Given our noted love of both Capcom's classic Mega Man games and hip-hop, it pretty much goes without saying that the staff of ComicsAlliance loves Mega Ran, aka Random, aka middle school Language Arts teacher turned rapper Raheem Jarbo. With his latest album, though, Ran takes the video game themes to the next level with Language Arts, a concept album and playable video game that tell the story of Mega Ran battling mind-controlled zombie students through action-packed rap battles. And if it sounds awesome, that's because it is. We've got a few tracks and a preview of the game right here for your enjoyment.
The album itself is a pretty amazing deal: You can pick it up digitally from Ran's BandCamp site for as little as $1, and it's worth that price just to get the title track, "Language Arts." I like Mega Ran a lot: His Christmas album, in which he drops clean raps over samples from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, became an instant tradition around the holidays, and the track about Castlevania III that he and K-Murdock produced is probably the best rap about fighting Dracula that I've ever heard -- and believe me, that's a surprisingly crowded field. But this one, a friendly four-minute rap that he apparently used to introduce himself to his class on the first day of school each year, might just be his single best track. If nothing else, it perfectly captures the "TeacherRapperHero" identity that he's been building through his music.
But it's the rest of the album that tells the story of a sinister video game called KillCount that targets his students, and his battle to free them from mind control. That's where the Language Arts video game, comes in:
As you might expect from Mega Ran's nom de rap, the game -- which will be available starting Friday on LunarGiantStudios.com -- is inspired by the Mega Man games for the NES, but with a little more rapping. And instead of getting the weapons of your opponents, playing the game lets you unlock other Mega Ran tracks.
And if that wasn't enough, there's also a comic on the way:
Funded by Kickstarter, Random Lyricism is set to be an 80-page graphic novel released later this year, starting with the first chapter that hits the web next week. What I'm getting at here is that there's a lot going on with Ran's new album, and it all looks pretty great.
Language Arts: Volume One is the first part of a three-album story, and it'd be well worth picking up at ten times the $1 price tag. Check it out!
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