Mega Man fans reading this review don't need this explanation and thus can skip ahead to the second paragraph. For everybody else: Archie Comics has been publishing a crossover between beloved video game icons Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog titled "When Worlds Collide" since March 2013. When series antagonists Dr. Wily (Mega) and Dr. Eggman (Sonic) met up for the first time, they couldn't agree on whether to call their secret dimension the "Skull Secret Zone" or the "Egg Pocket Zone," finally settling on the combined "Skull Egg Zone." Since Mega Man is affectionately known as the "Blue Bomber" given his metallic skin color, and Sonic the Hedgehog is often called the "Blue Blur" given his incredibly fast feet, the two rappers chose a merged nickname of "Blue Bomber" befitting the crossover. In short this album is directly inspired by the comic book saga.
Random a/k/a Mega Ran and Mister Wilson are both rappers well known for their love of video games, so a collaboration was inevitable, and the fact their respective favorite game characters were ALSO collaborating in 2013 made it even more irresistible. "Blur Bomber" is the result, a 16-song album available in Random's typical variety of purchasing options. No pun on the fact he used to be an educator intended, but Ran could seriously teach a class to self-published emcees about marketing. You can buy this album as a digital download (no limit), or a hard copy with a bonus track (limit 200), or as a "MegaSonic Pack" with a signed CD, 11x17 poster, stickers and a set of collectible pins (limit 100). That's H-U-S-T-L-E HUSTLE. Not only does this kind of marketing engender fan loyalty, it also puts more money back in the pockets of two rappers who get no major label advances.
It doesn't matter how many collectibles you offer with an album if the music isn't any good. Thankfully that's never been a problem for Random, who is consistently above average compared to other indie rappers, and miles above the mainstream rappers you hear on FM radio. For better or worse the skills get slept on at times thanks to his deliberate niche marketing to gamers - making him a big draw at events like the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) and a cult favorite around the world, while simultaneously excluding him from the audience that makes rappers like Future and Drake go gold and platinum. You'll never hear Ran cry about it - far from it. He's one of the most positive and refreshing emcees in the business, and if he and Mister Wilson are in a nerdy niche, they make the most of it and will make the most FROM it.
"Dr. Eggman was chillin in his laboratory
"The Blue Bomber is my nick name
As Mega Ran and Mister Wilson are already tag teaming for 47 minutes (with a few respective solo tracks) there's not much need for cameo raps, though Storyville does drop in on "Lava Reef" and Tha Kure comes in on a personal favorite - "Unite!" Kure also produces the track, which samples from the stage select screen of Mega Man 8. Kure is solid on production throughout, though he's far from the only dope contributor. Takz handles tracks like "Best Friends" and "Blur Bomber" nicely, Richie Branson laces "Mega Man Legend," and Kill Bill handles "20XX," which is another classic flip of Mega Man video game music. That's a predominant trait to any Random album, but since this is a collaboration/crossover album you'll hear some Sonic influences too - though nothing as instantly recognizable as the famous "Green Hill Zone" theme anybody who played the original Sonic on Genesis knows by heart.
As a long-time fan of both the Sonic and Mega Man universes I couldn't resist buying the comics to find out what it was all about when worlds collided, and "Blur Bomber" is definitely an album aimed at gamers like me - and perhaps even some people who never played the games but just read Archie Comics. They may miss out on a few of the insider jokes as a result, but if dope beats and rhymes with a chiptune influence are what you're looking for, Random delivers like always - it's just that on this occasion he brought Mister Wilson along to join in the fun.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: December 17th, 2013