RA The Rugged Man - Die Rugged Man, Die

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Hip-hop's original demented white boy hit the scene at just 12 years old. His pops, a Vietnam war vet mentally ill from agent orange, fathered a blind, crippled son and a mute, crippled daughter. And of course, RA. His list of symptoms all depend on who you ask. Using hip-hop as an escape from his broken home, RA began making his rounds throughout the NY circuit at age 12. By the time he was 18 he was the subject of a 9 label bidding war.

RA chose Jive and recorded "Night of the Bloody Apes" under his alias Crustified Dibbs. The album was shelved and RA was dropped from the label. That is the where the infamy really comes from. The stories of RA's antics range from walking around the office with his dick hanging out, to shitting on an A&R's desk. Regardless of what is fact or fiction, RA was banned from label offices, every major studio, and from performing in multiple states, for his outrageous antics. Over the years he has worked with the likes of Biggie, Mobb Deep, Sadat X and released incredible singles like "Smithhaven Mall," "Poor People," and "Every Record Label Sucks Dick." 18 years in the game, known by everyone in the industry and very few outside of it, his debut is finally here.

RA has taken his raw, ruthless and uncompromising brand of hip-hop to fledging indy label Nature Sounds. If you don't know what RA is all about, you will after one listen. The Rugged Man's narratives are as expressive as they come and if it is on his mind, it is on wax...no matter how disturbing or politically incorrect. "Lessons" is among the finest here as RA reflects on what he's seen and what he's done over the course of his career and life; "I don't want trendy-ass followers for fans/I don't wanna sell records, I don't wanna be big/I don't want MTV runnin' up in my crib/I don't wanna be liked in the music biz/I don't want fans who don't know who G Rap is." "On The Block" is another great trip down memory lane, name-dropping the greats of yesteryear over a sweet throwback beat complete with a classic beat box sample. In fact, a good chunk of the album centers around RA's past; "A Star Is Born" is basically a timeline of his fucked career complimented by a great intro and outro. "Midnight Thud" is more somber with the Rugged Man taking the proverbial long, hard look in the mirror. Few can make music this honest.

There is plenty of good stuff to go around. "Chains" packs an Ayatollah beat that is just bananas and RA blows Masta Killa and Killah Priest out of the water wit his unbelievable cadence. "Casanova" is about the funniest stuff on here; "look at that fat fuck over there/the ugly white dude with a fat gut and shoulder hair/look at the clothes he wear/bare foot no shoes on/does he even own a pair?/smell the odor over there/its obvious he don't care. The album's title track is your typical RA song, an amusing jog into dementia with the fat man.

The man who is "mad famous for being unknown" is undoubtedly one of the most unique characters to ever pic up a mic. Few, if any, have ever made music so brutally honest and unapologetic. RA is the antonym of all the fake-ass posturing in the music biz. His attitude alone makes this album worth listening to. Tack on some stellar production and his skillful execution and this album is worth plenty of spins.

7.5/10

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