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R.I.P. RUBEN RODRIGUEZ

We are saddened to hear of the death of Ruben Rodriguez, a legendary promo and marketing executive who founded Pendulum Records and helped guide multiple legacy labels into the hip-hop marketplace.

Rodriguez died Monday at the age of 68.

In a career that stretched back to the mid-1970s, Rodriguez did stints at Motown, Casablanca in its heyday, Island, Columbia in the 1980s and finally, Elektra, where he and the company partnered on Pendulum and broke Digable Planets.

At Casablanca he worked records by Donna Summer, Parliament Funkadelic and Cameo. At Columbia, where he was key to developing and promoting Terence Trent D'Arby, Public Enemy, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and LL Cool J, he played a crucial role in getting George Michael’s Faith to #1 on the R&B charts.

He left Casablanca to join Elektra as SVP, working with Anita Baker, Keith Sweat and Natalie Cole and developing its presence in hip-hop through the music of Busta Rhymes and Brand Nubians.

While at Elektra, he founded Pendulum Records, which allowed him to sign R&B and hip-hop acts. A year in, Pendulum had its first major hit with Digable Planets’ “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat).” Rodriguez revived Pendulum in 2008, enjoying success with gospel artists. He also ran RAM Talent Group, where he managed Donell Jones and helped him launch his own label.

Rodriguez received the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award in 2003 from the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Living Legends Foundation in 2015.

Rodriguez with Regina Belle and Don Cornelius. 

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