If you’re a fan of ’80s and ’90s pop culture, you won’t have a hard time understanding most of the references rapper Raheem Jarbo, better known as Mega Ran, drops in his songs. It’s not strange to hear call backs to Dragon Ball Z, ’90s NBA stars, Super Nintendo, and Eric B. & Rakim samples all in one song.
Metro Detroiters can hear what the Philly native has to say live when he headlines Otus Supply on Saturday, September 10 in Ferndale. We spoke to Mega Ran about his career, his love letter album to ’80s anime “Robotech” entitled “Protoculture Season,” the power of nostalgia, his love for Detroit and more.
Mega Ran did a freestyle over “Selfish,” the 2004 hit from legendary Detroit rap group Slum Village, earlier this summer to promote a show he did with them in New York. It’s great and you should listen to it.
One of the lines that stuck out to me was:
“Kids be like, ‘you black, but you don’t act hood.’ Critics be like ‘he nerdy but he can rap good.'”
Mega Ran has been dealing with that duality since the start of his career.
“Confronting it head on has helped me to deal with it for sure. I was always kind of passive aggressive about it in the past,” Ran says. “Because when you’re starting off, you’re just happy that anybody might listen to you. So whoever’s enjoying it, I’m like, ‘glad you enjoy it.’ But then we would have awkward conversations at merch tables or in comments, we’d be like, ‘You know, I hate rap, but I really love you.’ And I’d be like, ‘that feels kind of weird and maybe even a little racist.’
You know, at the end of the day, it’s hip hop. And the line has been blurred more than ever, which I think is really dope. A lot of these new kids can talk about ‘Dragon Ball Z,’ they can talk about comic books or whatever they’re really into, and just make hard, good rap songs about them.”
Mega Ran also proves he’s actually had a true coney when he mentions the snap of the casing in the same Slum Village freestyle.
“I’ve been to Detroit a few times. And that was the one thing that my friends there are always telling me: the snap is what makes it,” the rapper says. “So I was down there a couple years ago. And I was talking about coneys. So I literally went to the two places downtown, American and Lafayette. I went to both and I was like, ‘Alright, I need one here, one there.’ I love them both.
Listen to the entire interview at the top or scroll below, where we also talk about Ran’s most anticipated video game for the rest of 2022, the AEW/CM Punk drama, video game TV network G4’s return, and more.
Mega Ran headlines Otus Supply on Saturday, September 10. Tickets are available at the door or otussupply.com.
Listen: Mega Ran talks hip-hop, video games, pro wrestling and more
Photo Credit: Mega Ran