Rapeman was formed in 1987. The band's name was controversial. In an interview, Albini reported that "'Rapeman' is ... the title character in a Japanese comic book that I had come across through a friend of mine. The comic book is just a total mind-bender. There's a whole genre of comics in Japan, rape stories where women are raped in really graphic detail for whatever reason". Albini and Washam became "sort of obsessed" with the comic, and named their new group after the titular antihero.
Rapeman's performances would often be the target of protesters who felt that the band was mocking or even encouraging rape and violence against women. Albini rejected such criticisms, arguing that punk ideology is generally very sympathetic to feminism, and stated that he feels that "[i]t is imperative for an artist to be honest, to respect the creative impulse, wherever that may go. Anything less is just decoration or inconsequential humming. Sometimes the resulting art is repugnant, but I believe the world is better for it, that it is made richer by having those thoughts explored".
Rapeman's initial 1988 releases included the Budd EP, the "Hated Chinee" 7" single and their sole album, Two Nuns and a Pack Mule. All were originally released on Touch and Go Records in the US, Blast First! in the UK and Au Go Go in Australia. Rapeman left Blast First! in 1990 after Albini had an argument with the label over the release of a Big Black record. Touch and Go started distributing in the UK in 1992 and re-released Rapeman's records.
The band's final release before their breakup, the "Inki's Butt Crack" 7" single, was issued in 1989 as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club.