Videogames and Hip-Hop – Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

It doesn’t matter if you like rap or not; you absolutely have to hear Mega Ran.

I was never a big hip-hop fan growing up. I think that being a white middle-class kid had something to do with it. I still kept trying in an effort to broaden my horizons, and found something to like in Lupe Fiasco, Outkast and a few others, but that’s as deep as I got.

I just can’t identify with most rap. As much as I appreciate the wordplay and speedy delivery of Eminem’s music, he doesn’t generally rap about things that I’ve experienced. I dig the amount of actual music in Tupac’s songs. I appreciate the attitude of the NWA. I just can’t relate.

A year or two back, while watching a fairly good if one-sided and shallow documentary on MMO addiction called ‘Second Skin’, I discovered rap that I actually could identify with. It’s the kind of stuff I can get really get behind.

The song I heard was called “Grow Up” by a rapper then known as Random, but now more commonly referred to as Mega Ran. The song samples the Wood Man stage from ‘Mega Man II’ and talks about growing up playing games and not stopping just because people say they’re for kids. Or, as he says, “I just can’t seem to grow up, but you know what? I don’t think I want to.”

Here’s a sample of a verse that really stuck with me, primarily because I used that same AC adapter trick to get my SNES up and running to play ‘Secret of Mana’ while grounded.

I played every game in front of me, my peoples wanted none of me
Ran’s skills in video games, they couldn’t front on me
Mom knew how to punish me, take away the cords
‘Til I thought to use the AC adaptor from my keyboard
That’s when I knew that there was somethin amazin
My boys would get in trouble, I was cool cause I stayed in
Latch key kid, Home Alone like Macaulay
And 20 years later hostin Halo parties

It’s wonderful stuff, catchy as hell and the lyrics are heartfelt, meaningful and relatable. Mega Ran grew up as a nerd who was picked on for his hobbies and intelligence. I know how that feels!

The first game-themed album, ‘Mega Ran’, was intended as a one-off. It told a story using rap and music from the incredibly successful ‘Mega Man’ series from Capcom. The plan was to return to making normal hip-hop. Things went that way for a few years, and then in 2009 he was contacted by Capcom’s Seth Killian, who asked him to perform at a Capcom event.

After that, Capcom offered Random a special licensing agreement that allowed him to use the company’s music. That led to the creation of ‘Mega Ran 9’, based on the music of the brand new ‘Mega Man 9’.

His finest effort to date is a collaboration with K-Murdoch from a group called Panacea. The album is called ‘Forever Famicom’, and it’s been played daily in my apartment for the last month.

Want a sample? Check out “For the Gamers“. It has a few guest rappers including Shaeffer the Darklord, and uses samples from the ‘DuckTales‘ Nintendo game. It starts with the main theme and ends with the song from the moon stage, one of the finest songs ever to grace the NES.

Want another? Take a listen to “Dream Master“, a laid-back track telling Random’s story. It’s based on the music from the NES game ‘Little Nemo the Dream Master’. It’s one of my favorites on the album.

Here’s where it gets even better. Random isn’t a career rapper, and he’s not a guy working a part-time job while getting his career going. He’s not a thug preaching violence or celebrating ignorance. He’s a middle school teacher. The coolest middle school teacher ever? Probably.

I linked to a few YouTube videos in this article. They’re great to get a feel for what Mega Ran has to offer, but if you’re interested in his music, then reach into your wallet and buy an album or donate to the cause. Music like this is well worth it.

You can find more videos, song samples, tour updates and more directly from Mega Ran.

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