Ruben Rodriguez, Former Motown & Columbia Promotion Exec, Dies at 68

After exiting Columbia, Rodriguez pursued his entrepreneurial calling with the establishment of  label, Pendulum Records. The label made its breakthrough with the 1992 release of Digable Planets’ “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” which hit No. 1 on the rap chart and No. 15 on the Hot 100. The song subsequently won the group a Grammy Award for best rap performance by a duo or group in 1994.

While building Pendulum, Rodriguez simultaneously accepted another senior vp promotion post, this time with Elektra Records. Responsible for working the hits behind artists such as Anita Baker, Keith Sweat and Natalie Cole, Rodriguez helped forge the label’s hip-hop footprint in the early ‘90s through projects by Brand Nubians and Leaders of the New School, the group that brought Busta Rhymes to the forefront.

In addition to Pendulum, Rodriguez also operated label consulting firm Ruben Rodriguez Entertainment, Inc. and management company RAM Talent Group, Inc. One of the latter’s first clients was R&B singer-songwriter Donell Jones; later signings included Shaliek and Lords of The Underground. In 2003 Rodriguez was presented with the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award by The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

Preceded in death last November by his son Xavier, who worked with him, Rodriguez is survived by his daughter Erica.

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