RA The Rugged Man conducted by Hugo Lunny  

RA The Rugged Man

November 2004

R.A. The Rugged Man has a history that few share. Having lurked in the New York underground scene alongside Biggie and NY's finest prior to "Ready To Die" to spending time with Mobb Deep, to have The Neptunes lust after him before their success, R.A.'s seen it all. Finally, after putting out the odd guest appearance and collaborated bootleg out, R.A. is releasing a solo on Nature Sounds. R.A. will soon release "Die, Rugged Man, Die" with guests ranging from Masta Killa and Killah Priest to J-Zone, Saigon and Jean Grae.

These are the transcripts of an interview conducted with R.A. The Rugged Man by Hugo Lunny on November 1st, 2004.

MVRemix: What brought you into Hip Hop in the first place?

Rugged Man: I lived out in Long Island and I hooked up with this kid that loved to beat-box. I didn't like music... Well it's not that I didn't like music, but I didn't know nothin' about music and I was into movies and shit. I was like a little kid into all my little horror movies. I met this kid beat-box Buck. He had all the old rap taps from Whoodini to the Fat Boys. People used to rock his shit and he used to rap. I just started rappin' with him. Then I got better than him right away and hooked up with other kids from the neighbourhood and just ended up being better than most of them. I tried to step it up and move on going from city to city battlin' and all of that stuff.

MVRemix: How did you start doing producing?

Rugged Man: Well I don't make any of my beats anymore. I made a couple beats back in the day, but it was mostly out of not havin' no money. [chuckles] You know you're sitting there and motherfuckers' chargin' five grand a track and you go "These motherfuckers don't got no talent, I could do it anyway." So you start makin' your own shit. Just bein' in the game so long. Everybody's gonna dabble in the beatmakin' aspect here or there.

MVRemix: How did the names Crustified Dibbs and R.A. The Rugged Man come about?

Rugged Man: My name's R.A. That's my real name, that's what my father calls me. Before rapping I was R.A. I had a song called "The Rugged Man" and all the labels wanted to sign me off that song "The Rugged Man." I'd call up the labels and say "Yo, it's R.A." and they'd say, "Who?" "The motherfucker you want to sign! R.A." Then they'd be like, "Rugged Man, this Rugged Man?" So it got to the point where I had to say "Yo, this is R.A. The Rugged Man" all the time. I used to hate that fuckin' name. Now it kind of grew on me after having it for so many years.

MVRemix: What about "Crustified Dibbs"?

Rugged Man: That was part of me not likin' R.A. The Rugged Man. I just made up some bullshit other than "R.A. The Rugged Man" because I thought it sounded on some superhero shit. So I figured maybe I'll come out with some crew name or somethin' - "Crustified Dibbs." I just made the shit up, didn't mean nothin' and it didn't go very far neither. Heh.

MVRemix: How did your relationship with Biggie form back in the day?

Rugged Man: Ah, one day I was in the studio and Busta and the Leaders Of the New School and Trackmasterz was there, they had just did some beats for Chubb Rock. A bunch of cats was in the studio, and I was carryin' a boombox which I used to carry everywhere with my demo on it to say "Yo, I'm the dopest motherfucker out here." I used to always have my tape in the tape deck. I ran up in the studio and all them motherfuckers was in there and B.I.G. was in there. I just put the tape on and was like "Yo, that's the nicest rapper out there." People were like "Yo, this motherfucker's incredible! Oh my god! Who'sthat?" "It's me." "Get the fuck out of here!" That's how I got my relationship with B.I.G., that's how I got my relationship with Trackmasterz. That's how I got my relationship with a lot of cats. Trackmasterz invited me back for another session for me and B.I.G. to do a song together with Akinyele, and everybody was in the studio. Buckwild did that beat, Lord Finesse showed up, Redman showed up. That was towards the beginning of my professional career. I ended up gettin' lucky and meeting some decent people 'cause I used to carry my music 'cause I knew as soon as people heard my music, they would be on my dick.

MVRemix: Have you had many beefs over the course of your career?

Rugged Man: Like problems with other rappers?

MVRemix: Yeah...

Rugged Man: No rapper really had beef with me. No rapper probably had the guts to have beef with me. I had beef in the streets; fistfights and people call you and threaten and you say "Where the fuck are you? I'll come see you right now!" I had lots of street fights, but industry beef... The most beef was never between other rappers. It was me goin' at the record labels and kickin' over people's shit, throwin' desks over and being a fuckin' asshole at the record labels. I had beef with record labels, beef with promoters, beef with managers. Other rappers... Rappers don't really start beef with you unless you sell a lot of records. I never done sold a lot of records so they're like "What the fuck I'm gon' beef with R.A. for? He's crazy." It ain't gonna help my records. Heh. They're like let me go start a beef with Ja Rule or let me go start a beef with this person 'cause it sells records. I'm an underground rapper. Say 50 Cent have a beef with me... People gon' be like "Who?" Five million people bought 50 Cent album. Probably a couple hundred thousand of 'em know me.

MVRemix: What's the most interesting un-true rumour you've heard about yourself?

Rugged Man: The funny one is when Biggie called me up yellin' at me I'm tryin' to ruin my career and I said "What the fuck?" He said "My man went to your concert and he said you had a bloody cat with the head chopped off and you were rubbin' cat blood all over your dick and jerkin' off on it." I said "Motherfucker... that has never happened." He said "Hey R.A. I know you, you're crazy and it did happen."

MVRemix: It's kind of interesting who would come up with such a rumour...

Rugged Man: Yeah, well Lord Finesse said to me that he heard when I was in Jive, my little brother was ten at the time, pulled his dick out and urinated all over the secretary or the interns or some - some of the women. I said "That didn't happen." Everybody never believed me. Other one is when Steve Stoute told me that I chased Eminem into this bathroom with a long ass chef's knife. He locked himself in the bathroom and I was stabbin' through the door tryin' to kill him of something. [chuckles] I'm like "What I wanna kill Eminem for? What Eminem ever to to me that I wanna chase him to the bathroom and try to stab him?" He believed that. Then there was one at Eminem's album release party, the second album or somethin' - I wouldn't do that shit. But people believe what they want 'cause I did a lot of crazy shit. I did a lot of lot of crazy shit. You've got to expect... you know.

Women, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends or girls I was fuckin' would call me and be like "Yo, I heard you raped a girl around the roller-rink. Please tell me it's not true!" I say "You really think I would rape a bitch? You know..." I ain't never raped no bitch. Closest is I've maybe been with some under-aged girls which is considered rape, but it's not rape. I've been with lots of women that love to fuck but I ain't never raped no girl.

MVRemix: Kind of spawning from that, what are your tips for picking up women?

Rugged Man: Just let the bitch know you don't give a fuck if you fuck her or not. Be confident. If this bitch don't give you no pussy, you don't give a shit. Act like you don't give a fuck and the bitch will give you pussy 'cause they have that ego "Why he think he's better than my pussy?" It works every time. Act like you don't want to fuck the bitch. Be nice to her, but talk to her girlfriends, talk to the girl over there and she'll blow you. She'll be like "He must have someone at home that he thinks is better than me. I'm gonna show him that I'm the shit." Then you fuck her in the bathroom and you don't talk to her no more.

Bitches is easy man, bitches is like dudes. You know like when a girl don't call you no more you're like "Oh I think I really liked her" because the bitch stopped calling you? That's how girls are. Don't call the girl all the time. Call her every couple of weeks, be like "Hey, what you doin'?" If she cancels on you, act like you don't give a fuck and "She'll be like, oh I'm so sorry, I didn't realize" and the bitch will fuck you. You can fuck any bitch you want. You can fuck any bitch, it don't matter. See the thing is, women have the pussies and we have cocks. So if you're ugly, if you look like shit - it don't matter because you have that penis and they want that. So if you're in a club, three in the mornin' and there's the flyest bitch you've ever seen, don't think that she's above you because she ain't. You have what the bitch wants. You can fuck any bitch you want and if you know that, you can fuck any bitch you want. I'm proof of that.

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