Nerdcore star Mega Ran on the influence of Cross Movement on him
Rapzilla interviewed top nerdcore hip-hop artist Mega Ran at SXSW 2016, where the Philadelphia native discussed his introduction to Christian rap and his RNDM single “Believe”.
Mega Ran, who also used to go by the stage name Random, boasts an extensive resume, having been “embraced by independent hip-hop niches at a rate not seen since Tech N9ne,” LA Weekly said.
Video game giant Capcom cosigned him. He performed at the first Halo 4 Global Championships, as well as numerous times at San Diego Comic-Con and Nerdapalooza. He’s been covered by Nintendo Power, IGN and PlayStation Magazine, among others.
And “Mighty” — track No. 18 of his latest album, RNDM — received placement on Mighty No. 9, a video game made by the creator of Mega Man.
Track No. 16 of RNDM, “Believe”, premiered on Rapzilla and featured the most overtly Christian verses of Mega Ran’s career.
“[‘Believe’ is] a track that we started maybe six years ago, but I just didn’t have the resources to make it sound and feel and impact the way I wanted it to,” Mega Ran said. “As a Christian artist who creates music that is … I guess you can call it secular, nerdcore, whatever. They have so many labels for it. But I never really explored my faith on a record, and I felt like the one time that I did it, I wanted to make sure it was going to be executed in the best way possible.
“That included getting a choir, getting some great production, getting an organ player and all those things that I couldn’t find when I first started making music. And so I sat that song on the shelf, and I felt like when I finally had a voice, and I had the people’s ear with my previous releases, then I would be able to be comfortable enough even to speak about my faith.”
While faith-inspired lyrics are common in broader hip hop, Mega Ran said he didn’t know how “Believe” would be received by a nerdcore subgenre which he said lacks faith-inspired lyrics.
“I was nervous because I feel like in my field of nerd music, no one ever explores faith,” he said. “I feel like the ‘smarter’ people become, the more they begin to question faith and things like that. And then they get to the point where I notice a lot of my peers in music in the nerd world are nonreligious. They just choose to believe different things. And I feel like no one in the field has ever kinda explored what I did. So I was very nervous about that, but I’ve had people come to me and tell me it’s their favorite song from the album.”
Mega Ran may have never made “Believe” if he weren’t empowered by the music of legendary Christian hip-hop group The Cross Movement years prior.
“[The Cross Movement] was the blueprint,” said Mega Ran, who admitted he was once in a group inspired by them named The Exit-Us Movement. “With those guys being from Philly, being super-proficient lyrically — when I felt like, before them, there wasn’t a lot of really technically great rap coming out of Christian hip-hop backgrounds. I listened to all that stuff coming up. But I feel like once I heard this song called ‘The Light’, ‘The light of Christ is a blazing one / is a fight to live right and it’s major son.’ When I heard that from Ambassador, I was like, ‘Whoa, Christian rap can be dope!’”
Watch Mega Ran’s three-part interview below and stay tuned for more.