R.A. The Rugged Man Says Justin Timberlake Is "Not The Epitome Of Talent"

R.A. The Rugged Man criticizes those who conform for a paycheck as he breaks down his "Make You Famous" record.

“Make You Famous,” a song featured on Long Island rapper R.A. The Rugged Man’s Legends Never Die album, was the topic of conversation during the wordsmith’s appearance on Sway In The Morning earlier this week.

On the song, R.A. addresses what he views as the downfalls of popular culture. “Society's celebrity obsessed," he raps on the song. "Shock value, Janet pulling out a breast / Gaga wearing a meat maggot-infested dress / You don't need talent to be worshipped when you walk in a building / They'll praise you if you ain't shit, but you rich and your parents own the Hilton.”

The New York emcee again criticized those mentioned on the song as he questioned why reality stars including Kim Kardashian and heiress Paris Hilton are famous to begin with.

“We live in that society where it doesn’t matter if you have talent or if you’re anybody,” said R.A. “It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s the more popular celebrity person that will always get the recognition over true talent or true [anything]. It’s not even about talent anymore because they’ll just flock to whoever has some kind of status in any way. Even if they don’t do shit. Look at Kanye West’s wife or look at all of them. You know, ‘Oh, praise Kim Kardashian.’ What the fuck did she ever do for the world? Not just her. It’s hundreds of hers. Before her it was the Paris Hiltons. People become obsessed with these nobodies that have no talent. That don’t do shit."

During his interview with Sway, R.A. gave props to Tennessee crooner Justin Timberlake, but informed listeners that Timberlake’s fame as a singer stems from his looks and the fact that he’s a white artist who “can dance a little bit.” He also went on to state that the songster is not the epitome of talent when it concerns soul music.

“Take a kid like a Justin Timberlake” said the German, Scottish and Sicilian rapper. “He can sing. He can dance. He makes good music. He’s a talented kid. There’s no taking it away from him…On the flipside of that, I can name a lot of folks who can out sing circles around Justin Timberlake. But, he’s a good looking kid. He’s got a nice smile. Girls like him. And he can dance a little bit and he’s a white boy…We know that that’s not the epitome of talent, of R&B and soul.”

Lastly, R.A. clarified comments made about white accountants and business execs on “Make You Famous” and denounced those in Hip Hop who conform just to receive a quick check, a practice he feels is hurting the genre.

“Well, I said, ‘Don’t let white accountants and white business execs dictate your music,’” said R.A. The Rugged Man. “What I’m saying by that is—See what happens is they want you to make music a certain way because [it will] sell to certain crowds easily. So, what happens is the streets and the black kids in the streets that do Hip Hop conform to make music to get the paycheck. So, they’re changing the culture over getting a quick paycheck that white people write to them…Don’t let ‘em change the culture of Hip Hop just so you can get a check.”

Although R.A. got his break in Hip Hop at an early age, Legends Never Die only serves as the rapper’s second solo album. On the month of the release of Legends Never Die, the rapper spoke with Unkut.com about those at Jive Records and Def Jam wanting to keep his identity secret years ago.

“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,” R.A. said. “They wanted me to keep the hood on my corner, because they knew I was respected amongst black folks.”

RELATED: R.A. The Rugged Man Talks Inconsistency In Hip Hop Censorship


  • Thomas

    Well rapping doesn't require any talent if you are not writing your own songs which a lot of rappers don't nowadays and i can see backwards racism over here.if a black guy or girl made exactly the same thing as JT did they would be famous because of their talent but some white person would be famous by doing the same thing they would be famous just because they are "white" All kind of racism is bad folks.It doesn't always needs to be towards black people.and by the way stop speaking nonsense.no one is getting famous by their race.it is true there are a lot of garbage there (white and black but mostly white) but i mean look at rihanna... Black people can be talented and beautiful also.

  • Anonymous

    "R Kelly has better vocals and songwriting ability and sales, there ain't no better artist, real legend" I Believe I Can Fly was so amazing lol Go back and try and listen with a straight face to any of his music. JT is a way bigger entertainer, and is now in movies. R. Kelly is a has been with nothing left.

  • murdock(lcob)

    The realest and very true interview I have heard in a long time

  • Doubl Negative

    I've got nothing but respect for whites who acknowledge that the success of white rappers/r'n'b singers is mainly due to the bigotry inherit in whites. Gentrification has ruined Black communities, and has also had detrimental effect on our music scene. Macklemore, Em, Robin Thicke and Timberlake obviously don't represent the best our music has to offer, but they've become commodities due to their ethnicity. Radio stations who don't play our music will support these parasites, leaving the genuine, indigenous article struggling to find an audience. I can just about tolerate racial solidarity, so whites buy their own ersatz music doesn't trouble me too mush. When however, Jay Z feels he has to collaborate with assholes like Timberlake in order to ingratiate himself to a people who don't respect our people, I feel physically sick. Letting these bastards on your record to contaminate our scene is an unforgivable act of treason. Fuck all race traitors, they're just as bad as them.

    • Anonymous

      LOL, your ignorance really made me laugh, great for entertainment value..... Good thing people like you hold no weight in the world, that would be scary

  • Bios

    Agree. Timberlake is a dull vanilla artist. Kayne is fucking overrated too. Probably the most overrated.

  • Anonymous

    without neptunes and timbo Justin is just shit, just like all those wack rappers from the south who sound hot because of the beats

  • Anonymous


  • pete

    Justin stole Michael's dance moves and purposely stole Aaliyah's voice. and he ruined jayz first song on mchg

    • Anonymous

      "Justin stole Michael's dance moves" i guess that explains why justin was able to perform along with michael himself a long time ago. "purposely stole Aaliyah's voice" and this is the part where your comment comes off as dumb. how exactly did he stole aaliyah's voice? on top of that, he sounds nothing like her. "and he ruined jayz first song on mchg" the song was already wack to begin with so your point here is null

  • Anonymous

    Well, I'm sure Justin Timberlake is on the verge of suicide knowing he doesn't have this hasbeen that never was in his corner.

  • LOL at this guy

    a rapper talking about talent, oh the irony. any rapper is NOT the epitome of talent...at all! rapping is easy to do. it doesn't take any real talent to do it. learn how to sing, compose (without using a computer or beat machine) and play real instruments, then u guys could talk about having talent

    • Anonymous

      ^^^nice combat dickhead....NOT! See, no arguements to dispute the points i made, why? cause you can't dispute them! you can only throw out insults HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    • Anon

      This guy is so pissed off...poor bastard, bet a rapper took his girl.

    • A Person

      I give up on humanity, this thread is just one example

    • a reply to a simpeton

      "Obviously you have never tried to write rap lyrics" not hard to do. all you do is rhymes over a beat. thats it. no harder than rhyming metal/rock lyrics or r&b lyrics. oh thats right, you're talking the underground super lyrical mcs! lets see, you use things like punchlines, internal rhyme schemes along with allteration and multi-syllables and use a bunch of words u find from a dictionary to use them in a ABSTRACT backpack rap way to make you sound more smarter than you actually are. oh wow so hard lol! The roots are a third rate band at best. black thought is not that impressive as a song writer, he just sounds like a pseudo smart battle rapper most of the time, and questlove cant drum for shit. real drummers like buddy rich and billy cobham would run lapses around his punk ass i can here cause its a free country and can say what i want, got a problem with that fuckboy?? "go back to your Klan meeting" ^^AND this comment right here proves you're a fucking retard. you got no real arguement so what do you do? play the race card! no where in my comment did i say anything about race. john coltrane is talented and black! scott joplin is talented and black! art tatum is talented and black! jimi hendric is talented and black! rappers who rap has NO talent! they dont play instruments (and the roots sucks at the instruments, no where near as good as a average jazz band or progressive rock band) they cant sing they cant play instruments they cant compose they cant even come up with their own beats without ripping off other artists works (aka sampling) all they do is rhyme over simple beats. some uses simple words. some uses bigger trying to sound smart. some rap slow, some rap fast. nothing impressive about that! nice try anyways. come back when u got a solid arguement that proves rappers got actual talent assclown.

    • ^DERP

      Obviously you have never tried to write rap lyrics, anybody who has knows that it takes a lot of creative skill to do that, also, The Roots invalidate your entire argument, and lastly, why the fuck are you on a hip hop site if you are just gonna spew shit? Get the fuck outta here, go back to your Klan meeting

  • Anonymous

    my first question to rugged man: who said justin was an r&b/soul artist?? hes just a modern pop artist. always been that way.

  • Anonymous

    RA is one of the greatest rappers ever. I love his honesty.

  • Anonymous

    "Michael Bubl, Usher, R Kelly" No. Maybe. No way lol

  • dadukesttin

    I used to really fuck with RA but over the years ive just been like no this guy is not a chill bro and isnt a good rapper. FACTS

  • Anonymous

    1. Ja Rule 2. Ja Rule 3. Ja Rule 4. Ja Rule 5. Ja Rule 6. Ja Rule 7. Ja Rule 8. Ja Rule 9. Ja Rule

  • Chenk

    Should check out Rugged's interview with The Young Turk's. It's great.

  • Drake Til Infinity

    Drake is the epitome of talent.

    • Anonymous

      Chopin my fav

    • Anonymous

      interestingly enough, in the classical world, if you talk enough people, alot of them believe hes overrated and simply a pop superstar with good melodies but underdeveloped techique in counterpoint when compared to people like beethoven, bach and brahms

  • Anonymous

    "On the flipside of that, I can name a lot of folks who can out sing circles around Justin Timberlake" Name them then.

  • Anonymous

    Justin Timberlake is definitely overrated. Holy Grail is a dope collabo, but how dope would have it been with a more soulful singer? I voted John Legend.

    • Anonymous

      "jt killed that song and not in a good way. singing for 2 mintues like we really care. i want to gouge out my eyeballs when i hear that song" the song was wack to begin with. even a different and perhaps a better singer couldnt save it. gough your eyeballs out? yeah that makes sense cause you are watching a SONG, not listening to it with your EARS lol

    • pete

      jt killed that song and not in a good way. singing for 2 mintues like we really care. i want to gouge out my eyeballs when i hear that song

    • Anonymous

      except just isn't a soul singer. you guys are making that shit up. hes pop, get ya facts right

    • Anonymous

      ohhh john legend wouldve fucking nailed it

    • Anonymous

      JT killed it on that hook, It gotta be his best vocal performance even I think

  • yeaaahh

    I agree that talent gets overlooked these days but Justin deserves every bit of the praise he's receiving. He's been singing, dancing, and acting since he was a kid on the Mickey Mouse Club. He's a true and rare talent.

  • Anon

    RA always been one of the realest out.

  • Young Guwop

    He's correct. I always said Justin Timberlake was a poser and overrated. Plus it's not about talent in the entertainment industry no more. It's all about image. money, and who's cool now. That's why the music sucks and sounds the same, wack niggas getting put on, and hardly no good tv shows and movies anymore.

    • Young Guwop

      He is a poser. And the sheeple are being fooled by thinking he's R&B. You just said he's a pop artist and not one genre of music. At least Rugged man and I see through the bs.

    • Anonymous

      a poser? who said justin timberlake was an r&b soul singer in the first place? not him. not the millions of fans. you and rugged man pigeon holed him in that catagory. hes simply a good modern POP artists who can do a little r&b sometimes.

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