Newsday recently published a piece profiling the late Staff Sgt. John A. Thorburn, a decorated Vietnam war hero who was also the father of underground hip-hop icon R.A. The Rugged Man. In the video, viewable below, R.A. and his family discuss the tragic effects of Agent Orange, including birth defects that led to disablility and, eventually, death for two of R.A.’s siblings.
If this story sounds familiar to some hip-hop fans, it’s because R.A. told the story of his father in vivid detail during his guest verse on the Jedi Mind Tricks song “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story.” This verse earned R.A. much acclaim, including a long-overdue Hip-Hop Quotable in The Source magazine.