PREMIERE: Mega Ran's "Rushmore" gets the remix treatment from Zilla Rocca - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Mega Ran | Photo by Yoku Masaki | courtesy of the artist

Philly-bred MC Mega Ran is often bunched into the whole “nerd rap” corner, largely because of his earliest releases where lively rhymes celebrated gaming over chiptune beats. He embraces the label, but as a classification it’s kind of silly.

Why? Because so many rappers – beneath the braggadocio and hard-edged public face – are hardcore nerds in their heart of hearts. I mean, Wu Tang Clan boasts some of the most badass lyricists in hip-hop history, but they invented an entire mythology around themselves drawn from obscure Kung Fu flicks! That’s not nerdy or obsessive in the slightest, right? And it goes without saying that this characteristic extrapolates to musicians in general – rock, pop, punk, folk, like it or not, y’all are nerds. And it’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. If you listen closely, Mega Ran proves to be a clever lyricist, using nerd culture as a gateway to personal storytelling, delivering introspective ruminations in his NES-driven bars.

So, how do we collectively move past that and just look at Mega Ran as a capital-R Rapper? For his new RNDM, he dials down the 8-bit sound effects and tries his hand at flowing over more traditional beats – and it sounds fantastic. The record hits an eclectic assortment of styles and lyrically details Mega Ran’s path in hip-hop, from an overlooked curiosity to a dude who successfully tours and was able to quit his job to become a rapper full time (not to mention getting married).

His ambitions remain bigger still, however, as we hear on “Rushmore” – which is sleek and soulful in its album rendition but which gets a funky and danceable new look care of Mega Ran’s Philly homie (and fellow nerd) Zilla Rocca, who pulls the beat from a stone-cold 90s classic, “Doin’ It” by LL Cool J. Take a listen below. RNDM is available for purchase now via iTunes.

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