The KRS of Nerdcore? Perhaps.

[rating: 8.5/10]

The first of two hip hop reviews this week has me talking about Mega Ran and K-Murdock’s Forever Famicom. Seeing as many of you may not know much about this fantastic artists, we’ll start with a little bit about them.

Mega Ran aka Random aka Raheem Jarbo is a Philadelphia native now making his residence in Phoenix. Before the inception of the Mega Ran album in 2007, Jarbo had already made his name as an underground emcee in Philly under the monikers Random and Random Beats. While juggling his music career and a career as a special education teacher, Jarbo moved to Arizona and shortly thereafter released the album that launched him into Nerdcore scene through coverage by the video game world and a licensing deal with Capcom.

Fast forward to 2010 and the release of his collaboration with K-Murdock, producer and half of DC hip hop duo Panacea (with Raw Poetic, another MC born and raised in Philadelphia). Considered a very progressive producer by critics, K-Murdock had been working on this project with Jarbo for nearly 3 years. The finished product is inspired and thoroughly enjoyable for fans of hip hop and Nintendo gaming systems of the 80s and 90s alike.

Whether the song is inspired by Little Nemo or Chrono Trigger, a sound reminiscent of something you may here playing Zelda, or a rhyme about laying a game you’d never heard of… this album is chock full of 8 and 16 bit goodness. This doesn’t mean that this is strictly a novelty album. On the contrary, Mega Ran’s rhymes are tight and K-Murdock’s NES inspired beats are hot. A true head still will dig on this, even if he or she couldn’t afford a NES and spent days in the ball court because good hip hop is good hip hop.

Appearances by Nerdcore favorites int80 and Schaffer the Darklord are solid, but the vocal star here is always Ran. Ran’s lyrics are always clever and interesting. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that he is one of the best lyrical storytellers in any genre of hip hop today. He puts the listener in the shoes of the Lee brothers in “Double Dragons” humanizing the characters and their plight. He tells the story of his youth in “Dream Master”, educates on the rules of the comic book convention scene in “CONtact”, and pays homage to video game culture in “For the Gamers”. Through each of these tracks, it becomes apparent that this guy is like KRS-One of the Nerdcore world – spitting knowledge, telling stories, and teaching his listener… though his lessons are most often in the interests of nerddom rather than science and world events.

Ran is a star in the making, ready to hit the national scene with fervor and zeal. This album is proof. I think a team up with TPM favorite Dr. Octoroc should be next up on Ran’s list… then it’s time to go after Danger Mouse, because everything he touches seems to turn to platinum. And while K-Murdock is essential in this particular finished product (I don’t want to downplay him here, because I love what he did with the samples and beats in every track), I suspect that Ran could team up with nearly anyone and create something amazing. So, Mr. Jarbo, if you are reading this… I used to write beats on Acid and Fruity Loops in college, wanna make a record?

Standout tracks: “Episode III (A New Day)” , “For the Gamers” , and “Drop the Load”

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~ by thepaintedman on July 28, 2010.

One Response to “The KRS of Nerdcore? Perhaps.”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Random aka Mega Ran, Rachel Walker. Rachel Walker said: RT @megaran: The KRS of nerdcore…lol…. well written review regardless :) http://thepaintedman.brookiellen.com/the-krs-of-nerdcore-perhaps/ […]

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