A true example of where video game culture meets hip-hop
Afrofuturist hip-hop icon Mega Ran decided to celebrate the 10-year-anniversary and re-release of his second favorite video game, Final Fantasy VII, by doing a re-release of his own. The charming and witty wordsmith is re-recording his biggest selling album to date, Black Materia, and then dropping his seminal project on vinyl, as well as limited edition thumb drives.
Black Materia is such a well-known record because it is a true example of where videogame culture meets hip-hop, without being overly gimmicky. On the record, Mega Ran is rapping about a video game, over beats that are just a remixed version of the videogame’s music. However, that doesn’t mean the bars aren’t strong and the lyricism isn’t top-notch. Add in the overt socio-political overtones in many of the songs and what you have is a truly incredible feat of musicianship. A fun escapist record about a classic video game, that still hits home with well-articulated lyrical value about the real world.
What Mega Ran is, more than just a tremendously talented rapper, is a commentary on the pop-culture world at large. On the surface, he seems like a rapper just making amusing references. But if you listen closely you will hear the constant thread of social commentary that flows through every bar. He may be rapping about video games, but this is a man following in the tradition of Black Thought and Common … there is always more going on than you think!
It’s a particularly good time for the teacher, rapper, hero, to bring Black Materia back to the forefront because the turbulent times we are living in dictate that we try a little harder. Just like Barret Wallace and Avalanche had to make difficult decisions to take on Shinra, Black Materia can be there to remind us of the difference between what is right and what is easy. It’s an impactful record based on one of the most famous video games of all-time so for a lot of people the messaging was lost. But it’s always been there just beneath the surface.
The plan is to re-record the entire project working with the same people who worked on the original, although Ran admits there is plenty of room for new collaborations. The idea is to really capture the overall feeling of the first record while adding the wisdom a decade of life brings to the table, not unlike the video game. While the exact date of the re-release is still up in the air, there is no doubt the record will be available in 2020, as this marks the 10-year anniversary of the release of the record.
Mega Ran is hoping to use his voice and platform in 2020 to make a lot more noise than he has in the past. But even his past work like Black Materia was truly an impressive example of his subversive social consciousness that has been a part of all of his music from the beginning of his decade long career. For Mega Ran hip-hop was always about more than just escapism and Black Materia is clear evidence of that.