R.A. The Rugged Man


R.A. the Rugged Man, is an emcee from Stony Brook, Long Island. He began his music career at age 12. At 18, he signed to Jive Records. R.A.’s legend, perpetuated by the P.R. biographies at his various labels, say he was dropped due to violent and disgusting behavior, but in interviews he disputes many of the more extreme stories told about him, adding that Jive just didn’t know how to break new artists at the time. R.A.’s musical resume not only speaks for itself, but has resulted in his teaming with some of the greatest artists in rap history – from Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, and the late great Notorious B.I.G. to multi-platinum producers Erick Sermon, Trackmasters, DJ Quick, Alchemist, Havoc, Buckwild, and Ayatolah.

Coming from a broken home, R.A. the Rugged Man’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 (She later died in 2007 at the age of 27). 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 The Source magazine. In his song « Lessons, » R.A. alluded to suffering from mental illness himself.

In addition to his hip-hop notoriety, R.A. used to write 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 magazine, King magazine, Complex (magazine), Rides and The Source (magazine). Mr. Rugged has also recently signed a book deal that will explore his love of boxing to be co-authored with Ring Magazine’s Doug Fischer and scheduled for publication with 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. The film has an original score by Prince Paul, and cameos by Playboy Model Jelena Jensen and Penthouse Pet Krista Ayne.


Bloodshed Hua Hoo  (Night Of The Bloody Apes (1994))

I Shoulda Never

Stanley Kubrick (What The… / Stanley Kubrick (1999))

Lessons (Die, Rugged Man, Die (2004))

Uncommon Valor (R.A.’s verse) (Jedi Mind Tricks ‎– Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell (2006))

Hell Raizah feat. R.A. The Rugged Man – Return of The Renaissance (Hell Razah ‎– Heaven Razah (2010))

Celph Titled & Buckwild feat. FT & R.A. The Rugged Man – Mad Ammo (Celph Titled & Buckwild ‎– Nineteen Ninety Now (2010))

Learn Truth feat. Talib Kweli (Legends Never Die (2013))

Holla-Loo-Yuh feat. Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko (Legends Never Die (2013))

The Dangerous 3 feat. Brother Ali & Masta Ace (Legends Never Die (2013))

The People’s Champ (Legends Never Die (2013))


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