, better known as R.A. the Rugged Man
, is a emcee
from Suffolk County, New York
on Long Island
. He began his music career at age 12, and, at 18, was subject to a 9 label bidding war including Def Jam, Mercury, Tommyboy, Warner Bros., eventually signing with Jive Records
as part of the group Crustified Dibbs, a vehicle for R.A. and producer Marc Niles (Nigga Niles
). Due to his violent personality and certain sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him, R.A. was blackballed from the industry for some time. R.A. later signed with Priority
in the mid-1990s, and his contract was later absorbed by Capitol records
before going independent in the early 2000s. Throughout his career he's worked with the Notorious B.I.G.
, Mobb Deep
, Sadat X
, Chuck D
of Public Enemy
, Jedi Mind Tricks
, Kool G Rap
, Wu-Tang Clan
, Masta Killa
, Killah Priest
, and producers Trackmasters
, Erick Sermon
, DJ Quik
, and DJ Luciano to name a few. He was featured on all three of Rawkus
albums, as well as the platinum-selling WWF Aggression
album, performing the theme song for Chris Jericho
. In Ego Trip
Magazine Vol. 1, Issue 3, the Notorious B.I.G. was quoted as saying, "I thought I was the illest," when referring to R.A. In 2004 the release of his independent album "Die, Rugged Man, Die" received good reviews and sold very well, grossing over $350,000 in sales and costing less than $5,000 to record.
Coming from a broken Long Island home, R.A.'s father was a Vietnam veteran affected by Agent Orange. His family was forever changed by the potent chemical — his brother Maxx was born handicapped and blind, eventually dying at the age of 10, while his sister Dee Ann couldn’t walk or speak. R.A. tells the story of his father, Staff Sgt. John A. Thorburn, in the Jedi Mind Tricks track "Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story". His verse was given the Quotable of the Month in an issue of The Source magazine. In his song "Lessons," R.A. alluded to suffering from mental illness himself.
R.A. has cameos in several music videos including Havoc from Mobb Deep's "I'm the boss," and Sadat X's "Throw the Ball" and "Old Man" featuring Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, Masta Killa and Ol' Dirty Bastard in one of ODB's final video appearances. His favorite Emcee is Kool G Rap, whom he has talked about performing a collaboration with in the future. He appears along with Kool G. Rap in a cartoon called Three Thug Mice.He did a track with Kool G Rap and Big John titled "The Three Kings."
In addition to his hip-hop notoriety, R.A. writes a monthly movie column for Mass Appeal magazine, was a contributor to The Ego Trip Book of Rap Lists (St. Martin's Press) and Ego Trip's Big Book of Racism (HarperCollins), and has written numerous articles for other magazines including Vibe, King, Complex, Rides and Source. Mr. Rugged has also recently signed a book deal that will explore his love of boxing to be co-authored with Max Boxing's Doug Fischer and scheduled for publication in 2008 from Testify/Powerhouse Books.
A horror-film fan, R.A. has written three screenplays with cult film director Frank Henenlotter—and is writer-producer of a new Frank Henenlotter film titled Bad Biology, which is scheduled for release during 2008. The film has an original score by Prince Paul, and cameos by Playboy Model Jelena Jensen and Penthouse Pet Krista Ayne.
Singles and EPs
- 1996 "50.000 Heads" / "Smithhaven Mall"
- 1997 "Till My Heart Stops" / "Flipside" (both later released on Soundbombing)
- 1999 "Stanley Kubrick" / "What Da Fuck"
- 2001 "Don't Wanna Fuck With" / "Even Dwarf Start Small"
- 2004 "Lessons" / "How Low"
- 2005 "Chains" / "Black And White"
- 2007 "Braindead" - ft Stig Of The Dump (Jehst Remix)
- 1996 "Who's Dat Guy" featuring Mobb Deep produced by: Havoc
- 1996 "Smithhaven Mall" released on Stretch Armstrong's LP Lesson 1
- 1996 "50,000 Heads" featuring Sadat X
- 1996 "50,000 Heads (Remix)" featuring Sadat X and Capitol Da Crime Lord
- 1997 "Flipside" released on Soundbombing compilation
- 1997 "Till My Heart Stops" featuring 8-Off, released on Soundbombing compilation
- 1997 "Population Control" with Company Flow, released on the Funcrusher Plus album
- 1998 "4 Days In Cali"
- 1998 "Piece of Shit" featuring Tragedy Khadafi
- 1999 "Stanley Kubrick" released on Soundbombing 2 compilation
- 2000 "Break the Walls Down" released on platinum selling WWF AGGRESSION
- 2000 "Bottom Feeders" with the Smut Peddlers, released on the Porn Again album
- 2000 "Rap For Real" with Assassin (from the album Touche D'espoir)
- 2001 "September Rap" produced by DJ Quik
- 2002 "You don't Wanna Fuck Wit’" featuring Havoc from Mobb Deep, produced by AYATOLLAH
- 2002 "Kill It" with 8-Off, Channel Live & Craig G, produced by Alchemist
- 2002 "Effin' Yo' Bitch" released on BIG PIMPIN
- 2003 "On the Block" released on Soundbombing III compilation and Big Air Experience compilation. Later featured on his Die, Rugged Man, Die album.
- 2004 "King Of The Underground" released on Tony Hawks Underground
- 2005 "Give it up" featuring J-Live. Released on Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture Compilation.
- 2006 "Pignose" with Matlock
- 2006 "The Renaissance" featuring Black Market Militia, released on Natural Selection Compilation
- 2006 "Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story", released on the Jedi Mind Tricks album ''Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell
- 2006 "Supah," released on Blazing Heat 12 Inch "Supah" (Mad Flava Records)
- 2006 "Renaissance" featuring Hell Razah, Tragedy Khadafi, and Timbo King
- 2006 "Buh!" released on the "Rising Sunz" album "Throwing Stones"
- 2007 "DBA" featuring Rugged Intellect
- 2008 "Hold Up" featuring Snowgoons , Lord Lhus & Savage Brothers on album Black Snow
- 2008 "Pipe Dreams" with Bekay