“Yo, this is Mega Ran. Welcome to this new EP entitled ‘TRAP’. For you to properly enjoy this I’ll need you to do three things. Number one, take off your judging cap. Number two, put on your thinking cap. And most importantly number three – turn it up.”
There’s nothing wrong with #2 or #3, but since #1 is what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years it’s a little hard to let go of the “judging” part. In general though Ran a/k/a Random is one of the most consistent hip-hop artists in terms of both quality AND quantity of music released. His independent hustle is as hard to knock as is his love of video games, things that do make it harder for me to “judge” Mega Ran than most emcees. It’s hard to keep an emotional distance from someone you have so much in common with, who you’ve interviewed multiple times, whose music pushes your controller’s buttons in a way that guarantees more replays than the Contra Code. So in actuality, the reverse problem I have with Mega Ran is that I DON’T want to “judge” because I personally like Random.
“Way back ‘fore anyone had called me Mega
I was coppin bargain bin cartridges and playin my Sega
I used to hit up the corner bodega
My local spot was run by the Ortegas
We only knew them as mami and papi
And if they would spot me doin wrong they would threaten to pop me”
“Black Bags” is produced by Mr.ThrowedonTheTrack, although from the introductory warning to be open minded I honestly expected something that would sound like Gucci Mane or Waka Flocka Flame. In fact it’s not even that far out of the realm of a normal Mega Ran track – with just enough of a synthesizer sound weaved into the instrumental for a typical Ran video game feel. Without spoiling the concept, Ran builds on what the “Black Bags” are in each verse, taking his increasing hustle to a level that has a dramatic turn for his friend by the end. Checkin’ Trapps produces the next song “Trouble,” and this one is a little more outside of Ran’s usual (warp) zone. If anything it reminds me of an old school T.I. album produced by DJ Toomp, which is a classic sound as far as I’m concerned. Ran changes up his flow to a style he doesn’t usually use to match it – in fact he’s flowing a bit like T.I. although with his own vocal tone.
“I don’t subtweet, I ain’t indirect
I don’t run streets, I don’t disrespect
Somebody wrong me, I disconnect
I got too much to do to be gettin vexed
Stay active, I rap sick
since back flips on the mattress
No disrespect, but I’m askin
where do cats get these accents
I’m wondering what happened
to crab scratches and the backspins
The rappin is now past tense
and now it’s all about trappin”
“Turn Me Down” is another Mr.ThrowedonTheTrack production, and I’m quickly becoming a fan of his too. The mellow pianos, subtle drums, and ambient music sound like a crossover quiet storm hit for Nelly or Ludacris. I think all those warnings to be open-minded from the opening track were actually unnecessary. Though I’m a fan of Ran’s and arguably a bit biased to begin with, I thought he was going to go so far into the “trapping” sound and style of hip-hop that he’d alienate his rap audience. If anything though he’s incorporated the Southern production sound so seamlessly into his music that one can only think “maybe he should have done this SOONER.” Mr.Throwed also does an excellent job on “Hometown Prophet” and “TRAP (The King’s Theme) and Gutta Boiy produces “Slow and Steady.” Random had me worried I would have to be hard on him for making some shit that doesn’t suit him at all for no reason.