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  • September 4th, 2020
  • RandomBeats Music
  • Buy/download
9.5

The latest installment of Mega Ran’s AGES series is nothing short of brilliant. The tracks are thoughtful, socially conscious, and displaying a more vulnerable side of the popular nerdcore emcee. His melodic hooks, airtight, introspective verses, and chiptune-laced backbeat come together to make an independent hip-hop record for the ages (see what I did there?).

AGES Vol. 2 is the follow-up to last November’s AGES Vol. 1, and his second major album of the year, following his collaboration with Young RJ of Slum Village, 2 Hands Up. Mega Ran hasn’t let the nationwide shutdown of venues and stages stop him from bringing some hard lessons coupled with some hope and positivity to his fans the world over through his music. When so many artists fall and falter due to the circumstances, Ran pivots.

He’s not only able to put out high-quality music that we need during these times, he’s moved his performance stage to the virtual realm. Doing livestream concerts, becoming a regular game streamer on Twitch, and continuing to engage with his fans any way he can. Mega Ran continues to provide high-value entertainment, as well as teach us a thing or two along the way.

The kinds of songs we need right now

AGES Vol. 2 opens with the DJ of “AGES radio,” noting that we are living in “polarizing times.” After the preamble, the listener gets an eloquent summary of Ran’s, and the world’s experiences in 2020. In spite of the trying times, the track 2020 B.C. confidently declares, “Everythings gonna be okay if you keep the faith.”

The album is full of positive affirmations and hopeful encouragement (Spread Love, H.O.P.E.), an admonishment to the young men coming up in the world (Men Behaving Badly), and a beautiful ode to those making their own way with their passion (Beauty in Creation). Exactly the kind of songs we need right now.

Not to be all doom-and-gloom, we still get to see Mega Ran’s playful side in the throwback/remake Proto Culture 2.0. He teams up with the creator of the original Proto Culture creator Del The Funky Homosapien, who was featured in the smash hit Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz. The song is a true continuation of the original, with the emcees reminiscing about their favorite games and systems, both mainstream and obscure.

DJ DN3 Does a masterful job producing the album. While the majority of his beats throughout have a decidedly chiptune vibe, they never feel out of place. This vibe is fresh, modern, and fun when needed. He is equally talented at giving listeners a stong and serious soundscape when the subject matter calls for it.

A fateful encounter, an impactful message

Easily my favorite track of AGES Vol. 2 is Do Better. The song is a retelling of a fateful encounter Ran had after a performance.

I used to play Apache at the end of every show

Till a brother pulled me aside he just had let me know

He said my girl is Native, and she hates when people play it

So when she saw you dancing, she just wanted to go home

Mega Ran – Do Better

To Mega Ran’s credit, he listened to these fans tell him why the word apache is so hurtful (a Zuni/Spanish word for enemy). The verse continues to explain how the Native Americans, have been systematically oppressed and destroyed. A message “they won’t ever teach in school.”

This song is all about vulnerability. It’s about being able to admit when you’re wrong, or simply ill-informed. To learn from your mistakes. To strive to be, and do better as a human being. Ran is telling us to own up, be responsible for our actions, even if our actions are done in ignorance. That message of self-reflection and accountability is the most impactful out of the myriad of powerful messages contained in AGES Vol. 2.

Should you buy AGES Vol. 2?

Yes, you should. Absolutely!

This is exactly the type of album the world needs right now. AGES Vol. 2 is the type of album that teaches, inspires, and gives us permission to reflect inward, as well as be open about ourselves.

The album is a perfect addition to the collection of long-time fans of Mega Ran, as well as anyone hearing him for the first time. AGES Vol. 2 has a perfect message for the times we’re in— be accountable, be aware of what’s going on, and be hopeful for the future when we find our way out of this mess of a year. That’s a message we can all use, no matter what era we’re in.

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Jesse Curtis

Old nomad. Names his pets after Final Fantasy Characters.

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