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R.a. The Rugged Man - Interview

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  • R.a. The Rugged Man - Interview

    R.A. The Rugged Man: Industry’s Nighmare Pt. 1
    By Matt Barone


    Legendary hip-hop names Russell Simmons and Notorious B.I.G., besides their iconic status, have a link between them that is known only by the experienced culture follower: respect and awareness of the one and only, R.A. The Rugged Man. Without ever releasing an official album, R.A. has endured through a career that would make for a classic VH1 "Behind The Music" special.

    What lies beneath R.A.’s rugged exterior, however, is what makes him much more than just a source of interesting Hip-Hop stories. More than can be said for the majority of today’s Rap heavyweights, R.A. is what a true MC should be: dedication, love for the culture, and God-given skills all rolled into one combustible package. His abilities have even been cosigned by the likes of The Neptunes and Mobb Deep, among others.

    His time in the game hasn’t been easy, though. A botched deal with Jive Records left his career in limbo, with little more than appearances on various underground compilations to show for it. As the saying goes, though, patience is a virtue, one that R.A. possesses in heavy amount. Die Rugged Man Die, his long-awaited solo debut being released on Nature Sounds, is scheduled to hit shelves in November, and is loaded with solid production and R.A.’s unique lyricism. Upon the album’s release, all rappers should be warned; R.A. The Rugged Man is coming out with guns blazing and opinions firing.

    AllHipHop.com: Rap has gone through many drastic changes since you first entered it. You’ve been in the game for so many years, and with your first album finally dropping now. So, what are you bringing to the table in 2004?

    R.A.: I’m bringing real motherf***in’ music. The only thing different about the game is that rappers are getting wacker. I’m keeping it legitimate Hip-Hop music; where as, 2004 rappers are wack. 95% of these rappers that come out are a joke. There are a couple of dudes that are hustling and making good music, but you gotta search for them. Hip-Hop is mainstream now, and when something street gets diluted by mainstream pop culture, it loses something. We need a couple motherf***ers to bring this sh*t back, cuz it isn’t heading in the right direction at the moment, and Hip-Hop is too strong to get messed up by some bullsh*t Pop.

    AllHipHop.com: Do you feel like you are given the proper amounts of respect from people within the industry?

    R.A.: In this game, motherf***ers are respected when they get all over the TV screens. Does Kool G Rap get the proper amount of respect? Does Big Daddy Kane? Like, if you saw Big Daddy Kane and Lloyd Banks in the street, who would get more love right now? Yeah, I think I’m better than so many rappers out there, but get respect? From who, you know. I think I get it from the important people, who appreciate Hip-Hop. From the KRS-One types, the Clark Kents and dudes who have been in the game; they hear my stuff and know what it is. Other dudes that don’t understand Hip-Hop, they don’t respect me, and that doesn’t bother me. They respect motherf***in’ Chingy more than me.

    AllHipHop.com: Being that this is your first real album after all of this time, you must have a lot to say. How did you approach the songwriting process for Die Rugged Man Die?

    R.A.: Well, I never knew that it was gonna be the first time. I didn’t even know I was gonna put this record out. I thought I was gonna do what I’ve been doing, which is pimp Nature Sounds for their money and not put out a record, but the dudes at the label are smarter than that. With the mainstream labels, you can get away with it, cuz you pimp them for their money, and they are like, “F*** him. $300,000? F*** him, that’s less than a video cost. Get him the f*** out of here. He’s a scumbag.” [Laughs] When you go to a ***ish kid at Nature Sounds, he’s taking the money out of his pocket, so he’s making sure you put the record out. So, I didn’t approach it like, “This is my first time!” I didn’t even expect to put the f***er out.

    AllHipHop.com: Now, after listening to the album, there are a lot of lyrics that stand out. What I want to do is mention certain bars to you for you to elaborate on each. First, “I brought Biggie Smalls to the Long Island whore pit, he boned a bitch in the bathroom, and broke the toilet.” What’s the story behind that?

    R.A.: What that was…the Whore Pit was a spot we used to record at, and we used to all f*** b*tches in that studio. Whore Pit sounds a lot fouler than it is, but it is just a studio, and in the studio, we f***ed. Biggie came out to the studio, and he had his own little chick in the bathroom with him. Next thing you know, he’s walking out the bathroom, and water is pouring out of the toilet. Condoms are overflowing. He f***ed both the toilet and the plumbing up while boning the chick. [Laughs] Basically, anything on this album that you ask me about, it really happened. Rappers act like they are crazy and they say crazy sh*t. F*** all that, I’ll tell you my life.

    AllHipHop.com: Next lyric is, “I used to bring groupie b*tches up to f*** Mobb Deep.”

    R.A.: I was known for having lots of sluts. I think I still am. I had my little army of sluts, and I used to bring them to places like my boys’ houses. One day, Havoc had done some music for me and looked out, so I went up to their room and said, ‘Hey, let me bring a slut up there to handle some business.” Infamous Mobb and some other members of their crew were all there, and we all went one after the other on the slut. I was like fifth or sixth on the list. [Laughs] She was a good girl. We liked her! I don’t know where she is now, but I wish I knew.

    AllHipHop.com: Damn, that’s funny as hell. Ok, next lyric is, “A month before they blew up with Mystikal and Jay-Z, The Neptunes came up to D&D to see me.”

    R.A.: I was in D&D, and one of the record executives was up there, and he said that he had some guys that wanted to meet me and listen to some of my stuff cuz they know who I am, and blah blah blah. Pharrell came in to the session all cowboy’d out, with a f***in’ AC/DC shirt on. I’m like, “Who are these motherf***ers? They’re crazy.” The Asian kid and him were like, “Yo, we love your stuff! We want to work with you. We already got money, but f*** it, we just want to work with you.” I was down, but then the record label stepped in and said they were talking too much money. After hearing the amount they were asking for, I said, “Come on, man. I could make two f***in’ albums for that kind of money.” But yeah, they came to see me cuz they liked my music. It ain’t no thing. More power to people who blow up. I’m actually like a good luck charm for people. I stay where I’m at, but if you meet me, good things will happen for you. It’s happened too many times. It’s f***in’ bizarre.
    Last edited by psycho-logical; 10-14-2004, 01:30 PM.

  • #2
    R.a.the Rugged Man - Interview ( Good Read )

    R.A. The Rugged Man: Industry’s Nighmare Pt. 2
    By Matt Barone


    R.A. The Rugged Man – Industry’s Nighmare Part 2

    AllHipHop.com: These next lyrics relate to popular producers, as well. “Alchemist, you’re still my little buddy, even though you stole that Royce Da 5’9 beat from me.”

    R.A.: He just remade a beat that I had made. Me and my boy Kap stayed up one night and made a beat that I rapped on, called ‘Stanley Kubrick.” The song went on the Soundbombing 2 compilation. About two years before it went on that album, though, I had sold the beat to Rawkus. That was probably like 1997. They leaked it, and Stretch Armstrong played it on Hot 97. Alchemist liked it, and he remade it. He remade the f***ing thing. It wasn’t a sample. He just replayed it all over, and sold it. People come up to me and are like, “I like that Royce beat that you rapped on.”

    [Laughs] Alchemist is my man, and he’s good people. He will only say good things about R.A. I like seeing him do good, cuz he is right now, and I hope it keeps going for him. That’s why I didn’t say, “You fagg*t, you stole my sh*t.” I kept it cute, like, “Hey little buddy.” He’s good peoples, and you know I mean that. If I thought he was a b*tch, I’d say it. I’m not scared of him. [Laughs] But, you remake my track, and I’m gonna say it. I’d say it about anybody. Plus, “Stanley Kubrick” is such a petty underground record. It’s funny to me.

    AllHipHop.com: On one of the songs, you say how you were the “first Whitey to be grimey,” and in another song you mention Eminem and Bubba Sparxxx. It’s funny, cuz you also say how maybe you should get Just Blaze to back you up, alluding to the fact that a White rapper seems to need a Black man to back him in order to be successful.

    R.A.: The Just Blaze lyric came from real life, too. When Bubba came out and blew with Timbaland, and Em had blown up with Dr. Dre, that’s what the industry was really saying to me. ‘Yo, if you just get like Timbaland. No, he already has somebody, so get Just Blaze, cuz he’s hot right now!” That’s actual conversations that people were telling me. People say that corny sh*t to me. So, what are you telling me? I need a Black guy, and once I get one, I’m on? I don’t need a producer. That wasn’t a diss to anybody. It was just something people said to me that is funny. Industry people are so formula. Do something original, motherf***ers.

    AllHipHop.com: So what was going through your head when Eminem blew up, using a similar style to the one you had been perfecting?

    R.A.: Back in the early 90s, when rappers that were worse than me used to blow up, I would get so heated. I was young, and sh*t wasn’t going in my favor and I would see untalented people blow up. This is like 1994, 1995. I grew out of that. By the time Eminem and Bubba came out years later, I knew that they aren’t effecting my shine. People would be like, “You said what Eminem said before he said it.” What, am I going to whine about it? I’m a grown-ass man. Let dudes do things their way, and I’ll do me. That sh*t isn’t taking away from my money. I ain’t sweating them. Success to everybody. Unless you are really horrible. If you’re the worst, those are the motherf***ers I don’t like to see succeed. Some of these guys are so bad, that they almost make Rap look like a f***ing joke, and that sh*t is not cool.

    AllHipHop.com: You also talk about how at one point, you had people like Russell Simmons sending limos you way, courting you heavily. Why do you think offers like that were never fully capitalized on?

    R.A.: I had a big bidding war going on. Every single record label wanted me. I was nineteen, a young White kid that could rap better than everybody. So, they all wanted me. But, what it had turned into was, since every label wanted me, it stopped being about my music. It started being about what label had the biggest d*ck. Which label could lock me down. It became a competition rather than music, you know. And I made a mistake. I went to Jive Records.

    See, I didn’t know the business end. I thought that if your music is good, then things just went well. I didn’t understand that you had the right machine behind you, with money in the right places, and you had to piggy back certain artists. I thought that the music drops, and people who know music will love it. I went to Jive, and they were good at selling records that were already broke. Like “Criminal Minded”; that had already came out, so they were able to blow up Boogie Down Productions for their second album. Same thing with Too Short. They weren’t able to do the street work. They were just able to take things to the next level after the street work was done. If I knew that they couldn’t do that, I would have went to Def Jam, because they were the best at that time at breaking any artist. I just went to the wrong label, that’s all.

    AllHipHop.com: That actually leads to the final question. Many rumors surround you, and one that I heard involved you taking a sh*t on a desk at Jive Records’ offices. What kind of toilet paper did you use when you did that?

    R.A.: [Laughs] That never happened. The rumor that I had heard was that I sh*tted on a studio board. Mobb Deep had told me that one. That I had sh*tted on the board, and did diarrhea all over it, cuz the engineer wasn’t mixing my song right. That sh*t never happened. There are so many rumors circulating about me, and half of them happened and half of them didn’t. I was a crazy motherf***er. I’m still wild, but now I’m a grown man. I’m a little different. It’s a different wild. I still fly off of the handle and can’t control myself. Back when I was that age, I used to not control myself at all. Whatever the situation was, I was gonna go off, smack people, and break sh*t. Piss on the floor of an office. But now, if I really lose it, it will be ugly. But I’m kind of learning how to maintain myself and not go that crazy.
    Last edited by psycho-logical; 10-14-2004, 01:27 PM.

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    • #3
      that was very interesting...ra is one odd rapper; funny though...

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