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R. A. Thorburn, better known as R.A. the Rugged Man, is an emcee from Suffolk County, Long Island, New York.
At 18, R.A. signed with Jive Records and then in the mid-1990s signed with Priority Records/EMI. His contract was later absorbed by Capitol Records but he began recording independently in the early 2000s. He has worked with various artists including the Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, Sadat X, Akinyele, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Jedi Mind Tricks, Kool G Rap, Wu-Tang Clan, Masta Killa, Killah Priest, and producers Trackmasters, Erick Sermon, DJ Quik, Buckwild, Havoc, Alchemist, and Ayatollah. He was featured on all three of Rawkus’s Soundbombing albums, as well as the platinum-selling WWF Aggression album, performing the theme song for Chris Jericho. In Ego Trip Vol. 1, Issue 3, the Notorious B.I.G. was quoted as saying, "I thought I was the illest," when referring to R.A. He is closey associated to the Wu-tang clan and its various associates.
In 2004 he released the album Die, Rugged Man, Die on Brooklyn based label Nature Sounds. R.A. has cameos in several music videos including Havoc from Mobb Deep's I'm the Boss, Sadat X's Throw the Ball and Old Man featuring Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, Masta Killa and Ol' Dirty Bastard in one of ODB's final video appearances.
The October 2006 issue of The Source featured R.A. The Rugged Man verse on Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story as its "Hip-Hop Quotable" of the month and HipHopDX named it as the "Verse of the Year" AllHipHop.com states that "This record will be remembered most for R.A.'s robotic flow recounting his own father's story of war while absolutely murdering the beat." Rolling Stone Magazine recently compared R.A.'s rap flow to that of a blue-eyed Biggie Smalls. When reviewing his song "On the Block", Vibe Magazine said, "I love this song. It give me goosebumps. It's very inventive."
In addition to his hip hop career, R.A. wrote a monthly movie column for Mass Appeal Magazine, was a contributor to The Ego Trip Book of Rap Lists (St. Martin's Press) and Ego Trip's Big Book of Racism (HarperCollins), and has written numerous articles for other magazines including Vibe, King, Complex, Rides, XXL and The Source.
A horror film fan, R.A. has written three screenplays with cult film director Frank Henenlotter and is writer-producer of a new Henenlotter film, Bad Biology. The film has an original score by Josh Glazer (J. Glaze) with additional production by Prince Paul, and cameos by Playboy model Jelena Jensen and Penthouse Pet Krista Ayne. R.A. is working on his directorial debut a film documentary based on his family, God Take, God Give.
R.A. is currently working on his second studio album called Legends Never Die, to be released sometime in 2012. Confirmed guest appearances include Brother Ali, Masta Ace, Tech N9ne, Talib Kweli, Hopsin, and Krizz Kaliko. Fanart Banner