“Over there on the couch, playing Nintendo, that’s D Ruff: David Ruffin Jr., the Detroit-born son of the late Temptations singer (David Ruffin), who’s come to California to make himself a star. D Ruff’s friend Tony Green is Dre’s bass player, a world-class R&B pro.”
– Billboard Mag
My father David Ruffin is exactly what a lead singer should sound like! Although as a youngster, I spent a fair amount of time looking upwards at him… it was his stature, presence and charisma that I saw more than his vocal abilities. Even those times when I was at side stage during a performance, or even on stage with him, I wasn’t quite yet seeing what most people saw in him when he was a Temptation or just performing solo. I always seemed to see him standing there alone…even in a room full people. More than occasionally I noticed other’s eyes light up and stare at him in amazement when he arrived at an Event. I, unlike those that gazed at him as “Mr My Girl”, was simply staring at my “daddy”. It’s simple and sorta cute, but over explaining that I looked up to my father, is probably every son’s plan in the onset of being a young man. Imagine, that there are potentially millions and millions of young men that aspire to follow in their father’s footsteps but fall short. And I’m guessing, thousands and thousands of young men that never even knew who their father was. Let alone expected by too many people, to grow up anything like him! I would also presume there are hundreds and hundreds of young men that hold the torches of the bloodline that they carry. For me and so few other “Jr’s though, walking in the shadows of the greatest of anything is intimidating to say the least.
My father always said, “stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready”
I have all that I need to work with, with this one pair of hands! To craft my own way with, but I’m ready, willing and by the grace of God, able! Thank you Dad, for all that you were, are, and yet still to be. I have honored your name from day one when you gave it to me. I support you, your achievements and your legacy. I wonder if you remember the horse ranch, when you got upset with me for not feeding the horses correctly and me asking you to “please judge me by my intentions” and you agreed to do that for me. In my eyes, we were actually learning one another. I was learning the difference between fear and respect. You were learning the difference between control and confidence. You simply believing in me, that I could use the things you taught me and have enough sense to improve on it was a confirmation. It confirmed that you were still learning, teaching and striving for self improvement. Thank you for the character tools, Pop! Even in some of our weakest moments, you gave me strength.
Picking up the speed in my career right around the age that your’s prematurely stopped, is an oddity for me, but more so a huge privilege. Understanding the name I carry, the talent and the expectation of the fans that you have left your voice upon. Every day there are new souls appreciating you.
I hope he can rest easy knowing that he left more than a mark. He has 3 grandsons to continue his reign once I cannot. And although they say that pressure can burst a pipe, I’m fortified, prepared and going hard in the paint with your twins theme song, “Keep On Truckin’” in mind. That song helped me understand my father better… or at least his drive. I’m know I did not see his grind as clearly as I do now! Exactly how the hurrying up, just to wait, combined with the anxiety and or expectation of people clambering to see him all the time, must have built his confidence to galactic levels. I can only assume that my Pops wanted to see me escape a majority of those same challenges. I hope more so that the spirit of my father and of my living mother, approve of what I’ve become and are proud of the humility I have found and practice.
So what else do I dream and aspire to be other than the “Son of David”, which most others around the world, either anticipate, or worse, expect me to be? I just practice my calm and I practice my cool (PMC/PYC)
God willing, I am a better version of the yesterday’s DRJ. Although I can only hope to acquire a fraction of the success or acclaim that my father has, I’ve already felt the love of his fans today. Knowing I have done things differently than what my father did or would do, I’ll pray you will cheer me on as I navigate the rest of the Royalty. I do not cast or wish any of what he wanted me to unsee, on anyone. However, he left a few things unfinished… both personally and professionally. Do I feel any ownership in that? Yes indeed … so for many years, I’ve strived to be what the people wanted. instructed, suggested, begged and even pleaded for me to be! I have obliged at almost every turn… every request to sing one of my Father’s songs were met! I have even had to prove whether or not the dance moves and abilities were passed down me, only to be once again compared to dad.
I think back to when I gave into the suggestion of my father leaving the rap approach to music and embracing the swag and lifestyle of an R&B artist. It was a huge smack in the face and a brick to my heart when 2 weeks later… he had f%#king died on me! I had yet to feel such interest from him in my craft prior to playing this song for him over the phone while he was in Europe . Which by the way I was proud to have converted from a rap platform, into an R&B, new jack swing kind of a song. Ahhh, once again he gave way to my choice – judging me on my intentions! That was the day that I knew that I had to continue to record music, even if just in his honor. You know, pay some type of homage to him now… before he could ever even think about dying. Well, we all know by the timeline of our lives, that I missed that mark. In spite of that, I have not and will not quit!
Some who love my father have proven their loyalty to a fault with internet bullying and venomous hate for different members of my immediate family and even as terroristic as death threats on my mother. Sadly, and with much creative energy needed, I have found that there’s something to appreciate in that… especially if I am judging something or someone, by their actions as opposed to their intentions. Maybe when we all transition, you, me, my dad and God can all sit and talk it out…lol. (or I can watch my father slap the s&#t out of you for talking shit! Until then my old and new friends, #wingsup to each and every one of you. This is where we all witness together; win, lose or draw, the passing of the baton… and what levels this Bloodline can reach… and the Bloodline continues…
LoveLouvLuv, DRJ (David Ruffin Jr)
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