Written by: Alejandro Rodriguez, Special to CC2K
Random (also commonly known as MegaRan) isn’t you’re typical hip-hop artist. In a world where most mainstream hip-hop artists have mostly sold out or became lazy about the things they rap about, Random has stayed true to who he is as an individual. While there are many things that make his music stand out from the rest, his most shining trait is that at the end of the day he could be just a regular person like you or I. Hell, he could probably even be a teacher. It’s important to note that Random did not create Forever Famicom on his own. Producer and radio host K-Murdock helped create the project over a two year time period. A time well spent.
Random’s new album, Forever Famicom, is closely related to the music he did under the moniker MegaRan. (Any hardcore gamer will know that the NES was called the Famicom in Japan.) The 8 and 16-bit beats help transport you back to a time when Hulk Hogan and parachute pants still ruled the land. If you’re new to this type of hip-hop it may take you some time to fully appreciate it. If the only rappers you can listen to have to be hardcore and in your face then you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re searching for hip-hop where the rapper will bare their soul in even the most self-deprecating way then Random may be the right person for you.
The first track on the album, Episode III (A New Day), plays out kind of like a “Previously on LOST…” moment. Bringing you up to speed on the things that have happened in Random’s life up to the point where he was first discovered. This includes his meeting with K-Murdock and his passionate fans asking him when his next video game album will be. It does the job well, as it sets up the entire album for the listener. The track Dream Master takes it’s beats from the classic NES game Little Nemo the Dream Master. Random shines on this track as he looks back on his young self. Being somewhat of an outcast in his neighborhood and trying his hardest to fit in. In many ways this is his version of him coming up from the streets. Not through violence or selling drugs on the side, but rather through perseverance and will power.
Random’s disappointment with the current state of gaming is explored in the song Drop the Load (8-bit Remix). This song does the best job of bringing the gaming nostalgia back in full force. It’s critical of the industry’s incessant need to continue to grow as fast as it could, leaving the old consoles in the dust. It exemplifies the two steps forward, three steps back of a lot of games in every generation. Leaving Random to pronounce his grievance with, “Had a 360 three years/Three red rings/Had an NES forever/Never had to fix a thing.” The same anguish many gamers around the world can identify with. Although Random does acknowledge that he does like various new games, he still finds himself wishing it were the old days.
As an ode to the game of the same name, Double Dragons, puts you in the shoes of Billy and Jimmy Lee. The song explores their journey, fighting their way through the streets, forests, and miscellaneous factories to find their mutual love interest, Marian. It also ends without Marian getting between the two brothers. A much welcomed ending that close friends wanted since the game first came out. For the Gamers is a love letter to all video game fans all over the world. Going through the everyday life of a hardcore gamer in this crazy world, this includes the struggles and passion that every gamer has. One can relate to everything that Random says in the song, often reflecting on a midnight launch or staying up all night until you perfected a game. At the end of the day it’s just another slice of life for a select group of people.
There are many other songs that are just as good on Forever Famicom, this album is among the best in the nerdcore genre. Random’s lyrical prowess and intelligence move this album far past most hip-hop albums today. It’s not known how far nerdcore hip-hop will go in the future. It has a small enough following where it can experiment without having to face immense criticism from its followers, but big enough where it can no longer be thought of as just a simple gimmick. One thing is certain though, if more and more nerdcore artists continue to put just as much effort into their works as Random does, then it might be the next big thing.