He’s a hip hop veteran who prides himself on being one of the best performers in the game. Legendary MC RA The Rugged Man never falters to speak his mind, he’s the realest in the game and he’s ready to take on Australia once again with his ‘Shoot Me In The Head’ national Australian tour. A character unlike no other, RA has faced the challenges of being blackballed in the industry, making it big by taking matters into his own hand, by pressing his own vinyl and being his own manager.
Coming up as a rapper amongst the greats in New York during the Golden Age of hip hop, RA has worked with the likes of Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Tech N9ne, Talib Kweli and the one and only Notorious B.I.G. We chat to RA about his upcoming Australian tour, overcoming being blackballed in the industry, and the origin of his new word “humourphobic.” Ayla Dhyani writes.
Tell us what we can expect from the upcoming Australian tour.
I pride myself in being one of the best live performers in the game. I try to give the fans everything. Lyricism and flows, rap routines, crowd participation, energy and insanity. Wherever I rock my show I make sure I rip the building apart.
It’s been a couple of years since you were last in Australia. How do you find the crowd out here?
I love the energy of the Aussie crowd. They’ve got so much aggression and that Rah-Rah wild out knock shit over energy. They never disappoint me. I like to f*** shit up and they like to f*** shit up even more than I do.
You grew up in Long Island during the Golden Age of hip-hop. Do you find the current climate of modern hip hop has changed dramatically?
Of course the climate of modern hip-hop has changed. There are still a lot of upcoming incredible MC’s but during the Golden Era of hip-hop, Long Island had the most incredible run in history. So many game changing greats. Long Island changed the way the culture was approached forever. Public Enemy changed everything. From the production by the Bomb Squad, to Chuck D’s powerful voice to the whole stage set up with the S-1 W’s and Flav and Griff. Or take Erik B and Rakim, they lyrically changed everything. No one ever rhymed the same again after Rakim touched the mic. None of these MC’s today would exist without Rakim, or the way EPMD sampled records, or the way De La Soul and Prince Paul approached making records. Busta Rhymes’ flows were game changing, that little island has so much history, I was blessed to come up watching so much greatness. It’s what made me the MC that I am.
Tell us about the word "humorphobic."
Yeah, it’s a word I made up. It’s basically a slang for all these sensitive little c**ts who are afraid of jokes. We live in a society where humour is not allowed unless it’s a joke approved by certain groups. And there’s a new superficial act of wanting to be offended and wanting to be outraged because it makes you feel more important and helps you feel superiority over other human beings. All these “bad people” make fun of things and the “good people” want to dictate humour and speech. It’s complete hypocrisy and most of the people offended by everything are usually the most disgusting and hateful hypocrites of them all.
You've talked of being 'blackballed' for a lot of your musical career. What have been the implications behind that experience?
Well, its very easy to be blackballed in the entertainment industry. It’s only a handful of people and they all know each other. So if you piss off one person, it could f** your whole career up. I didn’t piss off one person, I pissed off every f***ing body. There was no industry person that wanted anything to do with me out of fear of f***ing up their own careers. They all knew I was one of the best rappers alive, they all knew I was the best, but they were afraid of me and thought I would self-destruct and destroy everybody and everything.
If you could go back to any point in your career, would you change anything?
Nope. I’ve been through hell to get my crown. I am a king in this culture and no one can ever take that from me. It was the struggle and all my mistakes that helped me achieve everything.
Wednesday 3rd June | Canberra, Transit Bar | Tix: http://goo.gl/f2aCM4
Thursday 4th June | Brisbane, Woolly Mammoth | Tix: http://goo.gl/noFmLN
Friday 5th June | Perth, The Game | Tix: http://goo.gl/9oZffP
Sat 6th June | Sydney, Manning Bar | Tix: http://goo.gl/J2CMZP
Sunday 7th June | Melbourne, Laundry Bar | Tix: http://goo.gl/l0ERSW
Monday 8th June | Adelaide, The Gov | Tix: http://goo.gl/j7bXcq
FB Event link.