“Die, Rugged Man, Die” Anniversary: R.A. Thorburn aka R.A. the Rugged Man has built a reputation over the last 25 on his unique style and flow. He originally signed w/ Jive Records only after a 9 label bidding war, but due to bad publicity, he and the label parted ways and his debut album “Night of the Bloody Apes” never dropped. In 1998 he recorded his sophomore effort “American Lowlife” but before it could be released, the same thing happened with Priority Records. R.A. has many interesting stories and is deep with his lines. Method Man dropped a story on us recently how he wanted to work with R.A. but his label had black balled the artists and at the time Meth had to take it. Even with his continued label issues, R.A. has managed to work with Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, Kool G Rap, and Biggie and became a staple on the 3 Rawkus Soundbombing albums.
His official debut album “Die, Rugged Man, Die” dropped October 16th 2004 even though he had recorded 2 other albums that never saw the light of day. The album received strong ratings from HiphopX, Rap Reviews, Pitchfork, & Prefix Mag with a rating of 7.5 or higher out of 10. The album featured guest appearances from Masta Killa, Killah Priest, Timbo King, and the Human Beatbox Bub. Track # 10 “Black and White” w/ Timbo King was featured in the video game Saints Row.
I had the pleasure of seeing R.A. in concert this year @ The Middle East in Cambridge, MA and was blown away by the performance. The energy and crowd interaction was incredible, and seeing and hearing Rugged Man flow as fast and as accurate as the songs we download was amazing! When performing Still Get Through the Day” ft Eamon he walked thru the crowd trying to make eye contact with as many fans as possible as he rapped the deep lyrics. Sadly he wasn’t even the main act, but he was the best show that night. In a day when there are so many songs and lyrics out there that just don’t have any real meaning or substance, it’s great to have someone like R.A. who actually does keep it real.
After listening to “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story” click HERE to listen to Rugged Man talk about his father Staff Sgt. John A Thorburn and how he was affected by Agent Orange while fighting in Vietnam.