Phoenix rapper Random, aka Mega Ran, is no stranger to video games and music. Not only did he learn to make beats on a Playstation, but he’s also managed to make a name for himself by merging his two favorite things together to become the king of nerd infused hip-hop. When he’s not busy as a schoolteacher he’s out mingling with fans at conventions and working with major gaming companies to work out future projects.
On a trip to play a gig in Florida Random found himself with nothing to do, so like any gamer would he pulled out his PSP and started playing Final Fantasy VII. A spark of inspiration and a few months later, and he’s teamed up with producer Lost Perception to put together an album based off the video game classic, Black Materia: Final Fantasy
Now I’m going to be completely honest and say that I’m not too big on video games, so before I listened to the album I was skeptical. To make sure I wasn’t completely lost I read up on the game storyline on the web, which I come to find when the album starts wasn’t really necessary at.
The album opens with commentary to preface the story, and then jumps right into Random telling the intricate tale of adventure, war, love, and heartbreak. As much as the storyline is completely fictional, it is important to note its relevance in the modern world. The album exists as a fantastic story but also as poignant social commentary to a certain extent. The track “Don of the Slums” explores the issues of living in the slums where to make it out you’re only option is to “pray that our kids are athletic, ‘cause we ain’t making it out of here with loads of bad credit”.
One difficult aspect of the album is the attention necessary to absorb and follow the entire storyline. Six tracks in and twenty minutes of rapid fire story telling later there is a much-needed interlude provided by the drawn out instrumental conclusion of “Aerith” and the humorous caricature in “Don of the Slums Interlude”.
“Cry of the Planet” and “Absolute” bring in the end of the album on a high point with some of Lost Perception’s hardest hitting beats while a guest appearance from Ilyas of Tanya Morgan and strong verses from Random don’t hurt the cause either.
Black Materia: Final Fantasy VII is definitely an ambitious project. Clocking in at just over 70 minutes it takes some attentive listening to get all the way through the epic tale. For gamers and non-gamers alike, the album is a unique and enjoyable listen. Chances are though, if you fancy yourself a gamer, you’re in for a nostalgic listen that’ll have you dusting off the controllers to bring the story back to life.[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/15-Absolute-feat.-Ilyas-and-Maja.mp3|titles=Random & Lost Perception – Absolute (feat. Ilyas and Maja)]