R.A, The Rugged Man - Legends Never Die [Album]
Few artists are ever as controversial as they are influential. New York legend R.A. The Rugged Man has lived up to this billing by combining the authenticity of his undeniably rugged life with lyrical skills most rappers can only dream of. Banned, forgotten, blackballed, and left for dead in the 90s, the Rugged Man has somehow emerged in 2013 with a thriving career, a nonstop touring schedule, a die-hard fan base, and a new album that is sure to solidify his place as one of the most important figures in underground hip-hop. With an A-list tracklist including the likes of Tech N9ne, Hopsin, Talib Kweli, Brother Ali,Krizz Kaliko, Vinnie Paz, Masta Ace, Sadat X, Eamon, and more, Legends Never Die is not only a celebration of R.A.'s illustrious career, but an exciting look at what's still to come. To celebrate this highly-anticipated release, we're releasing not only standard CD and vinyl versions, but three exclusive deluxe editions not available in stores. Check out details on all three below.
Pre-Order Standard or Deluxe: https://store.nature-sounds.net/store/products-page/featured/legend...
1. Still Diggin Wit Buck
2. The People’s Champ
3. Definition Of A Rap Flow (ft. Amalie Bruun)
4. Learn Truth (ft. Talib Kweli)
5. Bang Boogie
6. Tom Thum
7. Holla-Loo-Yuh (ft. Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko)
8. Media Midgets
9. Shoot Me In The Head
10. Legends Never Die (Daddy’s Halo)
11. The Dangerous Three (ft. Brother Ali & Masta Ace)
12. Luv To Fuk (ft. Eamon)
13. Underground Hits (ft. Hopsin)
14. Laugh, Clown, Laugh
15. Sam Pecknpah (ft. Vinnie Paz & Sadat X)
17. Still Get Through The Day (ft. Eamon)
18. Bonus: Make You Famous (ft. Block McCloud)
HOLLA-LOO-YUH - FEAT. TECH N9NE & KRIZZ KALIKO
THE PEOPLE'S CHAMP
LEARN TRUTH (FEAT. TALIB KWELI)
Learn Truth [VIDEO]
Underground Hits (feat. Hopsin)
Hallelujah (Produced by C-Lance) feat. Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko (VIDEO COMING SOON)
Nosebleed - feat. Amalie Bruun, Vinnie Paz
- feat. Hopsin
- feat. Talib Kweli --> Talib raps about the history of the world
- feat. Rakim
- feat. Masta Ace
- feat. Brotha Ali
Other upcoming RA appearances:
Jarren Benton feat. R.A. The Rugged Man
My full, track by track review of the album-
It's finally here. Legends Never Die is finally here. It's not everyday we get to hear new material from R.A. the Rugged Man. It's been 9 years since his last full length album "Die, Rugged Man, Die" was released, and 4 years since his label put out a compilation album. R.A. tends to stays out of the spotlight, and for good reason. R.A. is truly a rugged man. He doesn't give a fuck about today's world of Hip Hop, and his embarrassment and disgust is expressed periodically throughout his new release. The long-awaited sophomore album from the deservingly self proclaimed legend is dope. There is no doubt that R.A. the Rugged Man can rap his ass off. Some may dislike his music, but there is no denying his ability to obliterate the mic. Legends Never Die only further solidifies his position as one of the all time greats and the last of a dying breed in Hip Hop. From start to finish, Legends Never Die never leaves you bored. In the past critics have pointed out poor production, lazy rhymes and too much filler as deep flaws in R.A.'s work, Legends Never Die shows none of this. This release only brings the best of Rugged Man and his ability to kick any style he wants to the table. Who else can have Hopsin and Tech N9ne on the same album as Masta Ace, Talib Kweli and Vinnie Paz? It's quite remarkable what R.A. shows that he can do with this release. Let's take a deeper look at Legends Never Die track by track:
1. Still Diggin' Wit' Buck [prod. Buckwild]:
R.A. opens Legends Never Die with one of the best beats I've heard in a while. Buckwild's production on this joint reminds me of the Harlem Renaissance. While R.A.'s rhymes on this one are fairly simple, they're also to the point. I'm a legend. This is real Hip Hop. I am slightly disappointed that this one wasn't longer as it felt like R.A. may have wasted an opportunity to drop a classic song with this beat, but this is only the intro. Still Diggin Wit' Buck earns 4 out of 5 mics from me.
2. The Peoples Champ [prod. Apathy]:
This one has actually been out for a few months now. It was the first single off of the album. The People's Champ isn't necessarily a standout track, but it shows exactly what R.A. is capable of. The multis and flow on this one are very solid and Apathy's AOTP-style production is something we have seldom heard from the Rugged Man. I give this one 3.5 mics.
3. Definition of a Rap Flow [prod. Marc Niles & Dev-1]:
"Let's begin it like this. The definition of a rap flow, I'ma reinvent it like this." This track is insane. R.A. brings a totally flawless flow incorporating complex rhyme schemes and never once skipping a beat. His homage to Biz Markie is respectable and Amile Bruun's singing compliments the song very well. Marc "n*gga" Niles and Dev-1 bring simple production that allow R.A. to execute his untouchable flow. Definition of a Rap Flow deserves 5 out of 5 mics.
4. Learn Truth (ft. Talib Kweli) [prod. Mr. Green]:
This might be my favorite song on the album. It was released as a single in late March and immediately caught attention from the Hip Hop community. Talib opens this one with one of the better verses he's spit in the last few years, taking a super lyrical approach to political and social issues facing the urban community. Mr. Green provides top notch production as always and R.A. kills the track in typical Rugged Man fashion. R.A.'s verse is incredible, in my opinion surpassing his highly regarded verse on Uncommon Valor. Yes, I'm serious. Learn Truth gets a perfect 5 out of 5 mics.
5. Bang Boogie [prod. Jussi Jaakola]:
Bang Boogie is a solid track. R.A.'s flow seems a bit off-beat at certain points, but it is obviously on purpose. The production is very good. I feel like this song is reminiscent of something we would've heard on Die, Rugged Man, Die. I give it 3.5 mics.
6. Tom Thum [prod. Will Tell]:
I love this joint. R.A. the Rugged Man teams up with Australian beatboxer Tom Thum on this one to lay down one of the most unique approaches on the album. There are no scratches of samples on this record. Everything was done by mouth from Tom Thum beatboxing. Add R.A.'s funny yet murderous rapping and a hint of violin and you've got yourself a classic. 4.65 out of 5 mics.
7. Holla-Loo-Yuh (ft. Krizz Kaliko and Tech N9ne) [prod. C-Lance]:
This may come as a surprise to some, but this track actually disappointed me. Maybe it was because I was expecting one of the greatest Hip Hop songs I've ever heard in my entire life from this one, but it didn't live up to the hype. Tech N9ne's verse sounded lazy. Like he didn't care and thought of R.A. as some chump paying him for a throwaway verse. Krizz makes up for this by delivering a very catchy hook that I've never heard on an R.A. album before. The Rugged Man's verse was very solid, but still disappointing. He seemed to focus too much on rapping fast (probably to outdo Tech in case he brought his usual flow) and less on flow and wordplay. Still a good track and I could see it gathering some mainstream attention once the music video drops for the hook and Tech N9ne alone. 3.75 out of 5 mics.
8. Media Midgets [prod. Buckwild]:
R.A. slows it down and takes a political approach with this one, ripping the fuck out of Buckwild's beat. Taking shots at the media and corporations is nothing we haven't heard from R.A. before, but the way he delivers his message on Media Midgets is. "And why so many folks is jealous that I was co-signed by Biggie? And then the nerds rewriting history lying saying he dissed me. I know in your small brains it might hurt. But I was there, the closest you ever got was wearing Biggie on your t-shirt" were my favorite bars. This one gets a perfect 5 mics easy.
9. Shoot me in the Head [prod. Marco Polo]:
After hearing Shoot me in the Head as a freestyle at a live show years ago, I didn't think I would like this one, but I loved it. The opera sample is surprisingly not overwhelming. R.A. spits some hilarious self-deprecating rhymes and the hook literally made me laugh out loud the entire time. With opera singers singing "I'm a piece of shit, I'm a fucking fat fuck. Shoot me in the head," how can you not? 5 mics.
10. Legends Never Die (Daddy's Halo) [prod. Mr. Green]:
I've never heard anything remotely like this before. The closest I think we've been to an emotional track from R.A. was "Midnight Thud," which wasn't actually all that deep. I as the listener could capture the emotion in R.A.'s lyrics and feel what he felt. This one sent chills down my spine, especially when he choked up at the end of his 2nd verse and began to cry. The hook is a bit corny. I never though he would sample a Beyonce song, but it fits the context perfectly. 4.75 out of 5 mics.
11. The Dangerous Three (ft. Brother Ali & Masta Ace) [prod. Mr. Green]:
Instant classic. That's all I have to say. Go listen to this one yourself. It's fucking amazing. Flawless. Perfect. 5 out of 5 mics.
12. Luv to Fuck [prod. Shuko]:
Eamon returns from a hiatus even longer than R.A.'s and teams up with him to make an interestingly beautiful sex song. R.A. describes it as Casanova part 2. I think it's way better than that. He brings back the old school flow, but takes it to the next level. Eamon's chorus is something I didn't expect. The dude is extremely talented. Shuko's production is on point. I give Luv to Fuck 4.5 out of 5 mics.
13. Underground Hitz (ft. Hopsin) [prod. Will Tell]:
This was easily the worst song on the album. Despite that, I still like it. It's just nothing special and doesn't fit in very well with the rest of the album. I wanted this one to be a standout track. While R.A. likely won't break into the new school, Funk Volume, high school demographic with this Hopsin feature, die hard fans of his will no doubt check it out and appreciate the talent Rugged Man possesses. I can't give it any more than 3 out of 5 mics though.
14. Laugh, Clown, Laugh [prod. Vherbal]:
Laugh, Clown, Laugh is dope. A bit forgettable, but dope. The beat almost has an ominous feel to it and R.A. take it to some creepy clown, house of horrors type shit. The Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh hook builds on that. I feel like I'm going to be kidnapped and tortured by It listening to this song. 4 out of 5 mics.
15. Sam Peckinpah (ft. Vinnie Paz & Sadat X) [prod. C-Lance]:
Holy. Fucking. Shit. Sam Peckinpah is just what you'd expect from Vinnie and R.A. Production, flow, lyrics, everything. It's doper than you can imagine. Their best collaboration hands down. Not sure how I feel about Sadat on the hook. I think it'll grow on me, but it seemed like too much of a mellow contrast from the angry, kill shit, conspiracy verses that R.A. and Vinnie lay down. One thing I'll say is that I think Rugged Man was finally outshined in a verse. Vinnie spit some of the illest shit I've heard him spit since early 2000s Jedi Mind Tricks. It may be his braggart approach and confident voice against R.A.'s laid back bars, but the multis he brings on this one are out of this world. Another perfect 5 out of 5 mics.
16. Shuko Outro:
Not much to say here. It's just R.A. thanking his fans. Actually a good transition into the end of the album.
17. Still Get Through the Day [prod. Ayatollah]:
This is the 2nd and last personal song on Legends Never Die. On Still Get Through the Day, R.A. isn't as emotional as on Daddy's Halo, although he does divulge into his family tragedies and struggles in the past. Eamon's hook is meant to lift your spirits more than it is to make you feel the emotion of the artists. The message of this one is basically "life is beautiful, stop bitching about shit the doesn't matter." Solid joint, and one to remember. 4.25 out of 5 mics.
18. Make You Famous [prod. Vherbal]:
To close out his sophmore album, R.A. the Rugged Man gets a little more political, but focusing more on the brainwashed youth and consumer society. Typical Block McCloud hook, which doesn't disappoint. This is actually pretty strong for a bonus track and a very good closure to the album. 4.5 out of 5 mics.
Overall I have to say Legends Never Die is an incredible project. Album of the year material for sure. The replay value for Legends Never Die is very high. It may not be perfect or everyone's style, but any true fan of Hip Hop would be a fool to not check this one out. Every single verse R.A. leaves you stunned. The production is, for the first time in his career, on point. The features only compliment this project. Legends Never Die was definitely everything I expected and then some. A true masterpiece in today's world of Hip Hop
Final rating: 9.25 out of 10.
Still waiting for my deluxe edition to ship :)
damn....I was just listening to this album, and it's FUCKING AMAZING.
the track LEGENDS NEVER DIE gave me chills the entire song...crazy shit
thanks Paul Li for the track-by-track summary, I listened to the album and referred to your review from time to time, good summary!