R.A. the Rugged Man & DJ Psalm One at Fibbers

On Thursday ’90s New York rapper R.A. The Rugged Man came to Fibbers, joined on stage by DJ Psalm One. Support on the night came from Lego and Hull-based rapper Marx. We headed down and got some photos of the action.

Review by Martin Frank

Photos by Andy Argyle

It was a night of two halves, with a huge ocean in the middle of them. The opener was Marx, who was enthusiastic and relevant. English rappers trying to be American doesn’t tend to work and we’re pleased to say neither of the acts this evening attempted this. Mucky Pup and Bad One were great tracks, even though transferring American rap to credible English rap is a difficult journey.

Lego followed, seemingly the only rapper in the business to rhyme war cry with pork pie. His tracks were well thought out with Diamond Girls being one of them, but there were too few handles for the crowd to hold on to. This was a shame because his music was pretty good, but he needed some presence in his voice too, with it being more of a nettle sting than a cobra’s bite.

R.A. Rugged Man was the main event, with the small crowd pre-warmed by D.J Psalm One and Hologram Kizzy before the original legend himself walked on to the tiny stage. In no time he owned Fibbers, filling the room with his presence in a huge black coat and hat looking like a rap Godfather. He threw millions of words at the crowd at a time, with the words themselves becoming the tune. R.A was incredible to watch, shaking his head as the words sprang from his mouth like confetti. The People’s Champ raised the roof as the true fans joined in, and the party began. The calibre of Rugged Man was never in doubt – he’s worked with all the big names and it showed in his performance.

R.A. had the room in the palm of his hand throughout the show. Sadly, it was a pitifully small crowd for an artist of his following but he made it feel like he was playing in a stadium. The small numbers meant that members of the crowd could beatbox with him to Stanley Kubrick, and some of them could even join him on stage. This was rapping in your front room, close, cosy, hot and sweaty unabridged one hundred percent entertainment.  R.A. Rugged Man has shaken off the pains of his early years and is now on his way to the top where he should have been a long time ago. His performance wasn’t rugged but smooth and slick – he played to the crowd but he also managed to make it feel very elegant. This was an old school rap masterclass taught by a truant, and as the show ended it seemed that he had finally earned the label ‘legend’.

Lego, Marx and R.A. The Rugged Man & DJ Psalm One played at Fibbers on Thursday 17 May 2018.