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Underground Resistance

R.A. The Rugged Man
R.A. The Rugged Man

“I got a lot of material coming still in my career. I’m not stopping any time soon.”

New York native rapper and creative, R.A. The Rugged Man, talks to JAI CHOUHAN ahead of his show on Friday, June 5 at The Game Sports Bar.

Active in hip-hop since the early ’90s, R.A. The Rugged Man has had a monumental career that has gone unnoticed by most. Working alongside the likes of Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G, the MC, now in his late 30s, still has some tricks up his sleeve.

Despite some of the billboard names that the rapper has worked with, R.A. The Rugged Man finds more value collaborating with some of the genre’s unrecognised artists.

“Any time you work with talented creative people you get something out of the experience. I learned more from some of the lesser-known people I worked with than the more known ones.  My producer, Marc Niles, I learned more from him than any big name producers I worked with, as well as the older dudes I came up in the game with when I was a teenager like Capital T the Crimelord, Glen Gibbs from Too Nice, Hell Rajah, Timbo King from Sunz Of Man and Royal Fam. A lot of those unsung guys got more to give than the bigger names.”

A possible catalyst for the New Yorker’s lack of commercial success lies in contractual issues resulting in a number of bootleg releases, but that hasn’t deterred R.A. from a style of music he holds so close to his heart.

“I have five albums total, but some of them weren’t released commercially due to record label beefs and being tied to contracts that had other folks owning the music. So a lot of them were bootlegged and released as underground bootlegs, sounding like they were recorded into a pillow, all muffled and stuff. It breaks my heart. I got a lot of material coming still in my career. I’m not stopping any time soon.”

The Rugged Man recently hinted towards a new album on his Facebook page, but between self-managing and touring, it’s going to take time.

“My next album is coming along. It always takes me a lot of time because I tour so much, manage myself, direct or produce all my videos and do self-promo all year long. It’s not easy for me to just take three or four months and lock my self in a studio to record an album until I’m finished with it. I have to work on it a little bit, leave town for a few months, then work on it a bit more and then leave town again, so it takes me some time but when it drops I will make sure its my best work to date. Every album has to top the last one.”

R.A. has also had some success in film, both in features and music videos, but he won’t let that cloud his focus.

“I direct, produce, write and edit a lot of my music videos. I directed four music videos for Talib Kweli including Raekwon’s Violations video. I have written a ton of scripts and I keep being tempted to take a few bucks from touring and shoot a new feature film, but shooting a feature film takes so much of your time that it would take too much away from getting my next album done. I gotta make sure the music is always first.”

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