The legendary rapper R.A The Rugged Man will be back in Australia for a national tour starting June 2015.
R.A. pioneered the independent indie-rap hustle, pressing his own vinyl singles and racking up one of the most impressive resumes in Rap history. From Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep to Biggie and Kool G. Rap, not to mention productions from Erick Sermon, DJ Quik and The Alchemist, his discography reads like a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame.
Tomatrax caught up with R.A. to ask a few questions.
You’ve been making music for over 20 years, is it hard to keep coming up with new ideas?
I been making music longer than that. I been doing it since before I hit puberty, I was a little fat kid with a high pitched voice. But a lot happens in life and experience is where the ideas come from, I’m not sure how you could run out of ideas when more and more shit happens to you in life. And think about it Music as a whole has existed since the beginning of mankind not just a measly 20 years but 200,000 years and mother fuckers are still coming up with different ways to flip it. (laughs)
You’ll be touring Australia in June, what can fans expect from your show?
My job as an MC is to be the best and to entertain the crowd like they haven’t been entertained before, make sure they leave with a night they won’t forget anytime soon. Thats what I do I’m old school I tear the roof of buildings and destroy crowds. Expect to see the best when you come to see me.
You’ve been working on your latest album, how has that been going?
It’s coming out pretty great so far. I have to make sure it is the best work of my career before I drop it though. I have about 6 songs I’m completely happy with, I’m going to record another 15 or 20 and use the best of the batch.
How will the album compare to your previous works?
I think each album gets more and more fun. I was angrier when I was 17 or 18 making records. My album Night of the bloody Apes on Jive was very angry. I hated every human being on the planet when I made that. And the American Lowlife on Priority Records was very self deprecating went from hating the world to hating myself, even though I hated myself on the first album too. (laughs). Then I came to piece with myself in the early 2000’s and each record started becoming more and more fun. My next album will have serious content, and conquer political topics but it will sill be deranged and twisted and also a lot of fucking fun.
You wrote and produced the film Bad Biology. Where did you get the ideas for the dark humoured and unusual themes behind the film?
Frank Henenlotter directed Basket Case, Frankenhooker and Brain Damage. All Classic films of the B-movie genre. I made that film to get him out of retirement and let the world see what the sick genius maniac was upto these days. He was very happy with the film, its his favorite film out of the ones he’s made. My favorite of his is Brain Damage.
Are there any plans to write / produce any other films?
Yes but not for a while I have so much to get done with my music career still and making movies takes all of your time if you do it. If you do a feature film and do it independently with your own money it will take at least 2 years of your life away from you. I don’t have 2 years to give to film right now. but possibly in the future.
You have done a lot of things in addition to being a music from being a boxing commentator to a film critic, is it hard to fit everything in?
Yes thats why I cut back on most of the other stuff and concentrate mostly on getting my music out there. Plus I have a new artist I signed named A-F-R-O (All Flows Reach Out) and I have a lot of work to get him out to the world too.
Is there any occupation you’ve wanted to do but have yet to have the chance?
Yes, When I was a child I wanted to be the heavyweight champion of the world. I wanted to be Larry Holmes. I’m pretty sure I will never be Larry Holmes. (laughs) I used to see clips of folks in Australia boxing Kangaroos so my first tour out there I told my tour manager I wanted to fight a Kangaroo and he told me I was an idiot and they don’t really do that in Australia. He also said that a Kangaroo would kill me, I don’t believe him I think I would fuck a kangaroo up. (laughs)
You’ve released a heap of singles but only a few albums, what makes you focus on the single format more than the long player?
Politics. I made some brilliant albums that never came out because I couldn’t see eye to eye with the folks who financed them. Thats almost like a musical miscarriage. it’s horrible.
You’ve made guest appearances on a number of records, how does appearing on other’s music compare with performing your own work?
Its easier because you just gotta spit a dope verse which is easy. You don’t have to worry if the song works or if it fits the structure of the rest of the album because thats not your responsibility. all you have to do is rhyme and be great.
If you could appear on anyone’s record, who would it be?
I did records with most of my idols. I’m not sure. Maybe just to fuck with people I’d do some left field shit and do something on a Prince album or something. (laughs)
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Only if I have to memorize the verses for videos or live shows but after I write, record, produce, mix and master a song, then direct the video for it and perform the song a hundred fucking times at shows.. I’m done with it. Sometimes promoters are fans and they pick me up from the airport blasting my music and I’m like PLEEEEEASE.. turn that SHIT OFF !!!!!
What music do you listen to?
Mostly R&B and Soul music , sometimes some super oldies like doo wop. but not much else. Sometimes I go see a live orchestra play like 200 instruments and 100 choir singers and watch all that music happening at the same place is incredible.. But the last concert I went to was Teddy Riley with his groups Backstreet, Today, Wrex N Effect and Johnny Kemp right before he passed away. And GUY was on the bill but it was just Aaron Hall no Teddy.
What do you plan on doing after your tour of Australia?
Man, My life is hectic. I’m doing 8 shows in a row. 6 in Australia then I head to New Zealand for two shows and then I fly from New Zealand for 24 hours of travel land in Germany and have to rock a festival 6 hours after I land. then I do another Europe run. I’m staying busy, its tiring but I love it.
R.A will be hitting up all major cities, including Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide. Dates are below. Check out R.A. the Rugged Man’s website to find out more!
Wednesday 3rd June | Canberra, Transit Bar
Thursday 4th June | Brisbane, Woolly Mammoth
Friday 5th June | Perth, The Game
Sat 6th June | Sydney, Manning Bar
Sunday 7th June | Melbourne, Laundry Bar
Monday 8th June | Adeliade The Gov