We take it to the East Coast again for our WCS HipHop50 series getting the different perspectives of fifty years of hip-hop from artists. Esteemed lyricist R.A. the Rugged Man is the latest artist to link up with our own Todd “DG” Davis for this exclusive series that you can only catch on WCS. Read on!
First things first, this year (August 11th) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?
That’s a beautiful thing to see the culture all over the planet. Changing people’s lives. It irks me a bit though seeing so much money being made off of Hip Hop’s 50th, while many of the pioneers, originators and greats aren’t being celebrated the way they deserve to be. Those with themoney get to write thenarrative, not those who were actually there.
To quote the late, great TheNotorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?
Yes and No! I knew Hip Hop was the greatest art-form in music since I was a small child, but what made me gravitate towards it was that it was the voice of the voiceless. The streets were able to tell stories and use their talents in ways they weren’t able to before. So even still today I gravitate towards the more creative wordplay and rebellious lyricists and top teir performers, not so much the bullshit we’re being told is the hot shit.
What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories from your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?
My proudest moments is that almost every one of my idols has personally told me they love what I do for Hip Hop. So many of the icons I looked up to and wanted to be like shower me with praise, and many have said I inspire them to get better…they have so many nice things to say about what I do, and I ended up working with most of them and rocked shows with them. That’s amazing to me. It feels like yesterday I was 11 years old and these artists were untouchable gods of the universe, and now I’m close friends with many and highly respected by all of my idols.
That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout theremainder of 2023, going right into ‘24?
I have 20 unreleased songs…and I’ll be touring non-stop as usual. But, I’m writing / producing / directing a new film. I’m going to do that before I put out the next album.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
I love that the culture is worldwide. I just saw a beatboxing battle in Berlin with beatboxers all over theworld. Then I did a show in Hamburg, and there were beatboxers, B-Boys and B-Girls
What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?
Don’t follow trends and try to make other people’s music. Be true to yourself, tell your own personal story, have your own unique sound that they can’t get from other MC’s, and thefans keep coming. Also, I can splatter damn near every rapper on the planet for decades, so that doesn’t hurt either.
Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
No, just making Hip Hop music, and filmmaking. Nothing else.
What’s an average day like for you?
When I’m not on tour, it’s daddy day care. My 6 and 7 year old son and daughter don’t give their father a second to breathe or think! Lol.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I love the fans, the real fans who support and come out and rock with me for real. They help me (be) able to pay for studio, and pay for videos and pay for projects I want to make; it’s all them, so I try my best to hug as many as I can, interact with them as much as I can when I do a show, make them feel part of it because the real supporters, not thefake ass mo’fuckas online. I’m talking the real mo’fuckas who come out and rock with you and love you, those people keep us alive; those folks feed our families, so nothing you can do but love the fuck outta them.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
Rocking the stage! I came from a different era when thestage was themost important part of MC’ing; who was the nicest, who rocked the stage thehardest, who owned thecrowd, that’s what I come from, like a blood-sport and that’s what I love the most…no studio tricks and EQ’s punch-ins, just a microphone and a crowd and skills. My least favorite part is the business, so many fake snake devil mo’fuckas, so much smile in your face fake shit, and no regard for human life, and tricking and lying and marketing and mind-manipulating to the masses
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Follow someone else’s. I was a train-wreck! Lol.
Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
I’ll still be one of the nicest MC’s on the planet. Bar for Bar, Flow for Flow, Stage show energy unmatched.