R.A. The Rugged Man Is A Hip-Hop Showman Who Rapped His Way From Loser To Legend
R.A. The Rugged Man knows how to grab eyeballs. The Long Island lyricist with the cult following announced his first album in nearly seven years today (January 15). So in sharing the good news, the respected MC leads with a video single that is captivating visually while offering a lot in its lyrics.
All My Heroes Are Dead is the name of the LP that is arriving this spring. No firm release dates have been revealed at this time. The Nature Sounds release (where R.A. has dropped music for more than 15 years) follows up 2013’s Legends Never Die.
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“Legendary Loser” is the first look from this album. Produced by The Beatnuts’ Psycho Les, R.A. raps his life story. Les’ scratch chorus points to the MC’s origins as a self-proclaimed loser. From the onset he asks, “Do I lack a massive hit? / Am I back-packing pr*ck? / Am I Rap maverick? / Or just a fat, sack of sh*t?” He points back to a family of addicts, bikers, and thieves, then describes the unconventional rapper he was in the early 1990s, running around New York City with Biggie Smalls, Sadat X, and others. While R.A. has made plenty of songs about being an industry outcast, this reset is necessary for fans who may be new the party. The verses go on to R.A. recalling when he squandered a $1.8 million Jive Records deal to lawyer fees and philandering. In all the cynical reflections, The Rugged Man offers motivation, “If I could do it, then so could you.” One of Hip-Hop’s antiheroes is still here after almost 30 years of grinding, on a quest—as he says, to become “the king of the underground.”
An avid film collector and creator (including directing his own videos as well as Rap peers such as Talib Kweli), R.A.’s “Legendary Loser” is ambitious. Produced and directed by Jonas Govaerts, the video finds R.A. making light of Tekashi 6ix9ine, Lil Pump, and a subculture in Rap. He dons a wig, face tattoos, chains, and caps on his teeth to look the part. However, the inventive MC follows through with the s*cidal tendencies he refers to in his lyrics. Although gruesome, the rapper is reincarnated moments later. A grand showman, R.A. switches to a bedazzled jacket to look the part. A choreographed closing sequence, complete with a time-machine DeLorean is a gumbo of many points of inspiration. He closes his verse with a powerful point, “Some of your morals gotta be missing / When you come from a broken family that’s poverty-stricken / So, far as the money, when I’m dead, it’s gone / But the music that I make for my fans will live on.” The scratches at the end of the song acknowledge that the loser is now a legend.
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“The song is a reintroduction to who I am and my life,” R.A. said in a press statement. “My day-one fans will be able to relate because they watched me go through it, but I think people who don’t know sh*t about me can relate to this story as well. That roller coaster of life, downs and ups. No matter how far you fall, you can kick your way out of it and get back on your feet. I been beaten and bloodied and left for dead and survived. If I could do it so can you.”
One year ago this week, R.A. teased fans with “The Return,” a short Western-themed video of him spitting bars. In recent years, he’s worked with Living Legends member Eligh, King Magnetic, and Ruste Juxx.
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Press photograph provided by Nature Sounds.