R.A. The Rugged Man Speaks On Being Pressured To Hide His Race

R.A. The Rugged Man drops knowledge on "the marketing game" while speaking on Lyor Cohen, record labels, and more.

Although the identity of Long Island emcee R.A. The Rugged Man is obviously quite well known to fans, during an interview with Unkut.com the rapper revealed that he once faced several issues concerning his race and identity. According to the Legends Never Die rapper, those at Def Jam and Jive Records suggested that he keep his identity hidden until he was able to gain an established fan base.

R.A. even spoke on Jive Records wanting to avoid using his image on any single or album art.

“So when I first signed to Jive, and when Def Jam wanted to sign me, they all wanted to do it where nobody knew I was a white boy,” the rapper explained. “They wanted me to keep the hood on my corner, because they knew I was respected amongst black folks. There was just radio, there was no YouTube clips, so everybody knew R.A. The Rugged Man, the name. but they didn’t know the face. So they said let’s not show your face on the single or the album cover. We did a promo where they reversed the picture so when they showed my face it was shown in negative.”

Among those who wanted to keep R.A.’s identity secret was music industry veteran Lyor Cohen. The rapper shared the details of Cohen’s elaborate idea for a music video, which would have consisted of the rapper being dressed as a mummy and ultimately revealing his identity.

“Lyor Cohen had this idea for me: ‘We’ll get a couple of your songs poppin’. We won’t have you do any filmed interviews, no one will know what you look like. In the first video, we’re gonna have you running through this crazy hospital with bandages on you, and they’re gonna whirl you around and slowly the bandages are removed. Nobody knows who you are and you’re running through the fuckin’ crazy house and you’re rapping and everybody’s like, ‘Oh my god! He’s the best rapper!’ And then finally, the last shot of the video, the bandages [come off] and it’s a white face and shock the world!’ I told him I didn’t really like that idea, but that’s really wanted they wanted to do,” R.A. revealed.

R.A. The Rugged Man’s interview with Unkut.com comes on the day of his Legends Never Die album release.

RELATED: R.A. The Rugged Man Names Top 5 Emcees

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  • Doubl Negative

    As I've matured, I've become more politically correct when it comes to music I'll listen to. I like Rugged Man and have no problem buying his records, but his ethnicity would've been a problem in the Nineties. The Bloodshed Hua Hoo 12" doesn't feature his picture, and I probably wouldn't have copped it had I seen a white boy on the cover. There are too many dope white rappers out there now for their colour to be an issue, but as long as we as Black people don't support our own, whites in the game will continue to flourish and we'll, continue to see our music slip away from us. The slave mentality some Blacks have when they'll buy timberlake/eminem but not Alicia Keys/Roc Marcianno must stop. Sure, support whites, I do, but make sure your people come first. We can't rely on whites anymore to buy Black artits when they've got their own idols to root for.

    • Bob Dobalina

      What the fuck are you talking about. Who gives a fuck who makes the music? It's the way it sounds that matters. If I like it, I'll buy, the colour of the rapper is insignificant. Are you telling me you'd buy a Gucci Mane or Soulja Boy album over a Brother Ali or Big Pun album even simply because the latter 2 artists aren't black even though they are MUCH MUCH better than the former 2?



  • Anonymous

    whining cornball should have hid his face, his personality, and his fucking body odor first... dude must give sweet handjobs though becaue he has at least a 100 white teenagers who think he's "legend."

  • B

    People keep talking about 3rd Base and the Beasties saying being a white rapper back then was no big deal. But the doors they opened were slammed shut by Vanilla Ice. During RA's time with Jive the Beasties were the only white boys doing it, and they mostly sold records to skateboarders and alternative kids. Nobody believed a white boy could really go in until Em dropped and that's because he had Dre in his corner. Em was the one that paved the way for Macklemore, MGK and Mack Miller... and RA was the nastiest white boy since before Marshall killed Kim.

  • Anonymous

    lol, i gotta admit i like that mummy idea

  • Anonymous

    fuck the industry

  • Anonymous

    hes trying to use reverse physiology ..

  • Anonymous

    Beastie Boys,3RD Bass,atmosphere, Who cares they can /could all rhyme and were respected within the hip hop community .. Hip Hop DX realised with the Scarface article that most people are stupid and unable to read between the lines HE WASNT DISSING WHITE RAPPERS HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE 60 PLUS RECORD LABEL CEO'S WHO DICTATE THE JUNK PLAYED ON RADIO, Ross,Gucci Boy etc .. The more DX play the race card the more page views the more they can charge advertisers .. Hip Hop DX lazy fucking journalism

  • Anonymous

    Hip-Hop has certaintly changed with hipster fags like Macklemore going gold

  • Anonymous


  • Art Brooks

    That's some funny shit with the bandages. Who cares about white Rappers - they been around since the Beastie Boys and 3rd Bass and all them. If U get down then U get down and U're down. If not, Black or white, then get the fuck out.

  • Be Listenin

    Great album, definitely a good direction to go. Hopefully we'll see more collabs and unique music

  • Anonymous

    dork fucking loser, go back to Nam dipshit-- yeah, he's gonna 'hide his race' like he hides is goddamn B.O... it's impossible!!

  • Harry Farud

    he should do a collab with me

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Hate on the big bad label man all you want but that video Idea sounded dope...... Probably another of RA's genius decisions to say no to that. All the talent in the world and a great set up in the 90's with a major label and he fucked it up

  • henry the 8th

    rugged man chief keef would be the illest and most original collabo ever.

  • anoniempje

    RA got an album to push, thats why he is all over the news.

  • papawu

    Haha that mummy idea would have been legendary