despite the injuries and pain that comes with the arduous lifestyle. "I'm an entertainer by nature. I like pleasing other people. I feel good when I make other people feel good and wrestling gives me that venue."
For the present time, rap will have to take back seat, as Onyx will depart this Wednesday for a one week wrestling tour of Ireland with the NWA-Ireland promotion. There, he will assume yet another personality, Son of Abdullah, a take off and dedication to the one and only, Abdullah the Butcher.
As Onyx explained, it was early in his wrestling career when he began brain storming for a gimmick he could use to acquire international bookings, despite being a unknown commodity.
"I didn't know if I should have been happy or not," recalled Onyx, when it was suggested by a fellow independent worker that he take on the Son of Abdullah character.
The end result was Onyx scoring his first overseas tour with the NWA/UK Hammerlock promotion in England last year.
"They went nuts," he said, in describing the crowd reaction to his first appearance for the promotion. "It was one of the best pops I've ever gotten."
Still hungry for overseas exposure, Onyx pledged his resolve to wrestle in the Land of the Rising Sun. "I want to go to Japan. Before my career is over, I will be there."
Corey David Lacroix can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.