The Rhyme and Reason behind Chip-Hop
Music is one of the major staples of video gaming. Music is what sets the mood for the game you’re enjoying. The melodies of a song help you associate a tune with a game, they get themselves stuck in your head for untold amounts of time, and they are also a huge resource for fan creativity. From well-versed musicians crafting remixes and covers and posting them over at sites such as OC Remix to amateur artists getting their start tinkering around with a myriad of musical options such as LSDJ, there are a wide variety of fan musicians in the video game world today. Typically these remixes and fan covers come in the form of electronic or rock music, but there are other artists out there that prefer a more alternative approach to pleasing your ears. Enter Mega Ran, a hip hop artist from Philadelphia that blends his love of hip hop and video games into a unique form of music he has dubbed “Chip-Hop”. Mega Ran is quickly becoming a front-runner in the video game music scene, having world tours and being chosen for projects by the likes of Capcom under his belt. I was fortunate to be able to interview him recently to learn more about his unique approach to music, as well as discuss his recently remastered Black Materia album and learn more in general about him.
HPP: How’s it going Mega Ran? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself for our readers?
MEGA RAN: Hey there! I’m Mega Ran, formerly known as Random, formerly known as Mr. J, English teacher. I make hip-hop music that’s inspired by games as well as my crazy life experiences.
HPP: Hip-Hop is a very diverse art form, who were some early influences on you musically?
MEGA RAN: Man, from the beginning, guys like The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, then Gang Starr, Dr. Dre, Masta Ace, Nas, so many guys.
HPP: Your music blends Hip-Hop and Video Games together to great results, what made you want to decide to make music in this way?
MEGA RAN: I got tired of making music the old way, and decided I’d try something that, at that time, hadn’t been done before. taking the sounds and trying new things with them, and the results were, interesting at least.
HPP: What were some of your most memorable games growing up? Did they have an effect on you wanting to pursue music as a career?
MEGA RAN: Mega Man, Super Mario, Final Fantasy of course, Metal Gear Solid, Zelda, so many. They didn’t particularly make me want to make music, but they made me want to create something that would immerse a player so far into it’s story and universe. I used to write outlandish stories, then they became rap songs.
HPP: Black Materia is an album that visits your experience with Final Fantasy VII. Did you find it a challenge to make an album that is what many consider to be a modern classic?
MEGA RAN: Definitely did. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t expect it to be. It had to be remade with such care and respect to the original source material and fandom, so that was always in my mind during the process… and at the same time, making a palatable hip-hop album that people who might not have played FF7 (shame on them) would be able to enjoy and appreciate.
HPP:You recently revisited and remastered Black Materia with the help of producer R23X. What was it like working with him and how did it feel revisiting one of your favorite albums?
MEGA RAN: It was a great experience. I was afraid, because I didn’t know much about his abilities, and I know that Black Materia was one of my defining works, so leaving things to chance wasn’t a part of my plan. But when I heard his first remix, I was sold. He’s very very good at recreating a full authentic orchestral sound, I was blown away.
HPP: What’s it like being licensed under Capcom? Are you currently working on anything with them that you can share with us?
MEGA RAN: It’s okay, I guess… beats being sued by them (laughs). I’m not currently working on anything with them, but as I’ve learned, anything can happen in the gaming industry, so who knows.
HPP: Are there any video game related albums you’d like to tackle in the future?
MEGA RAN: Yes, there are a few. BioShock is one of my favorite franchises, as is Zelda and Metal Gear Solid… also a few other Final Fantasy games… maybe one day.
HPP: A couple years ago, you did a show with Brentalfloss and Samuss where you freestyled about an audience member’s NES wallet, do you have any other freestyle moments that you have fond memories of?
MEGA RAN: I do that every night so they begin to run together, but every once in a while a person holds up something crazy, like a condom, or a bag of weed, a knife, or even a woman’s bra once –so you never know, those are definitely the most memorable moments. Keep it Random, that’s the way to be.
HPP: Finally, is there anything you’d like to tell other aspiring musicians and artists?
MEGA RAN: Be you, because everyone else is taken. Seriously, don’t waste your precious time on this Earth chasing trends or people, just do what you love and put 1000% into it. Peace and love!
I definitely appreciate Mega Ran taking the time out of his schedule and providing some insight on his craft to share with myself and all the readers over at Hey Poor Player. His style of music is fascinating, and being a fan of Hip-Hop myself, I definitely appreciate his work. If you wish to learn more about Mega Ran or want to support him by purchasing his newly-released Black Materia vinyl set or some of his albums, you can visit his website over at http://megaran.com.