Ras Kass
Ras Kass

Birth name

John Austin IV


26 September 1973 (age 43)
Watts, California, United States


Carson, California, United States


Hip hop


Rapper, producer

Years active



Patchwerk Recordings, Priority/EMI/Capitol, Zoo Life, Re-Up

Associated acts

40 Glocc, Da Beatminerz, Bishop Lamont, Canibus, Coolio, Crooked I, Dr. Dre, The HRSMN, Killah Priest, Kurupt, Planet Asia, Saafir, Xzibit

John Austin IV (born 26 September 1973), better known by his stage name Ras Kass, is an American rapper from Carson, California. Ras Kass took his stage name from the legendary Ethiopian Emperor Yohannes IV, whose name was Ras Kassa Mircha before he was crowned as an emperor.

Ras Kass earned a place in the "Hip Hop Quotable" section of The Source magazine in 1994 with a verse from his independently-released song "Remain Anonymous", and subsequently signed to Priority/EMI Records. He released his debut album, Soul on Ice, in 1996. Taking its name from the book by Eldridge Cleaver, Ras addressed racial relations in the same manner. It received good reviews, as did its 1998 follow-up Rasassination. Although his intended third album went shelved, several singles from the album received airplay. It was around this time that he was inducted into the group The HRSMN alongside Kurupt, Killah Priest and Canibus.

Ras Kass was incarcerated for nineteen months in 2004 and 2005 for a D.U.I. charge. He recorded Institutionalized upon his release, which was released as a mixtape and not an album as he was attempting to leave Priority Records. In October 2007, Ras was released from his contract, but was incarcerated for violating his parole before being able to sign to another label. He was released at the end of May 2009. He used Kickstarter to fund the release of his album A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I Dream About Spittin) in 2011, and released his latest album Barmageddon in 2013. He collaborated with Apollo Brown for the 2014 release Blasphemy.