It’s been well over a year since I met Super Smack in our last interview for his song “Black and Gold” featuring Mega Ran, and we’ve talked and hung out several times after. So when he approached me about interviewing him for the singles off his new project, I was a bit hesitant at first, but my curiosity and excitement won out. I’m happy to say that this is the first of many short interviews with Super Smack for each of his upcoming singles and debut album.
With Britney out this week, it’s up to Keith and Dominic to cover a week even an A.I. Kevin Feige couldn’t predict, such as the fallout from the latest MCU schedule shuffle, as well as She-Hulk lampshading Marvel’s greatest flaws.
Super Smack is a Filipino American rapper that has been leveling up in the music game ever since his first ep, Neon Red, hit streaming services. With a unique blend of gaming culture, anime references, good vibes, and a message for change, Super Smack’s pens music that blend pop and rap in ways that make the nerd in any of us step on the dance floor.
Super nerd, Guinness World Record holder, and hip-hop extraordinaire Raheem “Mega Ran” Jarbo sat down with The Nerds of Color blog for another episode of Fightin’ Words and talked gaming, hip-hop, and adjusting to life during the pandemic. The former teacher turned elite nerdcore rapper has had his hands full, juggling live events, his Twitch channel, making music, and of course spending time with family.
My relationship with professional wrestling is very complicated at best. I watched my first wrestling match sometime around 1983, and the larger than life characters were literal comic books that had exploded in front of me. Like most other kids in the ’80s, I wanted more. I begged my mom to buy me wrestling magazines, toys, and watched every Saturday morning.
I loved guys like Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage, but I remember my eyes widening every time there was a Black or Brown face on my screen. So naturally I had an affinity for characters like The Junkyard Dog, Koko B Ware. But what really turned me on to wrestling was a tag team called The Soul Patrol.
I’ll start this off by stating how special this year’s ‘Mania was for me, mainly because my favorite wrestler ever, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, had such a huge imprint on the event.
Wrestlemania IV in 1988 took place in Atlantic City, NJ, not even 90 minutes from my childhood home in Philadelphia. We had plans to attend, but tickets were sold out, so the Spectrum — the local basketball stadium — had decided to open the stadium up and broadcast Wrestlemania on the JumboTron for a small fee. I was so excited, I had to go. My mother agreed and took my cousin Howie and me to South Philly for my first Wrestlemania moment. I bought a Macho Man poster, a foam finger, and a program.
All this week, I’ll be doing track-by-track commentary on the new EP. You should go grab the new EP at my bandcamp site, PHYSICAL COPIES OF THE CD WILL ONLY BE FOR SALE ON MY SITE UNTIL END-OF-DAY FRIDAY. If you want a copy of it, get it now, or get it at a show.
Believe it or not, the concept of this song was formed from this webcomic as much as it is based on the actual myth of Prometheus. There’s a loose fire theme on this album, that I’ll get to in about two songs in much more detail, but it was a beat that needed a concept, and a song that needed guests on it. And it’s really fascinating when you see how Sulfur and Ran both take the idea and make it their own. Sulfur, with his sense of humor that covers up the resentment towards God in his character; Ran with his talking of legacy and obligation, the chain metaphor taken to its logical conclusion. I really didn’t have much of a road map for this song, and I really ended up loving this track.
Early this morning, which was in actuality more of a continuation of late last night, I arrived at my home in Atlanta. The Crisis On Intimate Earths Tour is officially done and I could not possibly be more grateful to everybody who joined me for any part of it. You all are the reason I do this and the reason I get to do this. Thank you.
So, yesterday on twitter and facebook I mentioned that I had three super awesome announcements to make today and that is the truth. I have three things to announce. And all three of them are super awesome. So let’s get announcin’!
“The Ballad of Pigeon Man” — featuring D&D Sluggers and produced by SublimeCloud of The Digi Destined — is the latest single from North Carolina-based emcee SkyBlew. The song pays homage to the classic Nickelodeon cartoon Hey Arnold!, a show that had a major impact on SkyBlew’s life and serves as the main subject of his latest album.
Another year, and another San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone. In the wake of the annual ritual of nerds gathering in Southern California, the Hard N.O.C. Life crew convene to discuss the biggest announcements that emerged from the convention!
Now, I have been lucky enough to attend San Diego Comic-Con since 2007. I’ve seen this event, and nerd culture in general, undergo some huge changes since then. In 2007, the biggest news was the premiere of Iron Man, which has gone on to spawn three movies and a spinoff, The Avengers, which is now the highest grossing [comic book superhero] film EVER. Nowadays, it’s no big deal to bring up a comic book movie, or a video game, in discussion, even in a professional setting. People complain about this explosion of comic and game culture, but I can’t say it’s a bad thing, at least not yet.
Anyway, this is Mega Ran’s Comic Con 2014 experience.
Catch me on with Ran, and his NPC partners-in-rhyme Shubzilla, Sammus, and Sky Blew. We discuss a lot of topics including potential NOC/NPC collabos, gender representation in nerd spaces, how people perceive nerdcore music, and our favorite comics. Plus, we get into some show-and-tell of the best nerdy stuff in our rooms. Check out the video after the jump!
My lovely, amazing and infinitely patient wife recently pointed out to me that I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home since we got married in December. There’s been a lot going on lately, hasn’t there? I just got home from three straight months of touring, and I’m leaving tomorrow to go to my little brother’s wedding and then I’m flying into Austin, Texas for my first official showcase at South By Southwest with a bunch of my bestest nerdcore friends like Doc Awk, Jesse Dangerously, Adam WarRock, MC Lars, Schaffer the Darklord, Random, MC Frontalot, and more. It’s going to be nuts.
Before I head out again, I’ve got a whole slew of new stuff to share with you.
As you know, we love talking about hip-hop here at The Nerds of Color. More specifically, the subgenre known as Nerdcore has a special place (and its own category) here as well. So it was a big deal to get three of the biggest names in the game to sit down for a special episode of Hard N.O.C.
In gaming culture, an NPC (non-player character) is often a bit player in the overall story — he or she is there for no reason except to get the main character to their goal. Their backstory is never told.
Much like an NPC, people of color who desire to create music or art or think differently than their counterparts are often discouraged and forced to keep those thoughts and ideas to themselves. And to play the background.
I had an idea a while back to create a collective of like-minded, forward thinking creatives who have been through a lot of the same things I had as a person of color who enjoyed nerdy things as a child an as an adult.
One of the NOC’s favorite rappers, Random aka Mega Ran, is back with a brand new album out in December. In the meantime, check out “Best Friends,” his lead song and video off of Blur Bomber, a collabo with Mister Wilson.
Yesterday, FOX TV announced it is developing a new DC Comics-based drama for the 2014-2015 television season. Called Gotham, the show, created by The Mentalist‘s Bruno Heller, will focus on the exploits of Detective James Gordon and his early days in the Gotham City Police Department. Since this is an origin story for Gordon, Batman and his Rogues Gallery will not feature into it — though the announcement mentions Gotham’s colorful villains, I’m not sure how you include them if this is a pre-Batman time period. While I’m always down for more TV shows based on comics, I’m actually not sure what to think about this.
At least the show already has a theme song:
I’ve long been a proponent for a television series based on one of my favorite Batman books of all time, Gotham Central. The book reads like a crime procedural and spotlights a diverse cast of characters, including Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen, Maggie Sawyer, and Josie Mac. Unfortunately, the book’s initial run did not sell very well — probably because Commissioner Gordon and Batman, though their presence is felt throughout, were not the focus of the book — and the series ended after 40 issues. And though there were rumors of a potential Gotham Central television show in the early 2000s, it never materialized. Silver lining? We got Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy instead. So the idea of a show based on the Gotham police department isn’t a new one. How they shoehorn Jim Gordon’s origin into this remains to be seen.
Since the The Nerds of Color is not the only awesome thing on the internet, we spent the weekend scouring the web for some of the most NOC-relevant links around. Here are five stories that have gotten the most buzz around the N.O.C. office.
Over at the Huffington Post, arts and entertainment reporter Mallika Rao asks “Is it Time to Retire Apu?” for their first installment in a series on Indian Americans and the entertainment industry. In an interview with Hank Azaria, the Caucasian actor who has voiced Apu on The Simpsons for over two decades, the actor credits a viral video featuring comedian Hari Kondabolu for making him reevaluate his take on the character.
Kondabolu says he… didn’t appreciate how many people would respond to his bit. Perhaps he underestimated the sanctity of The Simpsons in the comedy world (he’s a fan himself, but, as he points out, “you can be critical of the thing and still love the thing”). The Apu problem is a well-worn topic in his inner circle — in his mind, he was courting the danger of being “hacky” by rehashing it.
But the rant went viral, eventually making its way to Azaria. The actor credits the monologue with stirring his first misgivings. “If the only representation of Jews in our culture was Robin Williams’ impression of a Yiddish guy [from “The Birdcage,” starring both Williams and Azaria], I guess I might be upset with that too,” Azaria says. He cites one line of Kondabolu’s that stuck with him: Apu’s accent sounds like “a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.”