Raheem Jarbo better known as Random or Random Beats or Mega Ran is an American underground rapper and record producer. He started making up rhymes when he was 16 years old, and got into producing a few years later. He released his debut album The Call in 2006, and is made a big hit with his album Mega Ran, a tribute to Mega Man (soon after we used his track in my film Second Skin!). This album made Random one of the superstars in Nerdcore. Now he’s come back to us with a new tantalizing offering of nerd beats and rhymes. This time he’s teamed up with K-Murdock to make it all happen. P10 asked him 10 and got some answers for you.
1. How was Mega Ran born? When did you say: “Wait a minute, it’s time I rapped over video game music”
Yeah, actually….I had gotten to a stage of my life where I was unhappy with the music I was making… I needed a break, so I stopped making music and started playing games. It was like the moment when Ace Ventura’s dog laid on the picture of Ray Finkle. aha!! Video games and rap! That’s it! And Mega Ran was born.
2. How do you choose which video games make the cut? What is it about Little Nemo? What memories do these games spark? How do you bring in that nostalgia to your lyrics?
I always choose the games that 1) had standout music and 2) were important to my childhood in some way. The memories connected to this music are so numerous… In general, it takes me back to a time of total innocence.. When life was so simple.
3. You become unstuck from time and have the opportunity to change one event in history. Where do you go and what do you change?
I don’t think I’d change anything, because our history is who we are. Without it, we’re nothing. I think that’s the social studies teacher in me…. Plus Doc Brown always warned Marty that if you alter the past it will drastically affect the future… I’m a huge fan of the Back to the Future series, haha.
4. How long did it take to record Forever Famicom? How was it collaborating with K-Murdock on this project?
was about a 3 year process from inception to completion, but I had other obligations and projects that took up most of that time. Kyle and I met online years ago and chatted about making this project, but it took about 9 months of solid writing and recording. It was my first time recording a whole project without actually being in the room with the engineer– it was a cool experience, and I’d love to do it again.
5. Thematically what should people take away from Forever Famicom?
That 8 bit will never die! These themes are the new classics. I want people to recognize and respect the 8 bit and 16 bit tunes, and tho appreciate the work that went into creating a new work out of them. I hope that when people play it, they’re taken back to their youth, and the games they enjoyed.
6. You get $200,000 dollars to work on a concept album? What do you do? Where do you go?
I’d go to London and record a live album with the Philharmonic orchestra.
7. Who are your role models?
My mom, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Mozart. In life, Martin Luther King, Ghandi… and Spider-Man.
8. What song or album are you listening to right now that I should be listening to?
I really love the new Sage Francis single, “The Best of Times.” it’s like he told my life’s story with that one.
9. Is there a bridge between in-game music and hip-hop that you’re trying to make? How are you paving the way for nerdcore?
I don’t know– I mean, I just want to do something fun, something different. I want what every artist wants: to make a difference in a new way. Nerdcore, and hip-hop on a whole, has existed before me, and hopefully will after, but I hope when I’m gone someone will recognize that I somewhat made a mark in some weird way.
10. What’s next? Are you touring this summer?
I’ll be touring all summer, from east to south to the west. Check out megaran.com/shows for more details.
Forever Famicom will release in Japan in the Fall, hopefully I’ll be over there for some promotional stuff; then it’s back to school!