As Americans continue to embrace comic book movies, Star Wars franchises, and video games, rapper Mega Ran, is redefining both hip hop and geek culture with his signature “nerdcore” genre- much to the delight of fans (and the dismay of Alex Trebek). Courtesy of 12G Agency, we sat down with Mega Ran to find out more about his inspiration, upcoming projects, and what he’s playing on his gaming system now.
Welcome, we’re excited to have you here. We’ve got so many questions and we know that you’ve been up to a lot, but first of all, your last album did very well, so congrats.
Thank you, yes, we’re still working it, still shooting videos and having fun with it. I think it was the most complete project I feel that I’ve completed- ever. I’m really proud of it.
It was indeed very good. And you just released another video, “Airplane Mode.” Where did the idea for that come from?
I feel like airplane mode seems like “I’m so fly, I’m flying around, stunting on people,” but for me, when you go on the airplane, you have to switch your phone to airplane mode for safety. So, I feel like you have to do that for your own safety and protection- you have to shut the world out sometimes. You have to shut out the Facebook, Instagram, you know- the distractions- so you can fly.
That’s profound! What’s next in the works?
I’m on the Generations Tour now. I’m going to be doing some more tours. Right now I do about two songs a month on Patreon for exclusive materials for fans who want new stuff all the time. And I’m working on a compilation project with Soul Spasm that will be out this summer. It’s all my favorite collabs that I’ve done with people- I want to take all those songs and put it into one place. It’s called The Visitor and will be coming this summer.
Excellent! So, growing up, who were some of your biggest musical influences?
I’m a big fan of LL Cool J. His versatility and longevity has really inspired me. I’m a big fan of Stevie Wonder, you know someone who consistently makes great music with a message. New stuff- I’m into J Cole, Kendrick, a lot of new stuff. Guys that can realty rhyme.
OK, so now the serious question. DC or Marvel universe?
This is an easy one. It’s Marvel all day! DC though, makes really good animated movies. See, I was a former teacher so I have to make the compliment sandwich. You start out with something not so positive and then put something positive in the middle- some cream filling. So, DC makes great animated movies, but Marvel has everything else on lock.
So, what did you teach? I know you used to teach middle school. What subjects did you teach?
I did reading and social studies to 6th, 7th,and 8th graders. I mean, that age is the worst ever. But they make you laugh, they keep you on your toes, they keep me inspired. And they love hip hop. Hip hop is the language of the youth so I would tell them that I made music, so I would bribe them with “if you get your work done, I’ll spit a freestyle.” So they were big into it- I think I learned a lot about performing from teaching. I mean, you’re literally performing. You’re on stage, but you’re just in front of a classroom trying to get those 30 or something kids to believe in you the same way you’re trying to get an audience to come into your world.
And middle school- they’re usually sober and that’s even harder.
I hope they’re sober!
So now we love The Force Pull (the Star Wars Rap) and there is a new Star Wars coming out- Solo.
Shout out to Slopfunkdust (Rawkus Records, Beat Fanatic) and director Eljay Perez for the track. I’m a Star Wars fan and Solo… hmmm… the one thing I’m excited about is Donald Glover as Lando. I was like “ok, this has got to be good.” I think it’s going to be good. Star Wars diehards are a little nervous about it because they haven’t showed a whole lot and they keep switching directors and things. But I’m just going to let them do it and I’m going to consume it and enjoy it.
Well I know the director said that it’s not going to be your traditional Star Wars- that this is a “heist movie,” so it’s a little different.
The Star Wars world is changing and I’m here for it.
OK, so now let me prepare for another serious question. You are incredibly well-versed in video games. What are you playing right now? What gaming system are you on?
I have a Nintendo Switch and a PlayStation 4 right now. On Ps4, I’m playing Monster Hunter World- so good. That’s my game of the year. But you have to play it with friends. You know, hunt down giant monsters and bash them in the head- it’s so fun. But it’s hard- you need help. But then when I’m not home, it’s hard because my friends have leveled up and I’m like “hey guys, come help me,” so I hate that when I’m on tour, they’re like level 100 and I’m like level two, but the game is amazing. On Switch, I’m playing Celeste, which is my second game of the year. It’s like a Mega Man type game with a lot of puzzles and things. It has a female lead character trying to climb this mountain. It’s a great game- fun and challenging.
So now that we’re talking about video games. Our president thinks that violent video games are a problem. I mean, we all came up with these games. They were saying the same thing in the 90’s, so now everyone from then is grown up and mostly productive members of society. What would you say to Trump about this?
I think that’s a bit much- I think it’s a stretch. People try to pick the low-hanging fruits, the easy targets to be like “oh it must be the games.” I remember when Grand Theft Auto was supposed to be the death of society. But those people that have played those games have gone on, like you said, to be just fine. Statistics have shown that nobody plays a game and then goes out and does those crazy things. If anything, you sit down and play those games so you don’t do those things- it’s an escape- which is what we try to do with music too.
OK, so this is for The Source. What’s been your favorite Source moment over the last 30 years? Besides your previous features in The Source.
Oh man, ok, I remember way back when I read the review for Illmatic. I’m taking you way back here and they gave it five mics. And we’re like “no way!” So we started reading into it and we’re like “DJ Premiere is on this? Oh my God! Pete Rock? Q-Tip? Oh my God!” So we’re thinking this might be good. So I put the magazine down and went to the record store and immediately bought Illmatic because of The Source and then we took it home, me and my buddy Chuck, and we pressed play and just grooved nonstop and I’m like “yo, it’s a classic. The Source was right!” So, I think that’s my favorite Source moment.
Well we believe that you’re a classic and we love what you’re doing and we’re very happy to have you. Thank you for your time.
Thank you to you! Big ups to The Source. You guys have been there through my entire hip hop upbringing, so I appreciate it.