RA the Rugged Man’s skill as an emcee is without question, so is his status as an underground legend. Label drama kept him from claiming the emcee-crown in New York’s competitive underground scene. His unreleased but bootlegged debut Night of the Bloody Ape, work with Rawkus records, show stealing guest appearances and Die, Rugged Man, Die album made sure he was always a perennial contender.
Legends Never Die pulls it all together for RA. It’s a purist’s classic that emphasizes the hip-hop’s fundamentals: rhymes, flow, beats and even some beatboxing. Legends is mostly good times and jokes, braggadocious and tough but it’s when RA gets personal and opens about his late father the record that the album and the lyricist truly show their depth. Check the crackle in his voice when he utters the words “I love you, daddy” on ‘Daddy’s Halo’ and tell me that’s not genuine emotion.
With a guest list full of underground favorites and a dedicated focus on those things that make rap music the coolest thing since Billy Dee Williams, Legends is a must-have album. It’s an all-time classic and a testament that the industry can’t keep a good emcee down.