Mega Ran stops at Streetlight Records for an in-store on October 12.
The term “nerdcore”, or nerd-rap, seems almost inherently gimmicky. Yet, when it comes to Mega Ran (Aka Random)—who wears this title proudly—he is nothing, if not completely authentic. He stops at Streetlight Records for an in-store on Oct. 12.
For him, being a nerd isn’t a particular behavior or in reference to the clothes he wears; it is a major part of his personal and emotional life, which he expresses with great vulnerability, specifically, through his obsession of video games—which provide a candid view into how he interprets the world, something other hardcore gamers can relate to.
His first album, The Call, released in 2006, was a fairly straight forward, hard-hitting underground rap album that didn’t have the 8-bit samples that he would become known for. That changed the next year, when he released the landmark Mega Ran album, which is an all-out homage to the classic Nintendo game, Mega Man. Every song is packed with samples from the game, while still mixing hardcore, direct, old school boom-bap beats.
The lyrics follow no particular model—just that they are personal and heartfelt. Topics ranged from his difficult childhood in Philadelphia to his current life in Phoenix as a teacher. There is also the continuing discussion of his profound love for Mega Man and video games. The album was a critical and financial success and got the attention of video game distributor Capcom, who invited him to perform at their booth at Comic-Con.
From there, Mega Ran digs even deeper into his own psyche with the release of Black Materia and River City Random. They are homages respectively to Final Fantasy 7 and the classic Nintendo game River City Ransom. But instead of only sampling the music, he tells, in detail, the stories of the games in the songs. In doing so he reveals a fundamental part of himself—the kid in him that somehow connected to these characters.
Mega Ran’s retelling of these iconic games will not just please hardcore fans; they stand on their own for any listener.
Mega Ran (Aka Random)
Streetlight Records; San Jose
Friday – 4pm; Free; All Ages