R.A. the Rugged Man

Few artists are ever as controversial as they are influential. New York legend R.A. the Rugged Man has lived up to such a moniker by simultaneously inspiring generations of rappers while being banned from every major record label’s offices and even barred from performing during the late-90s underground explosion. But by combining the authenticity of his undeniably rugged life with his undisputed mic skills and understanding of the genre as a Hip-Hop historian, his music has both survived and thrived off the strength of bootlegs and word of mouth through high profile collaborations and high quality official releases, setting a standard for “Real MCs” that few have ever attempted to match. Frequent collaborator The Notorious B.I.G. was once quoted in reference to R.A. by stating “And I thought I was the illest.” Originally from a broken home in Long Island’s Suffolk County, R.A. was raised by a Vietnam veteran/mental patient father whose exposure to Agent Orange left his brother Maxx physically and visually impaired and his sister Dee Ann unable to walk or speak. Finding refuge in Hip-Hop, R.A. began his whirlwind rap career at the age of 12. His immediate growth as an artist and constantly raising profile soon caught the attention of the majors and R.A. found himself at the center of a nine label bidding war. While he eventually signed with Jive, his vile behavior proved too much for the label to handle as they left him to die without an album in stores to his name. Taking matters into his own hands, R.A. pioneered the truly independent indie-rap hustle, pressing his own vinyl singles and racking up one of the most impressive resumes in Rap history. From Wu-Tangand Mobb Deep to Biggie and Kool G. Rap, not to mention productions from Erick Sermon, DJ Quikand The Alchemist, his discography reads like a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. The Rugged Man has also been championed by critics for his show-stealing work on the three ‘Rawkus Soundbombing’collections, as well as contributing “Break the Walls Down” to the Platinum selling ‘WWF Aggression’ compilation. The past decade has fortunately seen many of these classics released and remastered on both his 2004 debut ‘Die Rugged Man, Die!’ and his ‘Legendary Classics’ compilation that included“Uncommon Valor,” his collaboration with Jedi Mind Tricks that saw him awarded the prestigious “Hip-Hop Quotable” by The Source magazine. R.A. has also been acclaimed for his writing, regularly contributing to Vibe, Complex and Mass Appeal magazine as well as landing a book deal with Testify books. R.A. is also the screenwriter and producer of the Cult Film Bad Biology and is working on his directorial debut; a documentary based on the life of his father Staff Sgt. John A Thorburn Currently, R.A. finds himself in the studio, readying his new album for Nature Sounds. Joined by celebrated producers Buckwild, Marco Polo, Ayatollah and Lil Fame of M.O.P., it promises to not only live up to his legendary standards, but exceed every grimy expectation. A traditionalist, innovator and trailblazer, R.A. has devoted his life to Hip-Hop, stating “The only reason I live is to be the best at what I do and I get better at it every year of my life. I can’t wait to unleash it to the world.”

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Havoc Of Mobb Deep

Havoc produces most of the tracks on every Mobb Deep album, and has produced songs for MCs such as Method Man, Per Vers, Eminem, Nas, Foxy Brown, Onyx, O.G.C., The Notorious B.I.G., Jadakiss, Styles P, Game, Diddy, LL Cool J, La The Darkman, Rohff, Big Noyd, Termanology, Jimmy Mserembo, Capone-N-Noreaga, and his own partner Prodigy on his solo work. In the spring of 2005, Mobb Deep was signed to fellow Queens rapper 50 Cent's record label G-Unit Records. In late 2009 50 Cent dropped the duo from the label.

Havoc is renowned among serious hip-hop fans as one of the prominent figures during the mid-1990s for his hard-hitting and stripped-down beats complementary to the RZA's work on Wu-Tang Clan projects. Following The Infamous, he tweaked his skills and transitioned to a more atmospheric production style that incorporated samples from classical music, most notably visible on the 1996 album Hell on Earth. As an MC, he is known for his hardcore lyricism, deep voice, and consistent flow. He also contributed background vocals and a verse on Black Moon's debut album Enta da Stage in 1993.

In July 2009, Havoc was featured alongside Raekwon in J Dilla's music video for "24K Rap" off of the Jay Stay Paid album, the video was directed by Derek Pike. In 2010, Havoc produced a beat for Eminem which resulted in a song called "Untitled" which is a hidden track on Eminem's album Recovery and contributed to the iTunes bonus track to Raekwon's album Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang & Bad Meets Evil' Hell: The Sequel EP. Revealed that Mobb Deep will be performing The Infamous album for Rock The Bells 2011 and plans on recording a new Mobb album with Nas. His third studio album 13 will be released on May 7, 2013.

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Julian Rhine

His name is Julian Rhine. He is a an artist; a rapper, songwriter, composer, singer, producer, guitarist, bassist, pianist, DJ, diehard Mets fan, animal lover, and animal eater born and raised in Brooklyn. He received his diploma from Vanderbilt University in 2010 for Music (songwriting, musical performance) and English (creative writing). Now, he resides in Manhattan's East Village where he likes to spend his free time relaxing in his backyard and flowing in his hot tub. He is transmitting his neoteric album, The Journey of Julian Rhine, straight from NYC to your headphones. It's an album that has London calling, "gritty yet flawless sounding American rock and roll mixed with hip hop."

The music is synchronously genre defining and genre defiant. The Journey of Julian Rhine is dripping wet with daring attitude, vicissitude, unorthodoxy, and rugged flow. Aiming for total originality while creating the music for this album, Julian opted not to use a single sample--something unheard of in hip-hop music today. Instead, Rhine chose to pour raw passion into the poignant, powerful, psychotic soundscape.

On The Journey of Julian Rhine, the artist teamed up with producer/polymath/Princeton alum Jon Rice of BullEagle Music to combine the grittiness of Nirvana and The Notorious B.I.G. with experimental electronic sounds akin to Radiohead, Kid Cudi, and Deadmau5. There's also tight, catchy songwriting, dipped in the epic, luxurious sounds of Kanye West and Lady GaGa. "Stunning" is the first single off the album, which had one reviewer declare, “Stunning is ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Feel Good, Inc.’ in a catfight!”

See the 'Stunning' music video here: bit.ly/JRStunning

Also from Journey is “New York City,” the mega-chill, lyrically delightful, soaring, shimmering hometown pop anthem, and “Phase It Out,” the 31st century, electro-trance-hop record which has been spun at various NYC nightclubs (B Bar, SPiN, Ella, etc.) and the Aldo fashion footwear store in SoHo, Manhattan.

2013 is off to a terrific start for the up and comer. In March, Julian Rhine performed two sets at SXSW and on May 7, he will be the opening act for a double album release show of hip-hop legends R.A. the Rugged Man and Havoc of Mobb Deep at the Highline Ballroom in NYC.

2012 was a prolific year for Julian's live performances, including a headlining show at the Knitting Factory a weekly residency at Arlene’s Grocery early in the year. He headlined the Studio at Webster Hall on Saturday, June 30. The show was sold out, and the promoters at Webster Hall said, “Come back anytime!” In fact, the owner of Sullivan Hall was in attendance and, as a result of the performance, booked Rhine to headline their showcase for CMJ on Saturday, October 20. Jason Pollak, a blogger from Runninwithit.com, wrote a review of the Webster Hall show stating, “The show was full of energy and the crowd never had a moment to rest in the 1 1/2 hour set. They belted out the words, sung, danced and maybe even cried. Overall, it was a great night.”

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