R.A. the Rugged Man, real name R.A. Thorburn, is a rapper from Stony Brook, Long Island. He began his music career at age 12. At 18, he signed to Jive Records. R.A.'s legend, perpetuated by the P.R. biographies at his various labels, say he was dropped due to violent and disgusting behavior, but in interviews he disputes many of the more extreme stories told about him, adding that Jive just didn't know how to break new artists at the time.
An original member of New York's new-school pioneers the Ultramagnetic MC's, "Kool" Keith Thornton is best known as a solo rapper. His signature style is stream-of-consciousness lyrical flow and complex vocals, two skills that earn him a perennial nod from the underground hip-hop community. The average Kool Keith album is peppered with bizarre, disjointed, even delusional or disassociated themes, concepts, and references. Nearly all of his albums incorporate a satirical dislike for more commercialized strains of hip-hop, as well as major record labels.