Mega Ran never sits still, whether it’s touring a wide range of conventions and music venues seemingly 365 days a year, or the persistently thoughtful experimentation with new elements alchemizing his continuous music output. So when I flipped through YouTube this week and found his dope new Stranger Things homage track – complete with original video – I knew he discovered the next rich vein to explore.
It looks like Stranger Things has been widely embraced by the populace at-large, and its seductive arrangement of 80s sci-fi, horror, puberty, and pulp fiction, continues to expand its reach (and thankfully has secured at least one more season). And with Mega Ran’s Stranger Things Part 1 music video, the reflecting inspirations of the show find yet another surface upon which to ricochet. This communication with culture is nothing new to Mega, whose music library has unearthed novel perspectives from sources like video game RPGs, wrestling, his own experiences as an educator, and more. Maybe that’s why the combination of Stranger Things – itself an often giddy melange of inspired tropes and reference-points – with Mega Ran’s holistic approach to hip hop exploration works as well as it does.
We’re grateful to the brother for taking a moment to speak to BlackGirlNerds about what’s cooking in the pipeline and how he encountered Stranger Things.
BGN: So, Mega, the moment I turned on this new video I knew that this was going to be a powerful pairing. How did you originally discover the series, and what were your immediate first impressions?
Mega Ran: My good friend Casey (producer of Mat Mania) told me about it and he just knew I’d love it. Halfway through the show, I was hooked. It scratched every itch of mine as an 80s kid, from the music, to the humor, to the suspense.
BGN: What can you tell us about the track’s producer, and the video director Christian Cota? Have you collaborated with them before, and how did this collaboration come about?
Mega Ran: Well, I produced the track myself, I made the beat after watching a few episodes. I put a demo of the beat online late one night and a lot of my YouTube comments were “I’d love to hear you rap on this.” So, I started penning some lines and realy liked the way it came together. Maculate heard the track on Soundcloud and agreed to put together a video with clips from the show, really well done but pretty spoiler-heavy.
Christian heard the song and he’d been directing short films for a while, and wanted to do a music video. He hadn’t even seen the show, but he really liked the imagery in the track. He then contacted me about a shoot.
BGN: What did Stranger Things remind you of? Are there reminiscent touchstones in the series that you were a fan of, or do you think it stands entirely alone? Have you seen anything comparable to it in recent years?
Mega Ran: It was like The Goonies, Monster Squad, ET, and so much more rolled into one – yet it has such a life and personality of its own. We’re all kind of wide-eyed and nostalgic about anything reminiscent of our childhood, but this is just a great series. I haven’t seen anything even close since…maybe Super 8 I guess, which I really loved.
BGN: The audio aesthetic for the show is perfect, but it seems to have been minimally explored in hip hop thus far. Can we expect a full series of followup tracks and videos to further celebrate Stranger Things? Do you think you’ll pull any other talent out of the woodwork to join in?
Mega Ran: Definitely. It’s made me explore the genre of synthwave, and it’s super-inspiring stuff. I spent all day making a synthwave playlist on Soundcloud and it’s great driving music.
[Regarding follow up tracks, ] well, the songs called Part 1 for a reason! So there will be more. I want to explore doing more hip hop within synthwave and have even been in touch with a few great producers in Europe who want to collaborate…so, be on the lookout for more strange raps very soon.
BGN: How do you think Stranger Things handled Lucas, the standout black character on the show?
Mega Ran: I wished he wasn’t so mean early on, but I understood. I think they did him well, first of all, for him to even be there was amazing, because I had a really hard time finding black kids that played D&D in the 80s. And every group of friends needs a cautious one. If we needed a blerd icon, I’m totally okay with Lucas.
BGN: Any shoutouts or updates on what’s coming up down the line?
Make sure yall check out Mega Ran’s Patreon page to download the song and support his future endeavors!
Leonardo Faierman was born in Buenos Aires, raised in Queens, on the playground was where he planned most of his schemes. He writes video game and music reviews, poetry, comic books, bad dreams and good copy. NYC is his serpentine loa. Check out his website,Snowdazecomic.com.Click here for reuse options!
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