One of the great things the Internet age has brought us is the ability for some seriously "niche" musical artists to show off their work to the world. Back in, say, the '90s, who would have thought that one day you'd be able to talk about a "video game-inspired hip-hop artist?"
That's the exact description you'd apply to musician Raheem Jarbo, though, better known as Mega Ran or Random. Jarbo is best-known for a series of hip-hop covers of music from Mega Man, the quality of which was such that it led to him being cosigned by Capcom, but he's also an accomplished freestyle rapper and chiptune artist.
Mega Ran is a keen live performer, and most recently took his particular blend of musical styles over to Japan for a ten-day tour in collaboration with the team at Japanese video game music site Nubuwo.com. The tour included live performances of his hip-hop Mega Man remixes along with freestyle performances alongside game-inspired artists such as smartphone developer Aliceffekt, chiptune artist Sexy-Synthesizer, and Streets of Rage III co-composer Motohiro Kawashima.
Here's a video from one of the tour's live performances that nicely sums up what Mega Ran is all about; there's a whole playlist of additional tracks here if you want to see more.
Mega Ran also performed a live hip-hop cover of music from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for composer Michiru Yamane, which must have been a nerve-wracking experience, and performed an improvisatory rap alongside Soichi Terada, composer of the Ape Escape series' music.
The actual tour is already over and done with, but that's just the beginning of Mega Ran's plans. Beyond the live performances, the eventual aim is to release an EP and LP of music from the Japan tour on CD and vinyl, along with a subtitled Blu-Ray documentary of the whole trip. Mega Ran and his compatriots have turned to Kickstarter to retroactively fund the trip and subsequently fund the products thereof; due to the tight timescale of the tour, they had to purchase the tickets and lodging in advance of the Kickstarter campaign finishing, leaving them, I quote, "dangerously broke."
Fortunately, the Kickstarter campaign appears to be going quite well at the time of writing: with seven days left on the clock, the campaign is at nearly $9,000 out of the $10,000 required to cover all the costs involved. You can find out more and pledge your support here; there's some great rewards on offer, ranging from the EP and LP when they're finally released to copies of albums from the tour's partners.
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