When it comes to a serious grind there isn’t anyone that can doubt R.A. The Rugged Man is one of the hardest workers in the game. The Suffolk County, Long Island native started rapping at the age 12 and inked a record deal with Jive Records at age 18. Rugged Man parted ways with his label in the early 90’s and took his grind independent working with almost every major name in the rap industry. Legends Never Die is R.A. The Rugged Man’s latest release and he had a chance to chat with us regarding various topics.
PwrMov.es: What’s good Rugged Man? I’m glad we could get you to chat here at PwrMov.es. Your latest studio release titled Legends Never Die has been getting great response from the fans and critics. The album debuted at #1 on Billboard Heatseekers chart, you have an all star cast of producers and guest features. How do you feel this album differs from your Die, Rugged Man, Die album?
R.A The Rugged Man: I think I get better every year. I think my American Lowlife album I did for Priority was better than the Night of the Bloody Apes album I did for Jive. I loved the Bloody Apes album. I keep getting better. I think Legends is my best work because its my latest and thats my job to keep advancing as an MC. I expect the next album I drop when I decide to drop one will be even better than this one. If you don’t progress whats the point of continuing.
PwrMov.es: You were signed to Jive Records back in the early 90’s. Do you feel record contracts have changed since your dealings back then? What type of insight do you have for artists we are approached by major labels, rather than staying independent.
R.A The Rugged Man: Major label contracts have actually gotten worse today because the industry is hurting so bad. Back in the day they’d give artists shitty contracts that would pimp them on their record sales alone – now they got 360 deals where they’ll sign you and promote you but because records don’t sell anymore they demand a piece of all your shows you do and your merchandising and publishing. The new deals are worse than ever, the indie route is good because if you hustle you can get rich with out the scumbag machine stealing from you.
PwrMov.es: You are not only a musician, but also a film maker and journalist. How do you make time to wear all these different hats at once? What’s a typical day with R.A the Rugged Man like?
R.A The Rugged Man: I don’t have enough time, it sucks. I dont even have a fucking manager so I wear the manager hat too. I have no time for anything, but I shouldn’t complain if you’re busy you’re doing something right.
PwrMov.es: You started rapping at the age of 12. Take us back to you as a youngster growing up in Suffolk County and the influences in music you had back then.
R.A The Rugged Man: Dudes in my neighborhood used to beatbox and rhyme, my boy Human Beabox Bub and two MC’s named Stimulation and Proficient used to rhyme and dance. Capital the Crimelord who was known as MC Tone back then but then Tone Loc came out so he changed his name to Capital T, he rhymed on Biz Markie’s album back in the 80’s when he was 15 and went on to produce the beat for my soundbombing joint Stanley Kubrick.
PwrMov.es: In the mid 90’s after you parted ways with the majors you collaborated with Sadat X on 50,000 heads and released it as a white label 12″. What was the distribution process to move so many units?
R.A The Rugged Man: Will Sokolov who owned Sleeping Bag Records and Fresh Records, he sold his company to Def Jam and made a few million and continued pressing shit up, I think he helped Jay-Z too on Reasonable Doubt if I’m not mistaken, but I used to go to him and he’d press the joints up and get the vinyl all over the world.
PwrMov.es: Where did you first meet Notorious B.I.G?
R.A The Rugged Man: Chung King studio in Chinatown (New York City) he was friends with Red Hot Lover Tone from the Trackmasters and I was cool with Tone so he introduced us and the rest is history.
PwrMov.es: You were in Europe promoting your new album – How would you compare the response from the European fans vs. North American?
R.A The Rugged Man: They love HipHop all over the world, man. Whatever Kool Herc and Bambatta and them all started took over the whole damn planet. So the response is great everywhere. One thing I do gotta say though is something I think Groucho or one of the Marx brothers once said they said “In America you’re only as good as your last picture, in Europe you’re as good as your greatest work. And it’s true they respect your accomplishments more over there and they’re not so much into who’s hot now and oh that guy isn’t popular now so he isn’t shit. Thats why incredible Hip Hop artists like Masta Ace are cherished and he packs all his shows out there because he’s a great performer and they’re not as superficial over there in the art and music world.
PwrMov.es: Do you have any comment on the situation with Necro and Ill Bill? Necro is quoted to say he would never work with you. Was there any actual beef?
R.A The Rugged Man: I’m not sure about any of that, I heard weird rumors being spread around but not sure if it was from their camp or just nerd fans making shit up. I’m not into the whole internet gossip thing.
PwrMov.es: It is no secret you are an avid boxing fan. Why do you feel there is animosity between the professional boxing world and mixed martial arts?
R.A The Rugged Man:Boxing and UFC are both such competitive sports that even the fans wanna make the sports themselves a competition against each other. (laughs) Its kind of like old school Hip Hop vs. New School Hip Hop. There’s good in both but fans of each wanna claim the one they came up on is better. I’m an old school head and I’ll go to my grave screaming Boxing is the greatest sport of all time. No one can tell me different. Just like I’ll goto my grave screaming Rakim and KRS-1 are better than Kendrick Lamar.
PwrMov.es: Let’s play a little word association I’ll say something and you tell my what first comes to mind.
RA – My lil buddy
PM – Floyd Mayweather
RA – Politician
PM – (Social Media) – Facebook vs. Instagram vs. Twitter
RA – All good for promo, I’m not on instagram tho, I dont got an Iphone
PM – What’s album is currently on heavy rotation on your playlist?
RA – Miguel. Ever since he drop kicked that chick in the face.
PM – Worldstarhiphop
RA – Ignorance
PM – Last movie you watched
RA – ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE
RA The Rugged Man’s latest album Legends Never Die is currently available on ITunes. Purchase physical and deluxe versions through Nature Sounds web store.
RA The Rugged Man will be playing shows in Ontario to promote his latest release. Here are some confirmed dates:
July 12th – Guelph, ON – Louie’s On Lewis
July 13th – Ottawa, ON – The Ritual Night Club
July 14th – Kitchener, ON – Molly Blooms.