By Curtis Mayfield M-H:
Manning Bar, June 6…
Inside the University of Sydney’s Hogwarts-esque grounds is an unassuming venue that hosts everything from uni student piss-ups to New York City rappers. On this chilly Saturday night the latter occurred when total weirdo and lyrical gymnast R.A. The Rugged Man took over Manning Bar for a few terrifying and entertaining hours. R.A. is not your typical rapper, well not by today’s standards. He’s in his 40s, has a demeanor that can be likened to both 1980s Eddie Murphy and that ranting hobo you see in every major city. “By the time this show is finished we have to tear this building down!” was among the several encouragements of destruction throughout the night. On his face is a bizarrely shaped beard that is perfectly manicured and almost resembles devil horns.
Sporting a thick gold rope chain, a Rambo shirt and his distinguishable New York accent, R.A. The Rugged Man began his onslaught of bangers and crowd movers. Starting off with the appropriately titled ‘People’s Champ’ the show was in full force already. No warm up to this circus show folks, though there was plenty of crowd participation. For ‘Definition Of A Rap Flow (Albee 3000)’ it was requested that two genuine break dancers accompany The Rugged Man on stage to provide some backup moves. Of course the two people who volunteered who too drunk and lacked any skill to actually fulfill this request so the rapper took it upon himself to kick these two posers off the stage and carry out the moves himself. He is clearly a true b-boy. When the speakers temporarily shut down the show was not stopped and verses were spat acapella. It was at this point R.A. boastfully proclaimed that he would be “better than your favourite rapper in the 2020s, 2030s and 2040s!” With this kind of work ethic he may just be right about that.
Even though the New York MC jumped over the technical hurdles with ease and grace it was his stand-in DJ who let the show falter. Wrong tracks were played, songs were stopped for no obvious reason and the crowd began to turn on this blundering Disc Jockey. Lucky for him R.A. defended these gaffes by saying that the two had only met 20 minutes before the show and no rehearsal between them had happened. Despite this encouragement the DJ still managed to fuck up immensely throughout. As they say, the show must go on.
Ripping through crowd pleasing tracks like the corporate dissing ‘Every Record Label Sucks Dick’ and major banger ‘The Dangerous Three’ the show kept on rolling nicely. It wasn’t until the spirit raising ‘Holla-Loo-Yuh’ came on that shit really began to hit the fan. R.A. politely informed the audience that phones were about to get smashed and punches were going to get thrown. It was also at this point that a young lady at the front of the crowd took on this warning and placed her handbag on the stage to avoid any damage. What that person didn’t realise was that R.A. was about to invite the whole dance floor onto the stage. The deal for entry was to stage dive into the now 15-person crowd. Here’s hoping a liability lawsuit wasn’t brought against anyone. From the smile on this rugged man’s face, it seemed like he didn’t care either way. To top things off he said to the girl who placed her bag safely away to “fuck that dude up little girl” referring the to guy who stage dived into her.
Once the mayhem halted for the time being the sentimental ‘Still Get Through The Day’ had the crowd calmly listening to R.A.’s tragic story about lost family members. Soon after that the energy he had been demanding from the crowd the entire night was once again requested as ‘Shoot Me In The Head’ took this Sydney crowd out into the night. As the promoter’s pleading for R.A. to stop performing since it was past the venue’s curfew was ignored it was nice to see an international act give a local audience way more than was expected. True MC indeed.