On May 16 of this year, I attended the Mt. Nerdcore Tour in Winter Park Florida. The lineup for the show consisted of four of the biggest names in the nerdcore rap game: MC Frontalot, MC Lars, Mega Ran, and Schaffer the Darklord. Before the show, I had a chance to interview MC Lars and Mega Ran about the tour, their careers, their interests, advice they had for aspiring nerdcore rappers, and their upcoming album, The Dewey Decibel System, which I had a chance to preview before the interview.
Scroll to the bottom of the interview to read my brief review of the album.
Scott (GNN): All right. This is Scott with Geek News Network and I’m here with nerdcore rappers MC Lars and Mega Ran. Gentlemen, hello.
MC Lars (ML): Hi, Scott!
Mega Ran (MR): What’s up, Scott?
GNN: I’m sitting down talking with you two as part of your Mt. Nerdcore Tour here in Orlando, Florida and you’re releasing an album in June, The Dewey Decibel System, which we’re going to talk about later. Since that album’s all about books, let’s start out with a glossary of some terms that might pop up during this interview. First, let’s learn what the word “nerdcore” means. How about paper, rock, scissors, you guys? Which one of you wants to answer it?
MR: (Makes the motion to play Paper, Rock, Scissors) Okay. Wait, one, two, three, shoot?
ML: Yeah. One, two, three, shoot. (They both pick scissors.) One, two, three, shoot. (Lars picks scissors and Mega Ran picks paper.)
MR: Oh, you got me. Okay. Go.
GNN: Lars wins.
ML: Nerdcore is a genre of music that started out as a rock genre in Santa Barbara. A band called Nerfherder called themselves “nerdcore” because there was punk rock music called, “Nardcore,” so it was a parody of that. The band is from Oxnard and so it became this punk rock music about science fiction and then, in the late 90s, 2000s, MC Frontalot decided to rap about Star Wars and call it “nerdcore hip-hop” and a lot of us aligned ourselves with that brand. So, it’s intelligent music about pop culture and nerdy topics that started with Nerfherder.
GNN: Mega Ran, want to add anything?
MR: Yeah, I think that’s a great definition, but I guess I would say, definitely pop culture-influenced music or specifically hip hop that is about and around things that people normally would consider to be nerdy, so things that weren’t necessarily the most popular, but– yeah. Smart raps.
GNN: Okay. Another term we’ll lay out now, “lit-hop.” That’s a Lars question. Lit-hop?
ML: Lit-hop, I heard from a guy named Baba Brinkman, a Canadian rapper who does– he did the Canterbury Tales as a rap and he got it from a guy who went to university with him who was writing literature about rap, and he called that lit-hop, so then Baba Brinkman said, “Well, why don’t we do songs about books?” And so, I kind of borrowed that from him, and we made a lit-hop album together, Mega Ran and MC Lars.
GNN: It’s a fantastic album that I got to preview, and we’ll definitely talk about that a little bit later. So, one final term. This one’s for you, Mega Ran: “chiptune DJ.” Again, I’m an old man, so that was a new term for me.
MR: That’s an interesting one because I saw that on my Wikipedia and I don’t know who wrote that or where that came up. I refer to my music as “chip-hop,” which is a combination of chiptunes and now I get to explain that. Chiptune is any music that is created using the original source, sound, or hardware from video game consoles. So, taking a Nintendo, opening it up, and checking out the sound chip and using that to make music. Or, taking a Gameboy, or a Sega, or something like that and opening it up. And now, lately, with technology, you’re able to replicate that sound through a computer program, then you could press a button on a key and it makes the same noise the game did. So, I use that in a lot of the backing of my beats in my music, so instead of hip-hop it’s different hip-hop, so it’s chip-hop. So, that was where that came from and chiptune was the chip in the chip-hop.
GNN: So, now we’ve defined some terms, let’s move on to the prologue, if you will. So, you accept the nerdcore rapper title, right? That’s not insulting or anything, right?
MR: We do.
GNN: That’s something you wear proudly. So, when did you figure out you were a nerd for the very first time?
ML: Well, I remember, I was at summer camp and I was– I used to have this big retainer and these big glasses. I was 11. And these older kids were laughing about how I looked like a goofball and they said, “What’s your favorite TV show?” And I was like, thinking it was like, “Oh,” and they go, “The Nerds?” And I said, “No. I like the Simpsons. Have you heard of it?” And they were like, “No. I’ve never heard of it.” And I’m like, “Oh,” and I was explaining it like they haven’t heard of it. And then I remember that episode where Homer Simpson was living with those college kids and he was yelling, “Nerd,” at them. After that happened, kids would yell it at me at school. So, I guess when I was 11. And I had a growth spurt. So, I was awkwardly tall and my voice was weird and I was a very strange kid. So, I guess those terms voiced it on me; that kind of hurt my feelings.
GNN: Yeah. I mean, you embraced it and showed them in the long run. Mega Ran, how about you?
MR: My story is similar. I was into video games, big time, and there was a kid on my block, this older kid, who used to call me and the two other guys I played video games with, “the video game nerds.” And then they would shorten it to, “the video nerds.” And they were like, “Ah, look. It’s the video nerds. Oh, I bet they could teach you how to beat Tetris, you nerds.'” And they would just make jokes about that, but we kind of embraced it. We would sneak our video game magazines to school and read them inside of our books or whatever. But then later, we would help the bigger bully kids when they started playing video games. We would assist them on how to beat a game or how to get a cheat code and things like that. So that is when I first heard that nerd was thrust on me, but luckily, I wasn’t alone, so I had a few other friends who were just like, “So what? We don’t play football. We don’t run or beat people up, but we just have fun other ways, so.” We’d sit together and draw or play video games.
GNN: Now, it’s funny, based on your answers, that we’re in a society, where the jocks who used to make fun of the nerds…now they like stereotypical “nerdy” stuff. For example, every player on the Dallas Mavericks has a PlayStation in their locker. All the people who used to call you names and laughed at you are gamers. You have football players like Marshawn Lynch playing video games with Conan O’Brien and bragging about it and Rob Gronkowski’s on WWE Raw, tackling people. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you see this stuff? How do you feel now that the people who used to call you geeks and nerds are like, “Look at me! I’m doing nerdy stuff! It’s awesome.” How do you feel? Do you think it’s ironic? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
ML: I think it’s gratitude that the technology that we were mavericks about, has kind of caught up with the culture, and I think that’s cool because it’s elevated people to be smarter, think faster, and you know what I mean? And to follow their passions. But it also makes me wish like, “Oh. I wish that–” I think being a kid now, starting out in music would be easier in that, you could really do it from home and create content from scratch because the tools that are available now, we didn’t have when we were kids. But it also forced us to become live artists and stuff. So, I think the things that made us suffer or work harder, made us better, I guess. So, I’m grateful and not salty about it.
GNN: That’s awesome. That’s good. You’re right. You could be like, “Damn, you! Where were you jerks when I was a kid, you know?” How about you, Mega Ran?
MR: I used to feel that way. I used to think, oh man. Now, you’re into this and blah, blah, blah. And I realized that that was becoming a bit of a toxic part of culture on the Internet, where the idea of fake nerds came about. It was like, “Ah, you’re being a fake geek. You’re not into all the games. You’re only into Call of Duty. You’re not a gamer.” So, then it became like different levels of nerd domain. I felt like that was getting kind of icky.
All that stuff came about for about 10 years on the Internet and I just saw that going that way and I was like, “Oh, let me back up,” because I’m honestly happy that kids can do these things that I used to get chased home for or scared to death about doing. Now, if I have a kid they can go and be a nerd and do all these great things and nobody will tease them. So, I think it’s awesome. I write about it a lot in my songs just about how I used to be salty about it, but now I just think it’s just awesome that kids can literally be who they want to be fearlessly, and that’s really what it’s all about so I’m happy.
GNN: Excellent. That’s amazing. So, let’s go back to Lars. You majored in English in college. I don’t know about you, but I knew I wanted to major in English in tenth grade. My English teacher, Mr. Palmer, made writing fun. From that point on, I wanted to write. That’s what I wanted to do. What career path did you envision when you were in college and where did music come in? Was it always music or was it something else and music kind of came in later?
ML: That’s a good question. I had a middle school English teacher who got me into Rush who was like, “You should listen to this because they write songs about books and it’s smart music.” So, I realized that there was always this kind of fusion between education and literature and music. In high school, I did a song for an assignment about Macbeth and I took the witches line of, “Double, double, toil and trouble,” and I made that like a rap song. So, in college I always loved making music and performing on campus. I was doing my minor in psychology and I was going to do a fifth year and get my Masters in psychology and maybe become a therapist. And I spent part of sophomore year abroad in England at Oxford, and I was doing my Shakespeare raps, and I got signed to a label over there – an indie label – and then stuff just started to happen. And I was like, “Oh, let’s see where this goes.”
So yeah, my original plan was to go to grad school and be a psychologist. And I realized music is healing, you know what I mean?
GNN: Sure. Absolutely.
ML: And my English major became useful because I always say when you write songs it’s like your thesis is your chorus, right? And you want to get straight to the point. So, doing an album about books feels very natural. And I like writing about books because they become timeless. Pop culture is fun, but it also becomes like, “Oh, you wrote about that version of X-Men, that version of Spider-Man.”
GNN: (Looks at Mega Ran) That version of Mega Man…
ML: And then you make friends who are really cool with music and stuff so that’s pretty tight.
GNN: So, how about you Mega Ran, before you started your music career, you were a teacher, and you did some producing in Philadelphia, and then you moved to Arizona…
MR: Okay. Well, let me fill you in. So, before that, I was making music on the side in college just kind of writing in between classes and things. Writing was always a big part of me, and I wound up actually having a dual major in English and African American studies because I had taken so many courses that were similar in that crossover. So, I’m another English guy; I was just loving to write. I wanted to be a sports commentator or sports writer. That was my thing. But then I got talked out of it by my advisor who said those jobs go to ex-athletes. “You’re not an athlete. How can you sit around and write about it?” So, I’m like, “You’re probably right.” I just began looking for something else, and it was my senior year. I really had no clue what I was going to do. And a sociology professor was like, “Hey, I think you’d make a really good teacher. You’re so good in these debates. You raise great questions. Look into this.” And he showed me a program where you could teach in the inner city without having to be an education major. And I was like, “Oh, all right. Cool. I’ll do it for two years. You get your loans paid back. All right. I’ll check it out.” So, I did it, and I really fell in love with it. I was in Philadelphia teaching middle school and at the same time, I was still writing on the side, going to studios, making beats. But I didn’t think that would ever become a career for me. I was recording people who were making like the sound of the times. The early 2000s hip-hop was very violent, very misogynistic, very heavy music. And I thought 50 Cent was the biggest thing at that time; that’s the kind of music that’s going out, and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t make that, so I have no chance.” And I didn’t understand the Internet or building on a following or anything like that.
So, I just kind of made beats and did my thing, but when I have free time in the studio, while I was teaching, I would record my own raps. I would have rap songs or I would write about myself or me being a teacher and how my life was hard because I had to teach and do other things. Then I had friends who were like, “Man, this is really good. Why don’t you record this again and get it fixed up and do a video and do some things?” And I’m like, “Okay. Cool.” So that became my first album. It was called The Call in 2006, but I was still teaching at the time. This was just kind of a hobby for me. And then, video games kind of became my thing where I was just– I always loved video games. I was the video nerd. So those tunes that are constantly on my head, maybe I can do something with them. And so I would pick up– I’d pick up some software and try to create beats based on the samples from those chip sounds. And that’s where Mega Ran came from. And the Internet grabbed it and took off with it, and Capcom heard it and gave me a licensing agreement, and I was like, “Whoa. I think I’ve found something.” I think it was just like finding that thing that I didn’t know that a corner of the world needed, and that was it.
From there, it was on. I was getting called to go to comic cons; play at comic cons. I went to San Diego because I went to the San Diego Comic Con first. And then from there, realizing there were other cons, so I was working a gig a month while teaching. And eventually, I took too many days off work. And one of my principals was like– he said, “You can’t serve two masters. So, you can’t be here and there. You got to make a decision.” And sooner or later, I didn’t think I was equipped to make the decision, but I put out an album called Black Materia, which is based on Final Fantasy VII. And that album took off. And before I knew it, I was like, “You know what? I’m just going to do this.” I was close to 30 and was like, “You know what? I’m just going to try it. I can always go back and teach.” Even to this day, if you want to be a teacher, you can be a teacher. But if you want to be a niche rap star, you can’t necessarily just make that decision. So, I figured I’d give it a go. And that’s been my story ever since. I’ve been Mega Ran, the ex-teacher turned rapper.
GNN: Excellent. Man, that was a pretty incredible story. And again, we love Alex Trebek, but you heard how he says it, “Losers. Nerdcore rap. Losers.” When kids are thinking of going into music and they’re going to college and all of a sudden, they decide, “Hey, Mom, Dad, I want to be a nerdcore rapper.” They want to go from doing it on campus as a hobby and performing at a venue like the student center or something or student union or doing it on the weekends and they want to turn it into a career, what advice do you have for someone who wants to cut the cord and start doing music full-time?
ML: I mean now, I think the channel is YouTube to so many kids who rap about games like Mega Ran, like our friend Dan Bull, like a lot of people who are kind of– they wouldn’t maybe call themselves nerdcore explicitly– maybe Dan would, but. If you get enough views, that could pay the rent. And I think our generation’s kind of like, “you hit the road, you sell t-shirts, you hope people want to see you.” And that took 16 years to get to where we are and I think my advice is with people who’ll be like, “I want to be nerdcore rapper,” I’ll say, “Well, start out being a rapper first and rap about what you want.” Because it can feel a little contrived if you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to rap about Zelda, Magic, all this stuff,” just because it’s popular. I think you can make money from being on the road, t-shirt sales, and your streaming or YouTube money. And, so, it’s just a matter of creating enough content where it pays the bills.
MR: Yeah, I think when you begin getting demand, I think that’s when you know where you’re going. Crowdfunding is something that we’ve gone into, we’ve done it for our newest release. And I think that kind of lets you know where your audience is. A lot of people feel like, “Man, I’m buzzing. I’m getting some views.” But you don’t necessarily know if these people will come out and see you. You don’t know if they’ll buy an album you put out with a price tag on it. So sometimes you just got to give people an opportunity to put money in your hand and see what happens and that kind of can tell you if you’re ready. But yeah, I think now, there’s so many things with Patreon and Kickstarter. There’s just so many ways now to do what you love from home. And if you find a pocket of fans; there’s the thousand true fans thing where I think, honestly, 250 true fans could pay your bills in a month. So, I think just starting small and then if you see yourself getting support for those things, just maintain your quality level and just make sure to just keep going bigger and better. And I think it will work itself out. But the quality should be job one, as Ford used to say.
ML: I think the nerdcore rapper lane is cool because I try to be out on tour only three months or less a year, and then I do, like Mega said, two songs a month and then albums. And it’s kind of a cool balance because I think when you’re just a YouTuber, you have a pressure to put out all these topical videos every day and sometimes that might not feel so artistic, but some people can find the craft in that. So, it’s a really interesting question.
GNN: Okay, so I’d like to ask about how to be seen. For example, if I go on Google and I type “wrestling rap,” I’ll find like five trillion wrestling rap songs. So, unless I know about you specifically, how do you get seen in such a crowded marketplace?
MR: Well, I think one thing is what we’re doing, which is collaborating. And then a lot of the YouTubers do that too, so it’s like all right, okay, I got 10,000 listeners, you got 10,000 listeners. Let’s work together and maybe we can get 15, 20 thousand.
GNN: That’s a good point.
MR: So, I think that collaborations is the best way and I noticed that from every social media site, from Facebook to YouTube, Vine when that was a thing, the biggest Vine guys or comedians would work with others and they would be like, “All right. Let’s do a big old collaboration project.” And I think to me, I always love collaborating and I think it increases my quality because it makes me want to work harder to also meet your standard of quality. And it makes me excited to know that a different group of people are going to hear me so it may make me work a little harder. So, I think that collaboration’s the best way.
GNN: Yeah, if you think about it, the whole reason I know about Lars is that he collaborated with Weird Al, who I love, and then you (Mega Ran), collaborated with Lars, so I learned about you.
MR: Look at that!
GNN: And Lars, you collaborated on OG, Original Gamer, with MC Frontalot. So now I listen to his stuff. So, I guess I asked that question and knew part of the answer all along.
MR: Yeah, that was how our conversation really started…you’ve heard of us through collaboration, so I absolutely think that’s the best way.
ML: I think being consistent. I think you need to put out an album a year or at least 12 singles a year and you have to respond to people online and make sure it’s good, what you’re doing. And those three things are what will help you, because you see an artist who’s great, but he or she will post every six months on Twitter. Or do an album every five years. You really have to be consistent. That’s how you stand out. And we’re lucky, if you were to Google “nerdcore rap,” you’ll see us. We’ll be some of the first things that pop up. But, yeah, to get in on something early before it blows up.
MR: You got to get in early. Save the Game of Thrones raps; it’s been eight seasons. There are probably 70 pages on YouTube of them. So, you got to jump in early. The moment something tickles your fancy, you got to go and fill that need and I think that’s really what it is. You got to be the first. I was always told from one of my mentors is, he said, “You got to be a yes man.” And I was like, “Well, what do you mean?” He’s like, “You got to be a guy who never says no. When someone says, ‘Hey, can you do this?’ Yeah. And then you go find out how to do it.” Don’t let opportunities pass you by. You got to give it your all. If you’re like, “That’s not the ideal thing for me,” and then someone else takes it and runs with it.
GNN: So, since I know we have limited time, let’s get to talking about the album and then the tour that you’re on. Let’s start with the album, The Dewey Decibel System, how did that come about? Who initiated it?
MR: Well, we had been collaborating for years. So, I think it was 2011, I put out an album called Language Arts, which was to commemorate me quitting work by quitting a teaching job. So, it was about my life and what I experienced as a teacher. I did a three-part EP series and on each one, I had a song where I wrote about a book that I loved. And so for the third one, I knew Lars was the lit-hop guy, and I knew he would be perfect for it so I did a song about Flowers for Algernon. That’s one of my favorite stories as a kid, and I knew it would be good for us to kind of go back and forth on. So, Lars wrote a great verse. We did a great track, and that kind of started to plant the seeds for, I guess, our literary collaborations. The next year he did an Edgar Allan Poe EP. He had me on that. So, we just kind of had a number of songs so whenever we toured together we were like, “Oh, we got like three, four collaborations, maybe we should do more.” And so it was like, well what’s it going to be about, of course, books. So, we just started making a list of books, and we went to work and knocked it out.
ML: And Mega Ran came to New York and recorded all these songs in the studio with our friend, Brad. And then we did the Kickstarter, and it was really cool because it was like we read a bunch of books– some books we hadn’t read, and some books we knew that were popular, and we wanted to tell our story through the characters.
That’s why I love literary raps because they’re timeless and if you can relate to the characters, it’s a really honest way to connect with the listeners. Do you know what I mean?
ML: And, yeah, so we did more songs than we picked– we did like 20 songs and picked our favorite 14.
GNN: Did you have more books on the list than the 20?
GNN: Oh, wow.
MR: Yeah. I think we probably had about 30, 40 books, and then we just had to break it down even further. And then it also meant an amazing book might not always make an amazing song.
MR: So, figuring out how to work that out was the true challenge.
GNN: I’ve got to say, Flowers for Algernon is– when you’re a kid, you don’t realize how sad that story is. That is a sad story. That’s the one where they do a surgery to make a mouse smarter and then they do the surgery on a mentally disabled guy, they make him smarter, and he becomes smart and then he ends up degenerating again, right?
MR: Yes. And the mouse dies and, oh, it’s so sad. But yeah, it was a rough story, so even the song, I think, it’s probably why we don’t do it on this tour. I feel like our stuff is pretty upbeat, and it’s definitely a song that would kind of like bring the mood down, so. But yeah, it was a great story, so it just made for a perfect song.
GNN: So, how did you pick the songs? And did you each read all the books on the list?
MR: We picked what made the most sense, and if I didn’t know a book that he suggested, I would go read it. And then I’d be like, “I’m not really feeling this one. Let’s not do it.” So, then we’ll come back and I would suggest one and he’d be like, “Well, you know, yeah.” So, yeah, it was definitely 100% both of our input that made these tracks happen.
GNN: I’m super glad Books are Tight made it on the album. Even though I thought it was going in the “Maybe” pile.
MR: It was definitely in the “Maybe” pile, but it was too good to not go on there. (Laughs) We literally have people on this tour showing up being like, “Books are Tight, Books are Tight. Play that song!” And we’re like, “that was a complete ad lib moment.” You can’t really play that. It’s all ad lib, but it was great.
ML: The trick to being able to do a song about a book is figuring out what the concept is and how to make that a hook, and how to make the chorus something that’s definitive about the book. So, one exception being Between the World and Me, which is more like a conversation between author and a well-meaning podcaster – which I think reflected some of the type of things that Mega Ran and I have talked about over the years and things we’ve learned about – and that was the book that I’d read that he thought would be a cool song idea, and that’s a great song that I’m really proud of.
GNN: Yeah. It was excellent. Excellent. It made me want to read the book…
MR: Good. It’s a great book. I highly suggest Ta-Nehisi Coates’ first book as well, The Beautiful Struggle. It’s his life story growing up in Baltimore. Because being a kid, seeing– it reminded me of my life story how wrestling, video games, advent of a game culture, and all these things that he tried to stay away from. It was a really good story.
GNN: So, favorite book? Both you guys? Gotta’ ask.
ML: Wow. I am finishing Infinite Jest right now, David Foster Wallace, and I did a few songs about it for my Patreon, and I would say that’s my favorite book.
MR: Lars already wrote about it, Moby Dick.
GNN: I have to go with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. So, let’s talk about tour you’re on now, the Mount Nerdcore Tour. You’re pretty far into this tour, right?
MR: This is the end.
ML: Last day.
MR: Last day, yo’. This is it. We’re ending it in the best place possible, the home of nerd culture and nerd music, the epicenter, Orlando. We’ve been playing here for so many years. It’s a lot of our best market, best shows. Yeah. This place is just perfect for us. I just feel like this is such a great collection of nerds and smart, choosy fans who come out and support us over the years, so we’re really appreciative and can’t wait to rock it.
GNN: So, based on that, and I hate to toot my websites on horn, but I recently wrote a piece on who would be on my geek Mount Rushmore, and it just so happens that your graphic is the four of you gentlemen who are performing – MC Lars, Mega Ran, MC Frontalot, and Shaffer the Darklord – on Mount Rushmore, Mount Nerdcore. Who would be on each of your nerd Mount Rushmores? Who made you the nerd you are today?
MR: That’s four people, right?
ML: I would say, Matt Groening, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Adam Goren, who was a singer in a group called Atom and His Package, and Steve Jobs.
MR: Ooo, good ones. I was going to say Steve Jobs, stole my answer, Stan Lee, Rick Flair, and one more? Nolan Bushnell, the father of video games.
ML: Oh. Good one.
GNN: Can I tell you? Nolan Bushnell was so close to making mine. In the article I mention- each position is a specific person because I was like, “Disney, Stan Lee, Stephen King–” Stephen King was the first “big boy” author I read. The other one – and I forgot the gentleman’s name – the gentleman– first time I really got into reading was Choose Your Own Adventure books. They were a blast. But, if I included him, no one would know who he was…
MR: Nobody knows who he was.
ML: Do you like Stephen King’s On Writing? Have you read that?
GNN: Every single author, when I ask what would they recommend for someone who’s starting. And I want to read that in the worst conceivable way. So, we have a little extra time, so I’m going to toss out a couple more random questions. Can you think of any pitfalls you would tell people that want to get into doing any kind of content creation about? Are there any mistakes you made or failures you’ve experienced, like a spot where you’re like, “Damn. Reverse the car and go the other direction”?
ML: I mean, I think when I started, I had a more traditional distribution method, so I worked with more like rock labels and managers, and I think a lot of my older stuff, I was trying to please them and hit topical things in a way that sometimes I felt maybe was inauthentic or pandering. So, I would have not been as concerned about how am I going to grow my brand versus how am I going to keep it going and be true to myself. So, don’t try to please other people. That’s my advice.
MR: Wow. I was going to say something basically similar. I think staying true to yourself and not compromising your vision because at the end that’s all you have is your name and what you stood for, your brand. So, I think that don’t compromise that vision for anything or anybody or any promise.
GNN: Got it. Makes 100% sense. And you know what I forgot? Since this interview is for Geek News Network, what are you geeking out on right now? What are you watching? What are you listening to? What are you reading? What are you geeking out on right now?
ML: I would say Infinite Jest because I’m loving all the essays about it and the Reddit subreddit theories about it. I interviewed a guy on my podcast who is an Infinite Jest scholar, so David Foster Wallace.
GNN: Okay. Mega Ran? You geeking out? What are you geeking out on?
MR: I’m geeking out on a comic called Paper Girls right now. It’s really fun. It’s kind of like Stranger Things, but in a really cool comic. I love it a lot, so I would recommend it. And Mortal Kombat on the Switch. I’m into that right now.
GNN: Nice. Nice. All right, gents. That’s about all I have.
MR: It’s showtime I think.
GNN: Well, thank you very much for your time.
ML: Nice talking to you.
MR: Thank you, man. Good questions.
GNN: I appreciate it. Thanks again!
The Dewey Decibel System | Review
The album, which has 14 tracks (12 about various books, short stories, and poems, an intro track, and a silly “intermission” song called “Books Are Tight”), is a pretty great collection. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Mega Ran before I listened to this album, but his strong contributions to the songs were enough for me to search out some of his other stuff.
Even if you aren’t an avid reader and you haven’t heard of these books, stories, and poems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you wouldn’t like this album. The tone of the tracks varies, from the very ska, upbeat “Bartleby, the Scrivener” to the very spooky, heavy “Julius Caesar,” there’s something for each type of rap taste on this album. Some songs are more “serious” than others, but all have clever lyrics and music that’ll both stick with you after you’re done listening.
I’m by no means a music expert; since I’m an English major, I tend to focus more on the lyrics than the music. As a guy who’s just discovering the world of nerdcore rap, I really enjoyed this album and it was a great introduction to Mega Ran. I highly recommend this album to anyone who loves reading. If you don’t like reading and need to be able to relate to the music you listen to, this album might not be your cup of tea, but I enjoyed the album from top to bottom. A few tracks really stood out to me (“1984,” “Gullivers Travels,” Bartleby the Scrivener,” and “The Masque of the Red Death” were my favorite), and none were skippable. I give this album a strong 4 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend it.