He is now Dr David Michael Rudder.
On October 24, the calypsonian, whose "lyrics could make a politician cringe and turn a woman's body into jelly," took the stage in a different light.
Rudder was honoured with the degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from the University of the West Indies for outstanding cultural contributions, alongside Dr Marjorie Thorpe, for her dedication and service to UWI, the country and the region.
The event marked the third day of the 2015 graduation ceremony of the University of the West Indies. Held at UWI Spec, St Augustine campus, it saw over 3,500 graduands honoured for their years of hard work and dedication. Rudder stood tall and proud, as the honour was bestowed on him by Chancellor Sir George Alleyne and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.
Mere minutes later his performance of the hit, Calypso Music, created quite a stir and drew loud applause and participation from the studious-looking audience.
A hush, though, fell over the auditorium, when Rudder performed The Ganges and the Nile. His powerful voice, accompanied by guitarist Wayne Bruno, reverberated around the halls of UWI Spec and elicited rousing applause on the last note.
Following the graduation, Rudder, accompanied by wife, Christine, daughter Sarai and sons Isaac, Noah and Adam, said he was inspired by the response from the younger members in the UWI audience.
It was a sign, he said, that his music was not "just floating in the wind."
In delivering the graduation address, Thorpe noted the dominant ratio of female graduates to their male counterparts.
"...the very presence of so many young women at this ceremony demonstrates that like their male colleagues, our women, too, now command the technical skills, the knowledge, the analytical competence and the determination to be equal partners in the drive to achieve developed country status," she stated.
They are just two of this year's eight honorary graduates, who also include Hollis R Charles, Justice Angela Permanand, A. Norman Sabga, Gerard Besson, Justice Ralph Narine and Rajkumar Persad.
Lily Kwok, who delivered the valedictorian speech, having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Literatures in English and Linguistics (First Class Honours), recalled the choice to curtail her pursuit of law. She encouraged the graduands to be true to themselves, even if it meant overlooking the demands or expectations of family, friends and society.
Also among the graduands was one of the media's own: TV4 presenter Nikoli Edwards, Guild Secretary, was awarded a bachelor of arts degree in communication studies and theatre Arts. Edwards was joined by his fellow UWI student executives, Kyle Delzin and Makesi Peters, who were celebrated for their achievements.
Delzin was awarded a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, while Peters received a bachelor of science degree in international relations and psychology.