R.A. Thorburn better known as R.A. the Rugged Man, is an emcee fromSuffolk County, New York on Long Island. At 18, R.A. signed with Jive Records and then in the mid 90’s signed with Priority Records/EMI, his contract was later absorbed by Capitol recordsthe 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, Snowgoons, 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 (magazine) Vol. 1, Issue 3, the Notorious B.I.G. was quoted as saying, “I thought I was the illest,” when referring to R.A. 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,” and Sadat X’s “Throw the Ball”, Jedi Mind Tricks’ “Heavy Metal Kings” and “Old Man” featuring Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, Masta Killa and Ol’ Dirty Bastard in one of ODB’s final video appearances before going independent in the early 2000s. Throughout his career he’s worked with various artists including
Coming from a broken home, R.A.’s father was a Vietnam veteran affected by Agent Orange. His family was forever changed by the potent chemical — his brother Maxx was born handicapped and blind, eventually dying at the age of 10, while his sister Dee Ann couldn’t walk or speak (She later died in 2007 at the age of 27). R.A. tells the story of his father, Staff Sgt. John A. Thorburn, in the Jedi Mind Tricks track “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story”. His verse was given the Quotable of the Month in The Source magazine. In his song “Lessons,” R.A. alluded to suffering from mental illness himself.
In addition to his hip-hop notoriety, R.A. used to write 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 magazine, King magazine, Complex (magazine), Rides and The Source (magazine). Mr. Rugged has also recently signed a book deal that will explore his love of boxing to be co-authored with Ring Magazine’s Doug Fischer and scheduled for publication with Testify/Powerhouse Books. A horror-film fan, R.A. has written three screenplays with cult film director Frank Henenlotter—and is writer-producer of a new Frank Henenlotter film titled Bad Biology. The film has an original score 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 titled God Take, God Give.
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